THE First Vice-President Othman Masoud Othman has promised to continuously support improvement of ‘legal Aid’ services in the country in the pursuit to achieve envisioned economic growth.
He made the revelation here at the closure of the second Annual Legal Aid Week, adding that legal aid was not only a matter of improving delivery of legal services in the country, but internationally accepted and recognised as an important ‘tool for national development and poverty reduction.
“If people in all areas of the country easily access justice, it will help resolve disputes. Efficiency in legal system is important in achieving our development goals,” Othman further said.
He further said that the establishment and having a formal legal aid system in the country is part of the government’s efforts to put in place better and modern systems, which are in line with global development in all fields.
Equally, Mr Othman said that in addition to the United Nations (UN) views on the importance of legal Aid to the people, other resolutions from regional integration in Africa are also aimed at emphasizing on legal aid to the nationals.
The First Vice president also emphasized that ‘Legal Aid’ law No. 13 of 2018 and its regulations of 2019 are a great savior for vulnerable people including women and children.
He, therefore urged the ‘department of legal Aid’ to review the guidelines carefully with the aim of ensuring that legal assistance is available without any problem.
However, Mr Othman urged legal aid providers to focus on the rights of various groups as well as challenges in the society including land disputes and gender-based violence to be a major indicator of access to justice in Zanzibar.
He also commended the government and non-government institutions for their efforts in reaching out to the public and informing them about access to legal aid, prompting Ms Hanifa Ramadhan Said- Director of Legal Aid Department to say that her department is planning to have paralegals in every district with the aim of making them have access to legal aid to ease serving the citizens.
Legal Services Facility (LSF) has been supporting the ‘Legal Aid Week’, where its Project Manager, Mr Deogratias Bwire pledged to continue cooperating with the Zanzibar Legal Aid Department to train and develop more paralegals for public benefit on legal issues. This year’s theme is “legal Aid promotes women’s economic empowerment.”