‘Zanzibar is a model in legal aid services’

ZANZIBAR: THE Zanzibar Attorney General (AG), Dr Mwinyi Talib Haji, has urged legal aid service providers to strengthen their role and reach more people so that no one in need of access to justice is left behind in the country.

In his speech at the 3rd Legal Aid Forum held at the Tourism College – State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Maruhubi, he said that the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar recognises and appreciates the contribution of paralegals in ensuring that people, particularly those in underprivileged communities, are helped to obtain justice.

The speech was read on his behalf by the Deputy AG, Shaaban Ramadhan Abdalla, who pointed out that the annual forum provides an opportunity to discuss, share experiences, and strengthen collaboration on legal aid issues.

“We are happy with your ongoing efforts in providing legal aid in the country. You can always improve your services by working on your resolutions after the meeting,” he said.

Dr Mwinyi Talib expressed his happiness about the implementation of the resolutions reached by the participants during the 2nd Legal Aid Forum held last year and stated that the government is fully committed to working with the Department of Constitution and Legal Aid Services, under the Ministry of State – President’s Office (Constitution, Legal Affairs, Public Services, and Good Governance).

He thanked the UNDP and the Legal Services Facility (LSF) for supporting the Legal Aid services, while Ms Hanifa Ramadhan Said, director of the Constitution and Legal Aid department, mentioned some of the successes, such as the review of the Legal Aid law and policy currently underway.

“Plans to establish a Legal Aid Fund is another significant achievement, along with strengthening good relations with our colleagues on the mainland,” Ms. Hanifa explained.

She said that the main objective of the Forum is to promote creativity, enhance the efficiency and professionalism of the performance of duties for legal aid providers, and facilitate the acquisition of new policies that meet the needs of the community in accessing legal services, as well as connecting legal aid providers with other institutions to enable them to work together.

Alphonce Gura from the LSF stated that Zanzibar has currently become a model in the provision of legal aid for East African countries and beyond.

“So, we promise to continue to support these efforts to achieve the intended goals of helping people access justice in the United Republic of Tanzania.”

The two-day conference brought together legal aid service providers from Zanzibar and the mainland, as well as senior executives from stakeholders in legal services and the judiciary, under the theme “Strengthening Legal Aid Services with Quality and Focus on Results.”

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