Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Scottish campaign launched for the first African law centre

TWO WELL-KNOWN SCOTTISH SOLICITORS have launched a campaign to raise funds to create the first community law centre in Africa.

Govan Law Centre’s Mike Dailly and past Law Society of Scotland President Austin Lafferty, want to see Scotland’s successful law centre model help provide access to justice and drive positive social change in Africa, with the first centre operating in Bamenda, the capital of the North West Region of Cameroon.

Human Rights Commissioner in Cameroon, Ms Laura Anyola Tufon said: “This project will be a life time reward to our poverty-stricken, legally uneducated and destitute populations in demand for justice. It will help curb corruption to a remarkable level as the target populations will be knowledgeable to work to uphold human rights and abusers will be brought to justice. My dream of rights conscious citizens and peace abiding people with ambition to contribute to sustainable development and make life worth living may be met in my life time”.

Mike Dailly said: “I’ve already undertaken an extensive scoping project in Cameroon and helped secure initial funding for a Child Protection Unit from the British High Commission in Yaoundé, operated by local justice activists in Bamenda. That project helped reunite victims of human trafficking with their families. Child and adult trafficking in Cameroon is most prevalent in the North West Region of the country.  The law centre would help tackle human trafficking, secure criminal prosecutions, recover unpaid wages and protect the rights of women and children”.

Austin Lafferty said“There is an overwhelming need and widespread national support for a community law centre in Bamenda. Scottish solicitors have trail blazed legal remedies and campaigns which have benefited Scots, and I’d like to see those successes replicated in Africa. The project would provide a pilot to demonstrate the value of the model with a view to securing repetition in the country, continued funding from alternative sources, and the viability of law centres being deployed in other sub-Saharan African countries”.

The service would be supervised by the co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission in the North West Region, Ms Laura Anyola Tufon, who is also a Human Rights Commissioner in Cameroon. It would be supported and independently audited by Govan Law Centre. This is a bold project with the ability to lead to transformational social change locally, nationally, and much further afield if successful outcomes can be evidenced and demonstrated.


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