Building on the success of previous years, the Ministry of Constitution and Legal Affairs (MoCLA), in collaboration with UNDP Tanzania and the Tanzania Paralegals Network (TAPANET), organized and coordinated Legal Aid Week 2018 across Tanzania from 26th to 30th November 2018
Legal Aid Week was launched by MoCLA in Morogoro on 26th November in recognition of the fact that millions of indigents in Tanzania still have limited opportunity to and knowledge of how to access legal aid assistance.
Through the Strengthening Access to Justice and Human Rights Protection in Tanzania project, UNDP is supporting MoCLA to strengthen legal aid sector oversight, through the implementation of the 2017 Legal Aid Act, and supporting initiatives which ensure better access to legal aid assistance.
Women and girls are disproportionately disadvantaged and therefore this year’s Legal Aid Week theme was ‘Equal access to legal aid for all Women and Girls’. Events across the country provided education, advice and legal aid services to an estimated 500,000 indigent and vulnerable people (preliminary figure).
The legal aid services were provided by paralegals from TAPANET, advocates, police from Gender Desks, lawyers and government attorneys. The event is a good example of how ensuring access to legal aid requires the engagement of stakeholders across the legal sector; local and national government; and civil society.
The importance of legal aid in Tanzania was further emphasized during the celebrations of the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on 9th December (Human Rights Defenders Day).
An event arranged by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and the Network of Legal Aid Professionals (TANLAP), and in which UNDP participated on behalf of the UN System in Tanzania and in its own capacity.