France Launches Access to Justice Projects for IDPs

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Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Embassy of France in Nigeria and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) have launched a project aimed at strengthening access to justice services for people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict living in camps and host communities in Maiduguri in Borno State.

The project is designed to contribute to the improvement of living conditions and protection through the provision of legal information; awareness campaigns to expand the community’s knowledge of how to access justice; advice that will inform them about their legal options; assistance in choosing and accessing appropriate legal mechanisms; and the provision of legal representation, assistance and counseling.

According to a statement from the Pres Office of the Embassy in Abuja the project among other things is aimed at providing legal advice, ensure better access to essential services and familiarise people with Borno State’s formal legal system.

It would also provide information in community-based fora to enhance legal awareness and improve legal literacy as well as promote discussion using culturally appropriate methods tailored to communities, and ensure that survivors know their rights and can access the formal system.

To realise the objective of the project, advocacy visits to traditional rulers and persons of influence in host communities are expected to be carried out, as well as training of selected community members as paralegals in order to build a protection environment conducive to finding durable solutions to human rights violations.

Camp managers and other key stakeholders will be also trained on access to justice for the internally displaced.
The project is expected to run for 9-months and it’s done in close collaboration with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA).

The statement said further that the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, affirmed the commitment of the French government to support the promotion of human rights of the affected population in the region. “The Government of France is happy to continue this cooperation with IOM. You are doing a great job in delivering humanitarian assistance to the IDPs,” he said.

IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Enira Krdzalic said: “Humanitarian response in the northeast is improving, but there is still more to be done. IOM is determined to promote the human rights of the affected population as much as possible, while providing humanitarian assistance to beneficiaries.”

Since late 2014, France has also supported IOM Nigeria’s psychosocial support programme, which has helped over 21,565 people affected by the conflict in the northeast of the country.