It is widely recognized that Rule of law is the epitome of a well functioning democratic governance, it protects citizens’ rights and ensures that every individual is held equally accountable to the nation’s laws, which must accord with international human rights. Access to justice ensures that rule of law is enforced, by allowing individuals to seek justice and redress their infringed right. It is a human right, which is capable of combating poverty, whilst also preventing and resolving issues. Rule of law also entails fairness in application of law and legal certainty, which promotes social development and security. It protects the citizens from arbitrary abuse, and encourages them to seek justice when they have been erred. This is undoubtedly a catalytic mechanism for reducing poverty and inequality, and promotes fairness in society.
Somalia is currently experiencing a wave of human rights infringement along with politically motivated crimes. These include rape, violence, torture, kidnappings, arbitrary arrest and FGM etc. More often than not, people are denied access to fair trial, and are deprived from freedom of speech and press. Arbitrary abusers are never prosecuted or punished, which negates the concepts of ‘equal before the law’.
What is SWDC doing:
SDWC is committed to promote rule of law and access to justice. One of the strategies is to offer legal aid, which includes legal representation, to marginalized groups. This will contribute to the envisioned society of a fairer legal system and social justice. It aims at providing legal empowerment for the poor.
Furthermore, SWDC has developed a human rights center, which focuses on monitoring human rights violations; the department identifies violation patterns and execute effective strategies to combat social injustice.
SWDC envisions Somalia to progress towards a state of fair and democratic governance, where rule of law is the fundamental principle and the gateway to economic and social development. This will most likely incite a sustainable development, and a society where social justice is a reality. Access of justice through legal aid will allow members of society to restore their faith in the legal system, which in return, encourages more to seek justice and remedy. It further promotes the notion of equal access to opportunity in the society, which is pivotal.