In 2015 the Government of Tajikistan decided to make legal counseling a free public service. There are a total of 12 free legal aid centers functioning throughout the country, where any person can seek free legal counselling from state lawyers. Helvetas supports this transition to state-provided legal counseling and helps civil society organizations monitor the quality of the service. We also support non-governmental organizations that provide free legal counseling to 7,000 people a year.
Access to justice is to support the justice system in Tajikistan to empower the vulnerable members of the society to have access to a free legal aid system. People in rural areas of Tajikistan don’t generally benefit from the advantages of the justice system due to lack of legal awareness and knowledge of their own rights. This leads to many family-related legal issues, specially when the marriages are only religious and not legally registered. Topics involved here are divorce, child benefits, legal property.
Helvetas strengthens the capacities of state actors in conducting legal awareness campaigns by developing communication strategies and informational materials and supports them in conducting legal information sessions and thematic events.
Training of mediators to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings is another new approach. Support is provided through capacity building training, development of learning materials and advice on public dialogue facilitation between the state and civil society on the grassroots level.
The Access to Justice project is a mandate of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) implemented by the consortium of Helvetas and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).