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In 2015, seven members of Lawyers Against Poverty visited Tajikistan to work with the Oxfam team based in the capital Dushanbe on issues such as legal education and women’s rights.
The delegation met with several Tajik politicians, including from the Ministry of Justice and the senior adviser of the presidential apparatus on legal issues. They discussed issues in Tajikistan such as women’s rights and education, and the importance of equality between men and women.
The group met with the deans of the law faculties of the Tajik National University and the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University to discuss legal education in the country. The group discussed the ways in which Lawyers Against Poverty could work with Tajik universities to further improve access to legal education and legal resources, particularly for women from rural communities.
The delegation also visited the southern region of Vaksh and met Zanjira who, with support from Oxfam, runs a free legal advice clinic for villagers on issues such as land and family disputes. During her visits, Zanjira advises around three or four clients a day, the majority of whom are women. Sometimes, she even gives advice while the women work in the fields. She also organises workshops on matrimonial rights and access to justice in order to educate women in these communities on their rights.
Since their return, our team has continued developing projects to support legal education, access to justice and twinning in Tajikistan.
Zataari Refugee Camp, Jordan
In June 2016 a Lawyers Against Poverty delegation travelled to Amman in Jordan to consider the legal challenges facing refugees in the Zataari refugee camp as well as those living in host communities. The delegation had the opportunity of visiting the camp and heard of the extreme pressures faced by those living there. With no forseeable opportunity of returning home or living independently, refugees in Zataari face a bleak life in which education is poor and health provision patchy. The team heard of the considerable protection issues relating to women and girls.
The challenges facing undocumented refugees and the impact this has on access to education, healthcare and protection were also explored. The team met with one of Oxfam’s partners and learned of their work with women and girls facing domestic violence and early marriage.
In July 2016 a team of Lawyers Against Poverty members spent three days with Oxfam Italy programme staff in the south-east of the country visiting official migrant reception facilities. The objective was to gain a better understanding of the problems in relation to migration in Sicily from a legal perspective, to understand how they are presently being addressed, and to consider what support might be available from Lawyers Against Poverty.
The team visited a number of Oxfam’s organisations whose activities have a legal component and discussed the legal challenges It was clear that the problems in Sicily, and the actions taken in relation to them, may also be of relevance for the UK system of international protection and that action may be taken in the UK in relation to the problems identified as the UK participates (at present in the common EU asylum system and, of course, is a party to the Refugee and human rights conventions. Some further research is being undertaken.