#Pabwalo Advocacy Breakfast on Strengthening Access to Justice for All Citizens


Access to justice is a fundamental human right to protect all other rights. Despite a comprehensive legal framework, many citizens encounter obstacles when accessing justice. With support of the Open Society Foundation, the recent Pabwalo Town Hall allowed citizens to voice their difficulties accessing justice. Building upon the outcomes of the town hall, the Advocacy Breakfast convened high-level participants from national human rights mechanisms, key stakeholders, and experts to review those outcomes and collaboratively create an action plan for improving access to justice mechanisms. The primary goal of the Advocacy Breakfast was to bring together high-level representatives from national human rights mechanisms and key stakeholders to assess the outcomes of the Pabwalo Town Hall and develop a joint action plan to enhance access to justice for citizens.

Specific Objectives:
1. Review Town Hall Outcomes: Understand the concerns expressed by citizens during the Pabwalo Town Hall, focusing on challenges related to accessing justice.
2. Identify Gaps and Challenges: Analyze current access to justice mechanisms to pinpoint gaps, systemic barriers, and challenges hindering citizens’ access to justice.
3. Brainstorm Solutions: Create a collaborative environment to generate innovative solutions addressing identified challenges in accessing justice.
4. Develop an Action Plan: Formulate a comprehensive plan comprising practical strategies, timelines, and responsibilities to improve access to justice mechanisms.
5. Strengthen Collaboration: Foster networking and partnership-building among attendees, promoting cooperation between national human rights mechanisms, civil society, legal experts, and stakeholders.

Key Issues Discussed:
An overview of the Pabwalo Town Hall insights was presented, highlighting real-life stories illustrating citizens’ challenges in accessing justice; GJU Deputy Director Emma Kalea-Chigwenembe gave this.

Panel Discussion:
Distinguished experts representing various sectors, including law, government, civil society, and academia, participated in a panel discussion moderated by Justice Ntaba.

Key Issues Discussed:
1. Systematic barriers and challenges obstructing access to justice mechanisms.
2. Strategies to enhance legal literacy and awareness among the general public.
3. Development of an action plan with specific strategies, timelines, and responsibilities for improving access to justice mechanisms.

1. Systematic barriers and challenges:
– Improve civic awareness and visibility of institutions to enhance accessibility.
– Simplify reporting mechanisms.
– Increase awareness of the law through civic education.
– Expand accessibility of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) services.
– Promote justice education and fair treatment.
– Address structural barriers, such as physical accessibility.
– Reduce geographical barriers to justice.
– Address issues related to the Malawi Police Service.
– Address challenges faced by women, including lack of legal aid services and language barriers.
– Recognize intersectional discriminations in legal frameworks.

2. Strategies to enhance legal literacy and awareness:
– Translate laws into user-friendly languages.
– Simplify legal procedures and paperwork.
– Invest in mobile courts for remote areas.
– Implement monitoring systems for justice performance.
– Ensure punctuality and availability of judges and magistrates.
– Facilitate access to technological equipment and the internet.
– Digitalize services and raise awareness through campaigns.
– Enhance victim support units through capacity building.
– Improve data sharing among stakeholders.
– Expand legal representation.
– Engage the judiciary to address inefficiencies.
– Promote gender-based violence awareness and cultural sensitivity.
– Capacity building for primary providers.

Other Recommendations:
– Enhance awareness-raising, particularly in rural communities.
– Review the implementation of action plans.
– Document best practices and outcomes.
– Capacity building for key players.
– Strengthen relationships between citizens and service providers.

3. Action Plan Development:
Groups discussed key issues and proposed actions:
– Translate information into local languages.
– Conduct mass sensitization campaigns.
– Establish local structures.
– Promote coordinated efforts.
– Innovate public access to justice.
– Increase capacity building and resource mobilization.
– Use local radios for awareness.
– Reduce local distances to access justice.
– Enhance the professionalism of the Malawi police service.
– Translate laws into local languages.
– Use various means of communication.
– Monitor and enhance understanding of laws.
– Conduct trainer of trainer’s training.
– Collaborate with CSOs and stakeholders.
– Lobby for operational harmonization.
– Facilitate physical and virtual engagements.

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