Belgian Ministry for Development earmarks funding for access to justice

27 March 2017

Excellent news: Avocats Sans Frontières has just been granted significant funding for five years by the Belgian DGD (Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid). This aid will be used for projects supporting justice in five countries: Burundi, Indonesia, Morocco, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This also represents ASF’s first project in Indonesia.

In line with ASF’s original and enduring objectives, these projects aim to improve access to justice for all. They have three main themes: support for bar associations, lawyers and civil society organisations to ensure high-quality legal services; the fight against impunity for international crimes; increase awareness and autonomy in communities endangered by industrial activities. ASF works hand in hand with a dozen organisations and national bar associations, in collaboration with Belgian NGOs such as RCN Justice et Démocratie, 11.11.11 and Broederlijk Delen.

We are honoured, and we appreciate the confidence placed in us for a five-year period – a first for ASF – by the Belgian DGD“, declares Francesca Boniotti, Director-General of ASF. “Reinforced by this support, we aim for ambitious results in the five countries concerned.” For example, as a result of the project, 30,000 people in DR Congo will be advised of their rights, including 120 community leaders; over 7,000 legal consultations will be organised, and almost 2,700 people will receive assistance in court. ASF will be able to contribute to lasting attitude change in citizens seeking justice, legal services providers and institutional stakeholders.

We are delighted by the promising perspectives, but we are also realistic“, continues Francesca Boniotti. “The funding recently granted by the DGD is only 75%* of the budget originally requested. It will not cover all of our actions in these countries, nor our expenses.” Receiving funds from generous sponsors and private donors is more essential than ever to ensure ASF’s independence from the Belgian government’s geopolitical priorities, to explore new areas for action, and also for responding to urgent situations. Last December important funding from the British government came to an end. Filling this gap is a considerable challenge for ASF.

As a result, your contribution remains vital to enable us to continue to provide high-quality and independent action. Keep supporting us!

* Moreover, the amount granted is not completely guaranteed for the five years: the DGD reserves the right to revise it annually, and hence decrease the amount, depending on the Belgian government’s budget policy.

Photo: Training organised by the Indonesia Legal Resource Center, one of the two ASF’s partners in Indonesia © ILRC

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