ASF in the Central African Republic

  • Location: Bangui, Berberati and Bambari
  • Date of establishment: 2015
  • Team: 2 expatriates and 8 national collaborators
  • Contact: bur-apcpi@asf.be – Telephone +236 72 74 05 72

Context

The many political and military crises that have affected the Central African Republic (CAR) have for decades been undermining the establishment of the rule of law. Justice, perceived as arbitrary and not independent by a majority of the population, is faced with enormous challenges.

Legal personnel, mainly located in the capital Bangui, are too few to provide their services to the country’s 3 courts of appeal and 24 tribunals. Of the hundred or so lawyers officially registered, only one is located outside of the capital. Furthermore, the training of justice actors falls short in terms of quality.

The country’s needs in the justice sector are considerable, both in terms of supply and demand for justice:

  • For citizens seeking justice: lack of knowledge of rights and procedures, geographical remoteness, insufficient funds, lack of understanding of the role of justice actors, lack of trust and reluctance (religious, cultural, social) to seek formal justice, etc.
  • For legal personnel offering their services: lack of political will, problem of articulation between the formal and informal justice system, insufficient resources (human, financial, material), lack of training/supervision of institutional actors, insufficient geographical coverage, non-conformity, non-existence and inadequacy of the normative framework, corruption and other forms of abuse and lack of synergy between actors.

ASF’s intervention strategy

ASF highlights a holistic approach to access to justice in CAR, whilst supporting community justice actors (neighbourhood chiefs, customary and religious leaders) and strengthening the capacity building of key legal aid actors (bar associations and civil society organisations).

ASF’s Projects in CAR

Improving access to justice and the protection of human rights in the Central African Republic

  • Global Objective:
    • To strengthen the process of reviving the justice sector and the effectiveness of human rights, in particular for people in situations of increased vulnerability.
  •  Specific Objectives:
    • Individuals (including detainees) informed of their rights, advised and referred to structures of holistic care
    • Individuals (including detainees) benefiting from legal accompaniment and aid.
    • Individuals (including detainees) benefiting from better quality judicial services
    • The achievements of the project are shared for the benefit of the population, actors of the justice sector, human rights and the promotion of the rule of law
  • Partners :
  • Duration: 24 months (January 2020 > December 2021)
  • Budget: EUR 1,400,000
  • Funding: European Union

Women Human Rights Defenders, actors of peacebuilding in CAR

  • Global Objective:
    • The main objective of the project is to change gender-based social norms by increasing the number of women activists who are firmly committed to obtain social change.
  •  Expected impact:
    • Women are further encouraged to engage in human rights advocacy, becoming activists themselves, while strengthening their protection against any negative repercussions of their activities.
  • Activities :
    • Strengthen the capacity of the NCHRF to monitor the situation of women’s rights and women defenders (3 sessions)
    • Organise 4 sessions of exchange, sharing and follow-up mentoring between the selected women activists and young girls’ university leaders/associations of young girls in university schools/associations of young girls in schools
    • Support the realisation of an exhibition “portrait of women activists” during the debate conference of 8 March 2022
    • Support training sessions on women’s rights monitoring for activists and the production of data collection tools for field missions.
    • Strengthen local community networks for the support and protection of WHRDs (3 networks)
    • Sensitise key actors (community leaders, religious groups, journalists, community radio stations) to the work of WHRDs
    • Strengthen the capacities of local radio stations on gender promotion, conflict prevention and peaceful conflict management (4/6 sessions)
    • Designing and multiplying image boxes for use in awareness raising activities.
  • Partners: 
    • Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmées (MEFP) in the Sangha Mbaéré area in Nola.
    • Centre pour la Promotion des Droits de l’Enfant (CPDE) in the Mambéré Kadeï area, precisely in Berberati.
    • Organisation des Jeunes Leaders pour le Développement (OJLD) in the Nana Mambéré area in Bouar.
  • Duration: 18 months (February 2021 > August 2022)
  • Budget: $600,000
  • Donor(s) and amount of funding: PBF, $1,500,000

To contribute to the sustainable respect of the right to a fair trial and human rights for women accused of witchcraft in CAR

  • Global Objective:
    • The overall objective is to protect and strengthen access to justice for women victims of human rights violations in CAR.
  • Results and main activities:
    • Result 1 – Communities are sensitised to the respect of Human Rights and procedural guarantees for women, in particular those accused of charlatanism/sorcery:
      • Activity 1.1: Mutualised design of awareness raising tools for partner CSOs
      • Activity 1.2: Awareness raising sessions by partner CSOs
    • Result 2 – Women accused of the Practice of Charlatanism and Witchcraft (PCS) receive holistic assistance:
      • Activity 2.1 Legal assistance for women accused of PCS
      • Activity 2.2 Early warning and monitoring mechanism for women receiving assistance
    • Result 3 – Respect for human rights and protection of women victims of gender-based violence are strengthened through the adoption of reforms within the sectoral policy of the Ministry of Justice:
      • Activity 3.1. Documentation and analysis of the socio-legal treatment of PCS incidents
      • Activity 3.2. Experience sharing and advocacy
  • Partners:
    • Organisation of Young Leaders for Development (OJLD) in Bouar
    • Centre for the Promotion and Defence of Children’s Rights (CPDE) in Berberati
    • Maison de l’Enfant et de la Femme Pygmée (MEFP) à Nola
    • The lawyers of the Central African Bar Association
    • The Ministry of Justice, in particular Thematic Group 3 of the Justice sector policy implementation unit
    • The Ministry for the Promotion of Women, the Family and Child Protection
  • Duration: 12 months (February 2021 > February 2022)
  • Funding: European Union
  • Budget : EUR 300.000

>> ASF’s publications and the latest news from the Central African Republic.

Picture © Philip-Kleinfeld-IRIN

© 2021, Avocats Sans Frontières. All rights reserved. Webmaster: Média Animation asbl