21 September 2016
Brussels, 21 September 2016 – If access to justice is to be sustainable, the capacity of international actors such as ASF should also be sustainable. In essence that is the message from ASF Executive Director, Francesca Boniotti, on the occasion of the publication of the NGO’s 2015 Annual Report.
Question: For those of us who have not had the chance to look through ASF’s 2015 Annual Report, what is the main theme?
Francesca Boniotti (F.B.): For me, above all it’s all the energy and expertise which our teams in the field and at our Head Office have invested in the pursuit of a single objective: to improve the living conditions of people by giving them the means to access justice. And then, thanks to our projects and our studies, we have been able to demonstrate in a tangible way the extent to which access to justice is essential for fighting against inequalities, establishing a lasting peace and supporting sustainable development. In this sense, the fact that the justice aspect has been integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals at the end of 2015 reinforces the actions that ASF has been involved in for several years now.
Q.: Do you think that the work of ASF in post-conflict countries or countries in transition is becoming more complicated year by year?
F.B.: That is a complex question. First and foremost, let’s remember that ASF has always worked in countries which are emerging from major crises and/or generalised violence. We were in Rwanda after the genocide. Now, we have a project in the Central African Republic. What complicates our work is when countries return to a period of political instability, as seen in Burundi, or potentially in DR Congo. Donors such as the EU pay very close attention to what is happening and may decide to postpone the financing of projects because of the situation on the ground. This uncertainty can have a direct impact on our financial resources and, as a result, limit our ability to intervene in favour of people in vulnerable situations who are seeking justice.
Q.: Let’s talk about financing. What is the situation for ASF?
F.B.: There is a paradox. With the help of British cooperation (UK Aid), ASF has been able to benefit from essential structural funding. For example, this support has enabled us to develop projects in new contexts, such as Tunisia and Myanmar without waiting for calls for proposals initiated by donors. Thanks to this funding, we have been able to improve our analyses of the context, develop innovative projects more suited to people’s needs as well as solid partnerships with national stakeholders. Generally speaking, our responsiveness, our adaptability and our expertise are better than ever. In spite of this, access to funding is becoming increasingly difficult, and this has an impact on our capacity to help people exercise their rights.
Q.: Are you launching an appeal for donations?
F.B.: Of course. Have a look at our activity report. The figures are all in there, as well as testimonies from the men and women who have been able to exercise their rights, and words from our partners. If you are convinced, then yes, make a donation. Your support will allow our teams to continue with their work.
 SDG 16 (target 16.3): promote the establishment of peaceful societies, ensure access to justice for all and, at all levels, put in place institutions which are effective, responsible and open to all.