Effective interventions

Improving Access to Justice in Somaliland

Horn of Africa
Somaliland Human Rights Centre

Over the past 15 years, Somaliland has made considerable progress in the accessibility of justice, but many gaps still remain. Laudable accomplishments include more than doubling the number of judges in under a decade (90 in 2011, 186 in 2018), the rollout of mobile courts to each region within Somaliland, and the appointment of female prosecutors and court registrars in a male-dominated patriarchal environment.

Somaliland Human Rights Centre, together with Saferworld (two of the 6 founding members of the Somaliland SDG16+ Coalition), co-organised a three-day participatory workshop with the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Chief Justice, to discuss new approaches for improving access to justice in Somaliland.

Framing the workshop under the guise of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs provided a new way of talking about justice issues, which enabled a discussion that included the participation of many outside of those traditionally charged with making decisions on justice provision. With representatives of the judiciary from all regions of Somaliland, together with government ministries covering human rights, planning and policing, as well as civil society representatives and expert academics.

The workshop produced recommendations for a series of solutions around 6 core tenets on justice provision: 1) legal framework; 2) legal awareness; 3) advice and representation; 4) access to a dispute resolution mechanism; 5) fair procedure; and 6) enforceable solutions. This report is a synthesis of the justice gaps in Somaliland, together with potential opportunities to address these issues.

This report examines how to improve access to justice in Somaliland. It forms part of a project led by the Human Rights Centre in Somaliland and Saferworld, supported in part through a grant under the Knowledge Management Fund.

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