Hands-on Support to the Violence Survivors

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Support to Free Legal Aid System by UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Today, UNDP in close cooperation with its legal aid platform parners in Sarajevo and Zenica, marks the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign to end violence against women and girls. The Gender Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina states that 53 per cent of women have suffered some form of gender-based violence, while only 10 per cent of those have received support through the victims and witness support offices. As we mark the Global 16 Days of Activism Campaign with the focus on gender based violence it is worth reflecting that only a couple of years ago, access to justice for the poor and marginalised in Bosnia and Herzegovina was seriously hampered. Governmental free legal aid services were underequipped, understaffed and undercapacitated. This mostly fiercely affected women- single mothers, victims of domestic, gender-based violence and human trafficking. This is why UNDP  has been working with national partners to establish a country-wide free legal aid system ensuring minimum equal standards for all in accessing free legal aid services- said Sabina Hidanović, UNDPs access to justice legal expert.

In practical terms, this means being able to assist Jasna, a woman who suffered long-term domestic violence but sought help only after she was kicked out of her home. When she contacted the FLA office she was fearful for her own safety and that of her children. After being given legal advice by the FLD

Impact and Results of UNDP Programming in Bosnia and Herzegovina through Free Legal Aid Mechanisms

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A functional and efficient system of free legal aid is a guarantee of equal access to court.However, access to justice for the poor and marginalised is not guaranteed in BiH due to fragmented and poorly developed free legal aid (FLA) system in the country.

For that reason, since 2012, UNDP has been working with national partners to establish a country-wide free legal aid system ensuring minimum equal standards for all citizens in accessing free legal aid services.