Press release on the advance of our JusticesMakers fellows’ projects
IBJ would firstly like to thank all the winners of the JusticeMakers competition for their collaboration, commitment and hard work.
Below is a summary of the progress of a number of the winning projects, including the JusticeMakers’ current activities and impact on their communities.
Gontran Wale Some begin his project, Joining by Justice, with a trip to Geneva where he took part in mediation training and met with various people who advised him on the implementation of his project. He has hired a communications intern to create a logo for his association and design numerous social media pages to further the impact of his project. Whilst he was in Geneva he also registered the Friends of Joining by Justice, association, based in Switzerland.
In addition, Mr Wale Some and his team carried out their first rights awareness raising activities concerning the rights and duties of the detained person during the event, ‘72 hours for the detained at the Diébougou Detention Center. They created and distributed 1000 copies of a checklist on the rights and duties of the detained person. To use the words of the JusticeMaker: ‘It is essential that everyone speaks the same language. Raising awareness of human rights, placing them in the right context, and clarifying the role of each one of them, is the first objective we have set ourselves.
Francis KONE – Fighting against abusive pre-trial detention by accelerating legal procedures – Ivory Coast
Francis Kone’s project began with a meeting with the Director of Civil and Criminal Affairs (DAPC) and the Directorate of Penitentiary Administration (DAP) in order to discuss collaborations with them for the implementation of the project.
The competition winner and his team visited prisons in Boukaé and Doala in order to identify the prisoners in a difficult situation. Fifteen cases have been identified and are currently been processed and analyzed by a lawyer and the magistrates in charge of the files.
In addition, Francis Kone organized seminar and workshop on ‘Strengthening the capacities of criminal justice actors and civil society in respect of the fundamental rights of the detainee.’ A total of 30 participants, including public prosecutors, judges, correctional officers, social workers, lawyers and members of Amnesty International, participated in the two-day event. The workshop focused around the fundamental rights of the defendants and the aim was to make concrete proposals to accelerate judicial proceedings and facilitate relationships between stakeholders in the criminal justice system and members of civil society.
Ibrahima DIALLO – National conference on torture and unlawful detention in the Republic of Guinea
Ibrahima Diallo launched the first national conference of many planned to take place over the next 6 months. He and his team have planned 6 more conferences to be held before March 2018. Guests will include the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Security, a number of human rights defenders, the Minister of National Unity and Citizenship, and the Minister for Social Action for Women and Children amongst others. The conferences focus on the prevention of torture and illegal detention.
Birere Dieudonné MUNGUWAMPAGA – Legal assistance to women and children who are victims of torture and ill-treatment in unofficial detention centers in the province of South Kivu – Democratic Republic of Congo
The first stage of the project led by Dieudonné and his team was to monitor the detention facilities, known as ‘cachots et amigos’, through a collaboration with the Kabare prosecution office. They visited 7 of these detention facilities and the conditions were described ad deplorable and unhygienic.
As a result of these visits and with the aid of provincial health authorities, 7 detainees were able to receive healthcare. Additionally, 9 cases of women and child victims of torture were considered, two having been dismissed and closed, and seven still pending.
Finally, our laureate and her team organized an activity on the popularization of international and national legal texts on the criminalization of torture and a rights awareness workshop. The latter co-organized the training of officers’ judicial police, members of civil society, certain local authorities, prison officers, and the commissary commander of the Congolese National Police. The topics covered were: the drafting of the minutes of the hearing, the detention by the judicial police officer and the criminalization of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in Congolese criminal law. In all, there has been a training and dissemination of legislation on the criminalization of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, and nine awareness-raising events on the rights realized during the monitoring of places of detention. In addition, the training was broadcast on radio and television by RTNC Bukavu. The estimated number of people reached is 5,000.
Thérèse DONU – Justice For All– Togo
Thérèse DONU organised, within the framework of her project, an awareness session on the topic “Equality and non-discrimination in access to justice”. Numerous associations for Human Rights Defence and members of the judiciary participated in this event. The participants expressed their satisfaction at the end of the workshop and are now able to identify the legal instruments related to access to justice, such as identifying cases of abuse, knowing the different means to accessing justice, and knowing the competent authorities to contact in case of abuse.
This workshop was widely publicized by the local media, notably by the national TV channel at 8 and 10 PM, and by websites such as www.lfrii.com and www.africardv. com, among others.
Thérèse also promoted her activities through radio programs which were periodically broadcasted by Pyramid Fm, currently one of the most listened-to radio stations in Togo, which also broadcasts directly online. She was also the interviewed by newspaper journalists on September 20th, 2017.
Additionally, Thérèse DONU and her team set up a hotline to respond to cases of abuse; a telephone number for the platform WhatsApp was also established to serve this purpose.
Noellie Gaglo – Action for effective legal representation of accused persons in Lomé Civil Prison– Togo
Noellie Gaglo began her project by meeting the detainees of the Lomé civil prison to discuss the JusticeMakers project. She stressed the importance of access to a lawyer for all detainees. This meeting took place at two levels; the first session was held with the members of the Alert Club, a group of detainees mainly composed of spokespersons for detainees, and a second session was held with the women detained in the women’s ward of the civil prison. To quote our laureate: “the beneficiaries sent their congratulations to the coordinator of the project and expressed their total support for the action, for them is a first because it takes into account the concerns of women detainees. One of the women said ‘For once, I have a lawyer who will assist me. Thank you to International Bridges to Justice for having thought of us. In any case, hope is allowed.”
Noellie Gaglo then presented her project to the Director of Prisons and Reintegration so that he could take part in and facilitate the implementation of the project. In addition, the laureate and her team created a database for the defendants, following various projects and obtaining the release of seven people since July. Finally, they prepared 2 training modules on human rights (for 27 participants) and on the detainee and criminal procedure in Togo (for 22 participants). The first module, in the words of the laureate, “allowed prisoners first to understand the fundamentals of human rights, then to familiarize themselves with the main international, regional and national human rights instruments and to improve their knowledge of the rights of the detainees”.