Towards a sustainable access to justice for legal empowerment in the Kyrgyz Republic II Phase

 

Project overview:

The people of the Kyrgyz Republic and in particular disadvantaged and vulnerable populations such as women and persons with disabilities, continue to have low awareness levels of their legal rights, and often lack legal protection and access to remedies , despite the existence of an improved and advanced legal framework aimed at providing access to justice to its citizens.

Phase II of the project,  builds on the achievements of  and lessons learnt in its  phase I (2014-2017), including,  inter alia, the adoption of the new Law on “State Guaranteed Legal Aid” and support  to the country’s efforts in developing a sustainable mechanism allowing citizens to access their rights in an efficient manner. In line with the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), it shall address capacity gaps of duty bearers (state bodies and justice sector actors) and rights holders (general population with special focus on the most vulnerable groups, including women, people with disabilities, CSOs and communities).

The project will also contribute to the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy  and judicial reform of  the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as to the nationalization process of 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and in particular the implementation of SDGs 5,10 and 16.

On the duty bearers’ side, the project will primarily focus on supporting the state’s ability to fully and effectively implement the Law on State Guaranteed Legal Aid addressing the structural, financial and capacity constraints. At the level of rights holders, it shall mostly concentrate on promoting legal empowerment and increasing awareness on human rights through the implementation of the State Concept on Raising Legal Culture, with a focus on the most vulnerable groups.

Interim results:

Strategic achievemnets including the first phase of the project 2015-2017 and the second phase 2018-2019

Law on State guaranteed legal aid

Adoption of a new Law on State guaranteed legal aid - From the side of the duty bearers the project has contributed to the drafting and adoption of a new Law on State guaranteed legal aid (FLA hereinafter) in line with international standards. The law envisages assistance not only on criminal but also civil and administrative ones as of the year 2018, and which, at the same time is in the realm of financial and technical possibilities of the country. In the light of UNDP’s previous experience with other laws, the project performed financial assessments on the costs of the Law as well as plans for its implementation with clear divisions of tasks for all the relevant stakeholders. The overt aim was to provide not only a quality legislative regulation but an effective tool to provide legal aid to the citizens and to the vulnerable groups and to defeat legal nihilism tendencies.

In 2020 was developed amendments and additions to the Law on SGLA regulating mechanisms of legal assistance in civil and administrative cases, as well as the introduction of the FLA centers under the jurisdiction of the FLA CC.

 

Created 13 Free legal aid centers under MoJ

The project supported opening of 13 free legal aid centers of the Minister of Justice, which provided consultations for more than 30 000 persons since 2015. It also helped Ministry of Justice in development of the interactive map of legal aid providers. The project spearheaded effective cooperation mechanisms between the state bodies, civil society, legal clinics and local municipalities that will be necessary in the next phase of the project and for the efficient and participatory implementation of the new FLA law.

 

Adopted the Law on Protection from Domestic Violence

In 2014-2015 the project supported elaboration of the new draft Law on Protection from Domestic Violence (PDV) that is intended to overcome gaps in the existing law of 2003. The law was adopted in March and entered into force in April 2017. The law provides the right for victims of domestic violence for the premises in the state or municipal shelter for safe temporary accommodation, and for perpetrators of domestic violence, it is required by the court to pass a correctional program. Definitions of concepts such as safety, protective order, psychological violence, family violence, physical violence, economic violence, etc. are introduced into the law. The new law on protection from domestic violence expanded the circle of law implementation subjects; the responsibilities of the authority responsible for the coordination and interaction of actors involved in the protection against domestic violence are defined; duties and liability of state bodies and local self-government bodies are delineated.

The Ministry of Justice is designated among other subjects as responsible for the execution of the law, with attributed functions such as development and implementation of the unified state policy on the protection from family violence, development and control of performance standards for the provision of legal services to victims of family violence, maintaining appropriate statistics, etc.

 

Adopted Law on ratification of the UN CRPD

Project provided enormous support for the process of ratification UN CRPD.  With support of the project, an inter-agency working group chaired by MoLSD was established that developed an action plan and prepared financial calculations for the UN CRPD ratification process. Plan of action includes 157 activities distributed for 10 years for the total cost of 30.2 billion KGS. Out of this amount, 23.5 billion are estimated for social housing, 5 billion for infrastructure and 1.5 billion for other activities (trainings, legislation development, surveys, etc.). The project also managed to unite non-governmental organizations representing the interests of PwDs in Kyrgyzstan: 31 organizations unanimously signed a memorandum of understanding and agreement on the promotion of the UNCRPD in 2014. Number of events, talk-shows and press conferences were conducted by the project to raise the issue of UNCRPD ratification.

 

Adopted the Law directed to elimination of some norms in legislation that infringe PwDs’ rights

The Law establishes the right for persons having problems with hands and vision problems to independently sign any documents with the facsimile signature. Persons with hearing impairments and speech disabilities are guaranteed the right to sign-language interpretation in various fields, and the law determines the status of sign-language interpreters.

 

Promotion of legal awareness and empowerment

From the side of the right holders the project relentlessly worked on promotion of legal awareness and empowerment in the country with a special focus to the identified vulnerable groups mainstreaming gender and women’s rights in all its activities. Through public campaigns over 3 million people have been reached through targeted information campaigns, civil society actors have been empowered to claim their rights more effectively by also supporting the process for ratification of the UNCRPD. Such activities were instrumental for the development of the State concept on raising legal culture of the population for the period of 2016-2020, which set the framework of the state necessary activities to create an adequate legal awareness and education through the country.

 

Concept on raising legal culture of the population

Concept on raising legal culture of the population is a first strategic document developed with support of the Access to Justice project in phase I, adopted by the Government that introduced a systematic approach to improve the legal culture, including legal training and education of the population, formation of modern legal culture and behavior. It is the fundamental document that includes a vision, objectives, directions, priorities, challenges and public policy measures aimed at the formation of a high level of legal culture. It is aimed at the exclusion of such phenomena as open contempt for law and authority.

Implementation of the Concept foresees involvement of all stakeholders: public authorities and local self-governments, institutions of civil society and others. The Concept envisages measures for continuous monitoring and evaluation of the intermediate and final results, as well as to ensure transparency and openness in the process of implementation. The total budget of the Concept is 101.3 million soms, out of which 41.7% is fully funded by the Government.

 

Launched the “Bus of Solidarity”  

“Bus of Solidarity” was introduced into the Concept on raising legal culture of the population by the project as a best practice taken from the French experience, as a result of a study tour to France in 2015. It is a MoJ group of lawyers that go to the remote areas of the country to provide free legal consultations and legal information to the population. 4314 consultations were provided by the Bus of Solidarity lawyers for 4145 people in the pilot Osh and Chui regions during 2016-2017.

 

Issuance of registration documents

Assistance was provided to the State Registration Service under the Government of KR in issuance of registration documents to 3578 persons.

Expected results:

Ministry of Justice of KR provides accessible, affordable, efficient and quality services to resolve justice problems of project target groups in the selected provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Vulnerable groups targeted by the project, including women and people with disabilities know and exercise increasingly their rights to justice in the selected provinces of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Status:  Ongoing

Start date:   1 January 2018

Projected end date:  31 December 2021

Geographic coverage:

The project will support the implementation of activities nationally and locally in Chuy and Osh regions, which constitute more than 60% of the country’s population.

Subject area: Access to Justice

Target groups: Rural women and people with disabilities

Project coordinator:  Ainura Alymbekova

Partners:  Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, Ministry of labor and social Development, Civil Society Organizations

Funding Source: 1 700 000 EUR

Budget (by years)

2018 -  300 000 EUR

2019  - 400 000 EUR

2020 -  500 000 EUR

2020 -  500 000 EUR

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