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Strengthening Access to Justice in Kosovo

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The outreach campaign on free legal aid “Realize your rights” took place May 22nd-25th and is part of the #AccesstoJustice project. The aim is to engage citizens of Kosovo and raise awareness on the availability of free legal aid services.

The Campaign was organized by the Free Legal Aid Agency with the support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Norwegian embassy. Staff from the Agency for Free Legal Aid and law students from the ILIRIA College were present in Prizren, Ferizaj/ Urosevac, Mitrovica/ Mitrovicë and Gjakovë/ Djakovica. Here they actively engaged with citizens to raise awareness.

Strengthening the rule of law and implementation of human rights are among top priorities for Norwegian engagement in the Balkans. Kosovo already has in place solid legislation ensuring the citizens of Kosovo their rights. However, it is not enough that you have rights, if you cannot realize your rights. Legal aid in this regard is essential as a mean of providing legal counsel and a fair trial, and thus ensuring access to justice for all citizens indiscriminately.

The Campaign concluded with a round-table discussion with key stakeholders. The Norwegian Ambassador, Mr. Per Strand Sjaastad shared his remarks on the importance of access to justice for the citizens of Kosovo. During his speech, he shared how free legal aid works in Norway, the challenges the system face and lessons learned. A common challenge for legal aid clinics in Norway and in Kosovo is that they are often underfunded and struggle to assist all beneficiaries seeking free legal help.

Norway is glad to support the Free Legal Aid Agency here in Kosovo and to take part in this outreach campaign promoting the right of access to justice. By engaging the public and important stakeholders, we can identify common challenges and find new solutions to strengthen the citizens’ rights.

You can read the Ambassador's full stament here: Free Legal Aid and Access to Justice.