The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Okahanja, Namibia from 18 to 19 September 2019. This training is the third of four trainings that the Centre is conducting in Southern Africa. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 23 July 2019, and the second in Pretoria, South Africa from 10 to 11 September 2019.
The training on access to justice aims to build the capacity of personnel in the criminal justice system on overcoming the different barriers to accessing justice through the provision of accommodations. Research studies show that persons with disabilities face numerous barriers to accessing justice on an equal basis with others. The barriers include communication barriers, environmental/accessibility barriers, attitudinal barriers and legal and procedural barriers. These barriers hinder effective participation by persons with disabilities in the justice system.
The training in Namibia was attended by 33 participants consisting of those working directly in the administration of justice, including police officers, prosecutors, lawyers, magistrates and personnel from correctional services. Other stakeholders in attendance included forensic psychiatrists, social workers, legal aid officers, personnel from the Law Society and from various government ministries including the Ministry of Justice and the Law Reform Commission.
The training was conducted by Ms Dianah Msipa and covered topics such as understanding disability, the role of effective communication in ensuring access to justice, disability and criminal justice and the use of accommodations to ensure effective access to justice. The participants gave positive feedback on the training. One participant said ‘this was excellent and I felt like I could come back for more.’ Another participant described the training as ‘absolutely necessary.’
The Centre will hold the fourth and final training in 2019 in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 to 30 October 2019.
For more information, please contact:
Programme Officer: Disability Rights Unit
Tel: +27 (0)12 420 6398
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743