The Free Legal Aid (FLA) center was reopened at the Fier District Court so that all vulnerable communities including women and men, victims of violence, people with disabilities, LGBTI members and people in dire economic conditions can have better access to justice.
Supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and funded by the Austrian Government through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the center will be managed by the Albanian Disability Rights Foundation (ADRF).The ADRF will provide services including primary and secondary legal assistance to the vulnerable women and men.
The launching event of the Fier FLA center revitalization was attended by Head of Fier District Court Matilda Shalla, Councilor to the Minister of Justice, Head of Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation at the Austrian Embassy Simone Ungersboeck, Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination, head of Fier Prosecution Office and UNDP Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb.
The ADRF and the Fier District Court signed the agreement of cooperation during the event.
“The growing trend of vulnerable women and men demanding these services in this FLA Center shows again the need for making these services accessible, inclusive and qualitative. For this reason, UNDP is implementing the ‘Extending Free Legal Aid Services’ (EFLAS) project, which will be essential in supporting the establishment of solid foundations for the new FLA system in the country,” says Eltayeb.
The Head of Coordination Office for Technical Cooperation at the Austrian Embassy Simone Ungersboeck underlined that providing unhindered free legal aid services to the most vulnerable men and women in Fier is a matter of common goal.
“Allocating human and financial resources, collaborating with experienced Civil Society Organizations in FLA service provisions, training FLA providers on the typology of services needed for the most venerable women and men, partnering with district courts for secondary legal aid service provisions as well as with local governmental organs for referral and follow up of administrative cases will lead to sustainable FLA services provided to most marginalized individuals,” Ungersboeck says.
The ‘Extending Free Legal Aid Services’ project, funded by the Austrian Government and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Justice Ministry and relevant Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), aims to produce several results: strengthen capacities of legal aid management institutions and providers to implement FLA legislation, strengthen capacities of the FLA Department in the Justice Ministry to set up and pilot a FLA monitoring scheme and strengthen capacities of the CSOs to deliver services in eight selected areas.
In the range of eight days only, 45 individuals such as Roma, LGBTI community, as well as women and men benefitting from the economic aid scheme have approached the Fier FLA center to seek assistance. The ‘Extending Free Legal Aid Services’ project officially began implementation last October and will continue until September 2022.