UNDP and Birzeit University to Establish Legal Clinic at the Faculty of Law and Public Administration [EN/AR] – occupied Palestinian territory

Ramallah, Thursday 21 April 2022 – The Faculty of Law and Public Administration (FLPA) within Birzeit University (BZU) in Ramallah and UNDP’s Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People through the Sawasya II Joint Program: Strengthening the Rule of Law in Palestine, signed an agreement on 21 April 2022 to establish a legal clinic within the Birzeit University Faculty of Law. The agreement was signed by University President Professor Beshara Doumani and UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Ms Yvonne Helle.

The project will focus on the institutionalization of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration legal clinic, through the development of the legal clinic system and the mechanisms required for receiving and transferring cases, and communicating with specialized partners and official bodies and targeted groups. The partnership also aims at providing legal services to vulnerable groups through Interviewing cases, following up and making contributions and policy initiatives to help improve access to justice.

In this context, the Birzeit University President Dr. Beshara Doumani said “that the University is committed to building sustainable partnerships with its longstanding friends, especially the UNDP. “It is important to expand the UNDP’s footprints on campus by encompassing both parties technical, professional and academic expertise to realize the goals of our joint cooperation,” Dr. Doumani emphasized. ”

The project further aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of students of the Faculty of Law and Public Administration, both personally and professionally. It will increase the equal access of vulnerable groups to justice and improve the involvement and synergy of the FLPA with the CSOs, specialized NGOs and those working in the rule of law initiatives and legal education. In return, this will strengthen the role of the FLPA in social discussions about the rule of law and its contribution to social justice.

UNDP Special Representative of the Administrator, Yvonne Helle, noted that the agreement is a significant milestone in the ongoing collaboration between Birzeit University and UNDP. “The rule of law is a function of both national institutions ‘capacity to deliver quality justice and security services and local communities’ capacity to use them. Our partnership will not only enhance access to justice for the most vulnerable but will also allow the university’s law students to undertake hands-on learning opportunities through the clinic, ”she added.

The Sawasya II UNDP/UNWOMEN/UNICEF Joint Program: Strengthening the Rule of Law in Palestine represents the primary programmatic vehicle of the United Nations for advancing the rule of law, gender justice and human rights in the State of Palestine. The agreement signed today marks the fifth agreement UNDP has through the Sawasya II Joint Program with university legal clinics, following the previous being signed with An-Najah University, Al-Quds University, Al-Azhar University and the Islamic University of Gaza.

Funded by the Government of the Netherlands, Sweden, the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Sawasya II Joint Program provided legal aid services to over 59,000 Palestinians (80% women and girls) since 2018.

The Sawasya II Joint Program, through a firmly established partnership with an integrated network of legal aid providers, is able to ensure that the farthest left behind can access the Family and ordinary court systems and have their rights safeguarded. This support has proved particularly critical in ensuring that women with limited financial means can claim their rights – particularly in cases of divorce, custody, maintenance and inheritance – and that children in conflict with the law access fair trial and alternative pathways to detention.

For further information, please contact:
United Nations Development Program – Sawasya II Joint Program
Fidaa Maaytah, Communications Coordinator, Email: fida.maaytah@undp.org. For more information on Sawasya see: https://www.facebook.com/Sawasyapal

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