Strengthening legal assistance in Iraq’s Kurdistan region

29 Apr 2013

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Despite being granted equal protection under the Iraqi constitution, many vulnerable groups in Iraq have limited access to the country’s formal justice system.

On 24 April, UNDP Iraq and the Kurdistan Bar Association (KBA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the provision of legal assistance services in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, providing a legal framework for the two entities to cooperate.

Under this agreement, UNDP will support the KBA, as one of Iraq’s leading national legal institutions, to provide services that include a legal help desk and a mobile legal clinic. The help desk and clinic will provide free legal consultation and advice and even provide free legal representation for certain cases. Those who will benefit are the vulnerable and disadvantaged, such as people who are impoverished, victims of domestic violence, the elderly, disabled, detainees and the internally displaced.

“We are very glad to have signed this agreement between UNDP and KBA to promote access to justice and ensure the continuation of the legal assistance scheme in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region,” said UNDP Iraq’s Country Director, Peter Batchelor, adding “it represents an important step in strengthening the rule of law and improving the delivery of justice.”.

The agreement will help implement a three-year US$ 6 million project seeking to promote the rule of law in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region through a modern, efficient and accountable justice sector”. The project is jointly funded by the Kurdistan Regional Government and UNDP. The project will be implemented by UNDP in close coordination with the Ministry of Planning, the Kurdistan Judicial Council, the Ministry of Justice, the Council of Minister and the Kurdish Bar Association.