UNDP Guinea-Bissau in partnership with the Government of Japan is working on getting to know the access to justice needs of the people in the Southern Province of Guinea-Bissau. The UNDP team met with representatives from civil society, and traditional and religious leaders to gather information on the local needs related to justice provision. The team was in both Buba, the capital of Quíntara and Catió, the capital Tombali to better understand how to best support the people of the south.
The justice sector is poorly represented in the regions and there are many challenges to be addressed. In Buba, for example, the Provincial Court was evacuated in 2016, leaving people with poor temporary facilities to work with. The project, Building Strong Institutions to Sustaining Peace, will build a new Provincial Court that will also serve as a one-stop shop for legal needs of the population. The building will be a House of Justice where the court will be placed, and services of civil registry and notary will also be available.
The visit enforced the previous knowledge of the project team that there is a need for both better facilities and better services for the population. Distances and quality of roads are still an impediment for people to reach the Provincial Court, so there is also a need to improve the ways for people to reach legal services. UNDP will continue working with judicial actors in the south to ensure that access to justice is made a reality to more people.