Advancing Justice: Introducing Gender-Sensitive Legal Aid Services for All

UNDP carried out a two-day training for acting lawyers and members of the Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan that are authorized to provide state-funded legal aid.

November 28, 2023
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The participants of the training were acting lawyers and members of the Chamber of Advocates of the Republic of Uzbekistan who are authorized by the law on State-Funded Legal Aid to provide free legal aid. This initiative is funded by the Government of Finland through UNDP project ‘Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection in Uzbekistan’ implemented together with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In 2023, Uzbekistan adopted the Law on State-Funded Legal Aid that impacts the accessibility of justice and the rule of law for women. In particular, the Law on State-funded Legal Aid envisages the provision of free legal aid in cases related to gender-based violence, in particular, its access to low-income groups of the population in civil and administrative cases. Considering that women are more likely to face discrimination and violence, the implementation of the Law on State-Funded Legal Aid requires that free legal aid providers are equipped with knowledge and skills related to the effective protection of women’s rights. This two-day training aimed to ensure free legal aid providers are prepared to offer responsive, accountable justice services that uphold fair trial standards and the due process of law. The training underscored the importance of legal aid in safeguarding women’s rights and addressing gender-based violence. The training program focused on gender-sensitive legal aid, addressing gender perspectives in national legislation, gender stereotypes within the justice system and the intersection of gender-based violence and legal aid.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
"The training on gender-sensitive legal aid provided us with an opportunity to learn about gender-based violence and its types in a very interactive way. Specifically, we learned about the provisions of the laws on gender-based violence and their application in practice" 

shared her impressions Elvira Pak, the lawyer from Syrdarya region.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

First-day training sessions were devoted to the difference between family conflict and gender-based violence, the psychological traits of the abuser and a victim, and avoiding secondary victimization when providing legal support to GBV survivors. Next, participants carried out a legal analysis of cases on domestic violence, expulsion from home, sexual, economic, and physical violence in separate groups and presented the ways of their resolution. As a result of the training, participants gained valuable insights and practical knowledge to enhance their understanding and skills in providing gender-sensitive legal aid. In essence, this training offered a thorough examination of various aspects related to gender rights, challenges, and legal ramifications. It encouraged participants to deeply engage, assess, and generate innovative solutions for a more equitable legal framework.

The launch of this training program marks a significant milestone in UNDP's ongoing efforts to promote gender equality and support the development of a just and inclusive society in Uzbekistan. By empowering legal service providers and emphasizing the importance of women's rights, UNDP is working together with the government of Uzbekistan toward building a future where every woman in Uzbekistan can exercise her rights and access justice on an equal and inclusive basis.