The Law, Justice and Human Rights Program seeks to promote equal access to fair and independent justice to help ensure adequate protection and enforcement of human rights of the populations, and in particular the rights of women, youth and other vulnerable groups.
JUSTICE AND RULE OF LAW
In a region known for its persistent instability and volatility, the protection of basic rights, freedoms and liberties of its citizens is an ongoing battle. There is an urgent need to ensure rule of law and equitably distributed access to justice in West Africa, particularly among marginalized groups such as women, youth and persons living with disabilities. Our Foundation seeks to help ensure adequate protection and enforcement of human rights by facilitating access to fair and independent justice. We use several mechanisms to help advance the inclusion and legal empowerment of West Africans – from supporting pro bono initiatives and legal aid in Nigeria, to contributing to the ongoing transitional justice processes and truth and reconciliation initiatives in countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia and Mali, among others.
The media landscape in West Africa varies from country to country, with nations like Benin, Ghana and Senegal enjoying relatively robust, free and pluralist trusted news environments, while others such as Guinea and Niger are still fledgling in their capacity to investigate, report and remain independent. Media freedom, access to information (ATI) and freedom of information are central tenants in any democratic system. They facilitate transparency and accountability, foster debate and encourage critical discussion. For citizens to be engaged and active participants in the running of their country, they require credible and reliable news. OSIWA’s work on promoting media freedom and access to information includes several successful advocacy initiatives on the adoption of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws in Guinea, Liberia, Niger and Nigeria and Access to Information (ATI) laws in Liberia and Nigeria. However, it is also vital that we go beyond simply adopting laws, to ensure implementation and adherence are respected.
The majority of West African countries are signatories to several international conventions and treatiesdefending the rights of vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized groups. Even so, vulnerable populations such as women, youth, people with disabilities and the LGBT community, often bear the brunt of gross injustices, discrimination and stigma. OSIWA and its partners work to advance the rights of minority groups to help ensure there is rights awareness and adequate representation in the public and political spaces. Our partnerships with human rights organizations help us effectively and consistently monitor, report, document and advocate on behalf and alongside these populations.
Historically, the emergence of civil society in West Africa was seen as the answer by many to prosperity and ...