Free legal aid support by UNODC released more than 500 UTPs in Sindh
Karachi: Speaking at the fourth provincial Legal Aid Network Coordination Meeting organized by UNODC Country Office in collaboration with the Prison Department of Sindh in Karachi Ms. Shamim Mumtaz, Chairperson, Sindh Child Protection Authority and MPA Sindh Assembly appreciated the transformative role played by the Legal Aid Project of UNODC.
Among others, the provision of speedy justice to more than 500 Under Trial Prisoners (UTPs) through free legal aid was hailed as an exemplary initiative in prison reforms. These UTPs include a large proportion of women, children, juveniles, minorities, people with disability, elders, including poor and marginalized groups who are unable to afford representation in a court of law or access the legal system.
Implemented by UNODC in 22 districts of Sindh with support from the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs from the US Department of State, the Legal Aid Project has been providing free Legal Aid to the UTPs in Sindh prisons since 2017. The efforts are complemented through training of investigation officers and prosecutors on enhancing their cooperation in criminal cases for free and fair delivery of speedy justice.
Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Representative of UNODC – Pakistan commended the vision and cooperation by the Prison Department, Government of Sindh and contribution of the Project towards strengthening the foundational building blocks of a free and fair legal aid service for eligible and needy inmates in the prisons of Sindh.
The project has also built successful referral linkages with civil society organizations, pro-bono legal aid practitioners and services to uphold the rights of vulnerable prisoners, developing a unified roadmap on the provision of free legal aid in Sindh. This has helped to engender a community of responsible legal aid service providers.
The meeting was well-attended by eminent representatives from the criminal justice institutions and legal fraternity, including Qazi Nazeer Ahmad, IG Prisons Sindh, Mr. Abdul Razaq, Registrar Sindh High Court, Mr. Shahid Shafiqe, Senior Faculty Member Sindh Judicial Academy, Mr. Naeem Qurashi President Karachi Bar Association, Mr. Arif Dawood Vice Chairman Sind Bar Council, representatives from Sindh Prisons Department, Sindh Prosecution Department, Civil Society Organizations and Legal Aid experts in Sindh. The stakeholders unanimously endorsed the Terms of Reference for establishing and sustaining a Free Legal Aid Service Provider within the Prison Department of Sindh.
For further information, please contact:-
Ms. Rizwana Rahool, Communications Officer, UNODC Pakistan, cell: 0301 8564255, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
25 May 2021