Legal aid is essential to guaranteeing equal access to justice, which in turn empowers citizens, strengthens their participation in governance, and promotes the rule of law. The Legal Aid Forum provides legal aid to indigent and vulnerable individuals in form of legal representation in courts of law and other administrative institutions, mediation, legal assistance, legal advice, referrals etc.
LAF has also harnessed the power of technology and used it to put in place ICT based solution to further expand access to justice for the Rwandan Population. LAF’s ICT based platform “845” plays a significant role in providing direct legal advice/orientation. This is a result of the broad reach of the service through which any person with cell phone, anywhere in the country can access LAF lawyers in the call center using 845.
Additionally, LAF has a toll-free line 1022 on which legal aid seekers in the country can call free of charge and be assisted by LAF’s legal officers.
In addition to legal aid services provided by lawyers, LAF stationed its community-based paralegals in all districts in Rwanda to ensure access to justice particularly for communities in rural areas . Community-based paralegals also raise awareness for citizens on various rights.
Legal Aid to Refugees in Rwanda
In line with our mission of promoting and supporting the provision of accessible and quality legal aid services to the indigent and vulnerable groups in Rwanda, The Legal Aid Forum (LAF) in partnership with Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)-Rwanda, is implementing a project titled “Legal aid to refugees” aimed at assisting refugees & asylum seekers to access justice and solving other relevant legal issues affecting refugees in Rwanda through legal assistance and civil registration.
LAF started to provide these legal aid services to refugees and asylum seekers in January 2016 for Mahama camp and in April 2016 for the 5 Congolese refugee camps (Kiziba, Kigeme, Mugombwa, Nyabiheke, and Mugombwa) and in Kigali and Huye area for those living in urban setting and activities were resumed ..........
The work of community based paralegals (2020-2021)
The Paralegals representing others at the district level. They collect data from paralegals within their respective districts and report monthly using ICT.