Civil Society Organizations have been challenged to raise more awareness to judges and magistrates on issues pertaining to special groups so as to properly advance justice to girls, women, children and the disabled.

This was discussed yesterday during a session organized by the Legal Services Facility (LSF) during the second day of the CSO Week 2019, which deliberated on improving community legal protection and promotion of rights through access to justice.

“We will be making a huge mistake to assume that all judges and magistrates are well aware of issues pertaining to special groups such as girls, women, children and the disabled, and at the same time expect them to do justice without having the right set of information to deliver,” said retired Justice from the High Court of Tanzania, Hon. Robert Makaramba.

The point was cemented by the Registrar of Legal Aid Providers from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms. Felistas Mushi, who said that despite all Assist Registrars having undergone training and attesting a good record in upholding the code of conducts, there is a knowledge gap between lower and senior leadership in the judiciary when it comes to issues related to specialized groups.

On her side, Paulina Alex of New Light Children Centre Organization (NELICO), said that it is also equally important to raise awareness to members of this special group, such as children so that they may grow up understanding their roles and rights in promoting justice.

On the other hand, the Spokesperson for the Tanzania Prison Service Department, SSP. Amina Kavirondo urged CSOs and society as a whole to reconsider inmates and prisoners, so that they can also get access to legal services while they are behind bars.

“We have a total of 37,000 prisoners countrywide. And once a person is in prison, he loses communication with the outside world. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to request CSOs to consider this group of individuals, so that they may also have access to their rights and justice in front of the law, similar to people outside prisons,” she said.