Monday, October 29, 2007

Legal centre launches two new programmes

By Tina George
29 October 2007

An announcement of the launch of two new programmes — a Media Defence Programme and an HIV/Aids Programme — came today from the Southern African Litigation Centre.
The centre aids lawyers with the specific tools that they need in taking cases regarding human rights in the Southern African region.

The Media Defence Programme came about from the awareness of widespread violations of freedom of expression that takes place in Southern Africa.

"The media programme is designed to assist in litigation around Southern Africa where there have been breaches of freedom of expression and freedom of the media," says the Head of Defence Programme, Lloyd Kuveya.

"Most countries in the Southern African region has not been successful to litigate in the court against restrictions on the freedom by the state and also in situations where criminal defamation cases are brought against journalistic issues of sensorship against media houses who are trying to make media accessible to the public," says Kuveya.

Kuveya added that the idea is that the centre through the Media Defence Programme will be able to offer that kind of support to lawyers as well as media practioners who fail such restrictions or violations of freedom of expression and of the media.

SALC also launched a new programme focusing on HIV/Aids in the region. More than 30% of all people infected with the virus lives in Southern Africa.

"There hasn’t much litigation done on the HIV/Aids in the Southern African Region, what the
programme hopes to do is work with local lawyers in the Southern African countries to help support them to bring HIV/Aids litigation in their national courts," says the Director of the HIV/Aids programme, Priti Patel.

She added that this is a really powerful way in which they can ensure that the voices of those living with the virus can be heard.


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