Webinar: Legal Aid to Protect the Right to Legal Identity

Displaced persons often face a mix of legal, bureaucratic and practical challenges in proving their legal identity. These include unaffordable costs, lack of information about procedures and requirements to issue, renew, recover their credentials, and discrimination based in law or social practices. In some cases, identity credentials can only be obtained in the place of origin and displaced persons cannot make the journey because of security concerns or lack of resources. The destruction of identity and civil registration offices and records as a result of conflict or disaster means that foundational documents may be missing. In some contexts, legal identity credentials may be issued by non-state actors, which may cause displaced population difficulties in registering other vital events, crossing the borders or accessing rights and services due to lack of recognition or legitimacy.

Legal aid and access to justice programmes support displaced persons obtaining, renewing, recover and safeguard their legal identity and civil documents. Some interventions focus their interventions on the provision of direct legal aid services to those affected by displacement so they can be aware of their rights and obligations, navigate complex procedures, and, where needed, be represented in court to obtain legal and civil documents. Other initiatives aim at providing support to duty bearers to overcome systemic changes either by advocating for policy, legislative or administrative changes, or by strengthening their capacities so they can fulfil their obligations. Enhancing the role of national civil society organizations which provide direct legal aid and technical support, monitor displaced populations’ access to rights and advocate through national platforms/fora is another strand of action of legal aid programmes in humanitarian settings, contributing through strategic partnership and transfer of skills, knowledge and solutions to securing legal identity of displaced situation.

This webinar is part of learning events aimed to inform a collection of good practices on legal aid in humanitarian settings, particularly focusing on three aspects deserving attention which were highlighted in a field survey conducted by the Global Protection Cluster Task Team on Law and Policy (GPC TTLP) last year:

  1. enhance synergies between development, humanitarian, human rights and peace actors in the design and implementation of access to justice and legal aid interventions in humanitarian contexts;

  2. build sustainable partnerships with national legal aid actors (civil society, private sector, duty bearers) for more sustainable access to justice and legal aid interventions in humanitarian contexts;

  3. design and implement legal aid and access to justice interventions aimed at addressing and resolving legal aid needs of hard-to-reach populations.