Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Report from Africa

The email of the week comes from Kristine, who reports from her recent trip to Africa:

Judge Tandra Dawson from Manhattan IDV Court and I went to Accra, Ghana to participate in the discussion on Gender Justice and the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Gender Justice in Africa.  Over 25 African countries participated, with the highest level judges in attendance.  CCI's role there was an important one, to assist in the conversation of how the judiciary can work to improve women's access to justice.  They were fantastic discussions and exchanges of information! 

It was very meaningful for us to be there to serve as a facilitator in the conversations - particularly because many of the countries in attendance are looking at court reforms and violence against women.  Some countries are setting up specialized Sexual Violence Courts, while others are looking at identifying system gaps and seeking to harness the power of their community stakeholders in addressing domestic violence in light of new national laws.  CCI's participation, as an NGO (non-governmental organization) also served as an example of how the judiciary can and should draw upon system and non-system partners to improve court responses to domestic and sexual violence, and we had many tools and strategies to add to the dialogue.