EU funds new project for LAC

WINDHOEK: The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) will, as part of a new project, provide Namibians with support and advice on issues dealing with, amongst others, access to water, medical negligence, and education.

The project, titled ‘Access to Justice: Promoting the rule of law and defending human rights’, is co-funded by the European Union (EU) to the tune of N.dollars 2,9 million and will end in 2015.

Speaking at the launch on Friday, LAC Director Toni Hancox said the centre has realised the necessity to employ litigation strategies to promote social justice in Namibia.

“The project will enhance the ideals and will specifically focus on access to health and medical negligence, access to clean water, right to education in general and for people with disabilities, and the right to privacy and confidentiality of people living with HIV/AIDS,” she noted.

The funding will specifically be used to support the litigation vehicle at LAC, the Human Rights and Constitutional Litigation Unit (HURICON).

Although Namibia has been classified as an upper-middle income country, unfortunately many people continue to exist in dire circumstances without access to the most basic necessities, Hancox said.

She said the LAC receives daily complaints of alleged medical negligence suffered by patients due to the lack of adequate resources in State hospitals.

On access to water, Hancox emphasised that LAC will encourage a minimum standard in terms of access to water for each household nationwide as is recognised by international standards.

The LAC will also continue to fight for the rights of men, women, children and people with disabilities to quality schools, school facilities, learning materials and transport to-and-from learning centres.

Hancox raised the concern that despite technological and medical improvements raising the standards of living of people living with HIV/Aids, it remains a battle to ensure equal treatment and enjoyment of rights.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Namibia, Ambassador Raul Fuentes noted that the project seeks to achieve compensation – either monetary or through change in circumstances for individuals and groups whose rights have been violated and who otherwise do not have access to legal assistance and advice.

“In the longer term, this should result in jurisprudence that defines and interprets human rights, which will create a binding precedent for future reference,” he added.