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Improving access to justice

UN Volunteer Kuyang Harriet (white blouse) in a coordination meeting with prosecutors and judges from Oecussi District justice institutions. 
(Access to Justice Team - Oecusse, 2010)UN Volunteer Kuyang Harriet (white blouse) in a coordination meeting with prosecutors and judges from Oecussi District justice institutions. (Access to Justice Team - Oecusse, 2010)
20 February 2012

Oecussi District, Timor-Leste: UN Volunteer Kuyang Harriet, originally from South Sudan, is a Ugandan lawyer who supports the Justice System Programme (JSP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Timor-Leste.  UNDP-JSP seeks to strengthen Timor-Leste’s justice system and to improve access to justice for all Timorese. 

Before becoming a volunteer herself, Kuyang worked closely with UN Volunteers in South Sudan, supporting communities to demand access to justice.  Their stories and successes inspired her to become a UN Volunteer to work with communities that would benefit from her professional skills in access to justice, rule of law and democratic governance issues.
 
As a volunteer, Kuyang plays an important role in supporting the Timorese people on the demand side of justice, which is usually overshadowed by institutional support that seeks to strengthen the supply side of justice. She works as a UNV Access to Justice Officer in Oecussi District, a remote area, and provides expert legal support on a daily basis.

“Through coordination meetings between all actors, we help find solutions to issues related to local access to justice, the delivery of notifications to the sub-districts, targeted logistical and administrative support during criminal hearings for victims, witnesses and accused - in a bid to ensure that all parties can ably understand, use and access justice services, without confronting any barriers”
--Kuyang Harriet, UNV Access to Justice Officer

Kuyang also provides technical, logistics and administrative support to the offices of the prosecutors, public defenders and judges who form the district’s core justice institutions. She works to strengthen the capacity of the justice system and civil society in order to ensure that the administration of justice is inclusive and delivered without delay, and also to enable all individuals to demand justice and understand the role of the institutions as justice providers.  

The Access to Justice Team also helps disseminate information on domestic violence, advocating for the Domestic Violence Law.  They develop outreach programmes to ensure the proper application of the law, particularly by the Timorese National Police (PNTL).

In addition, initiatives such as mobile justice activities, radio broadcasts, and commemoration of relevant international days have been brought to remote areas to raise awareness of an emerging legal system in Timor-Leste that provides the entire nation with access to justice.

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Bio: Ugandan lawyer Kuyang Harriet, originally from South Sudan, is a UNV Access to Justice Officer with the Justice System Programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Timor-Leste. Before becoming a volunteer herself, Kuyang had worked closely with UN Volunteers helping communities to demand access to justice in South Sudan.

UNV is administered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)