good morning from Brazil. Allowed me to introduce myself: my name is Denise Dora, and I am a founding member of a feminist organization, THEMIS - Genero e Justiça, based in Porto Alegre, Brazil. THEMIS has been developing women paralegal programs since 1993, and there are several groups in the country also implementing paralegal projets, particularly focused on VAW prevention. These projects also adress sexual and reproductive rights, discrimination at work, and racial/ethnic issues. Next January, from 19-24 there will be the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, and we are hosting a one-day conference on Contemporary Justices. It would be wonderful to have some of your experiences represented here. Any chance of some of you to come? best, Denise
Hello Denise! Welcome to the Global Legal Empowerment Network. I’m glad to see you here. I have moved your post into a new topic since it deserves it! Your work sounds really interesting and we’d be glad to hear more. Can you tell us some more about THEMIS and perhaps share some web links with details about the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre? A quick google search turned up a handful of links and I am not sure which is best to share.
Hello, thanks for your message. THEMIS is a feminist organization, focused on gender, justice and human rights. Over the last 22 years, it has been developing PLP (promotoras legais populares) programs, with women community leaderships. In Porto Alegre, every year since 1993, there is on 4 month-course, but the porgram has expanded to Brazil. Many organizations in Brazil, like PLP SP or GELEDES, and several others are now developing a kind of community paralegal projects. In Brazil, PLPs are key in dissemination information about violence against women and health rights, and play a unique role to support women in dealing with police, justice and public health.
It is still a non-governemetal initiative, and we are wondering if it could be a public policy; if the government should support a large network of PLPs to support women in sexaul and doemstic violence cases, for instance; or if the Judiciary should innovate and create support to PLPs as counsellors; or if…
We lack contact with international experiences, and we like to have these - and others - conversations with paralegals from other countries.
Hello Denise, thank you for sharing more about your work - it is truly inspiring to hear about the expansion of paralegal work in Brazil in areas of health and combatting violence against women. You are in the right place for connecting with other practitioners and members of civil society who are working in similar issues, promoting access to justice and using community paralegals.
We are currently involved in a research project that is looking at processes and status of formal recognition of community paralegals in as many as 40 countries. For instance, our partners in Kenya and the Namati team in Sierra Leone with @danielsesay have been involved in commenting and providing input on new legal aid bills that formally recognize community paralegals in the legal system - very exciting news for us! Namati helped to convene a meeting of African civil society and government officials to sign the Kampala Declaration to push for formal recognition of paralegals on a broader basis.
I would be curious if there are any formal laws or regulations that recognize this type of work in Brazil? We have been talking about this with Network members in Argentina (@SebastianPilo) and Ecuador (@manolomorales) as well. We are hoping to develop advice and advocacy strategies for this within the legal empowerment movement and would be keen to share this with you in the future.
Our Global Network also recently concluded a women’s rights learning exchange in Bangladesh with practitioners working with community paralegals in 6 countries, which you can read about here. Participants shared strategies and explored methods of combatting violence against women, whether through policy advocacy or setting up victim support centers, and shared resources like this guide to paralegals working with women who are victims of sexual violence. There is a lot of important work in this area and too often is not shared to help each other - we welcome you to join us.
Saudos pra nosso parceiro no Brazil.
I am very courios to understand more about of work in Brazil, specially advances in recognition of local work for practiccionars
Hi @manolomorales! Glad to see you here. Note if you post only in Portuguese or only in english other members will be able to have the post automatically translated into their preferred language. Posting in a mix of both languages seems to outsmart the automatic translation.
Let me know if you have feedback about the support for multiple languages.