The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) has trained some selected persons as paralegals in four Districts of the Upper East Region to assist in alternative dispute resolution involving children.
The initiative was part of the LRC’s goal to influence national institutions to be more transparent, accountable, human rights-oriented and consistent with the broad outlook of Ghana’s Justice for Children’s Policy.
The three-year project, dubbed “Justice for Children: Bridging the gap between Legislation and Practice,” would provide legal assistance and services to about 350 children in all 10 old Regions of Ghana.
The trainees, numbering 24, were selected from the Bolgatanga Municipality, Talensi, Kassena-Nankana West and Nabdam Districts of the Upper East Region.
Mr Enock Jengre, the Project Officer for the LRC, said the project would be implemented in 55 Districts across the country with funding support from the European Union.
He said “these people that we are training today in Bolgatanga are actually coming from basically four Districts within the Region where we have prevalent cases of children who have issues to do with the law.”
Mr Jengre emphasized that “We are looking at the best interest of the child, anything that has to do with the welfare of children.”
He indicated that the selection criteria was done through advertisement in the media, people applied, were selected and interviewed.
He said they would be trained to work with the Legal Aid Commission on issues of children who come into conflict with the law, “so basically their role is to assist with out-of-court settlement of cases of children who find themselves at the wrong side of the law.”
“We expect that at the end of the day, they should be able to learn from the training manual that we have given to them about the various mediation roles.”
The Project Officer said there were alternative conflict resolutions that the trainees were expected to acquaint themselves with.
Mr Richard Adazabra, the Acting Upper East Regional Director of the Legal Aid Commission, explained that paralegals were persons given some training to assist in the delivery of justice within the courts and communities.
He said the paralegals would be deployed to various communities within the four Districts to assist children seek redress on legal matters from appropriate institutions.