Traditionally injustices in the developing world have been tackled by human rights organisations that produce reports and demand action at a government level. By contrast, CLEAR is a grass roots organisation that seeks redress in individual cases through the local justice system, using local lawyers.
CLEAR’s vision is help the poorest in developing societies gain access to justice, by:
- Community legal education – teaching people what you and I expect to be everyday rights, particularly in slum areas, prisons, villages, churches and schools and in remote parts of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
- Access to justice through legal aid centres for those on the fringes of society. This includes work within prisons, training people how to represent themselves before the Court and acting for those who cannot represent themselves, including children.
- Advocacy at Government Level – Challenging the Government to change unjust and out-dated laws or administrative practices. Most African countries in which CLEAR serves have constitutions incorporating a broad swathe of international human rights but the poor and illiterate have no knowledge of them and are unable to claim those rights in the face of government apathy, intransigence or active oppression.
- Public interest litigation to defend human rights in carefully selected cases. For example, taking the Government to Court to ensure street children possess ID cards to prevent against arbitrary detention and enable employment and education.
CLEAR is distinctive in that the projects are owned by the Lawyers’ Fellowships of the respective countries and their fervent desire is to realise the long term aim of funding the projects entirely themselves. CLEAR shares and encourages this drive to self-sufficiency.
What also distinguishes CLEAR from other similar organisations is the sheer volume of cases handled by our core staff and the pro bono lawyers who are key to the success of the project. As an example, in 2008 over 64,000 people benefited from pro bono advice and education delivered largely by CLEAR volunteers on a shoestring budget! There are many organisations advocating for human rights, but few deliver legal assistance to the poor in such volume.
Uniquely, CLEAR requires that delivery of each project must be owned and driven by local management, staff and volunteers. Each country’s project must:
- Be cost effective & subject to regular financial checks
- Provide relief to individuals and grow society’s understanding of international human rights and access to the rule of law
- Be aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable in society.
CLEAR’s VISION Within Australia
CLEAR aims to encourage the expression of the Christian faith in the legal fraternity in Australia through:
- Fellowship amongst the various member Christian lawyers networks in Australia
- Encouraging existing Christian legal societies around Australia in the fulfilment of their goal to serve Christ in their respective jurisdictions
- Fellowship with our colleagues in Africa and the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world
- Encouraging concern for the disadvantaged in Africa, enabling prayer and giving to support the work of Christian lawyers in serving the most disadvantaged in the developing world
- Expressing Christ’s love and concern for social justice, not only amongst the disadvantaged in Africa, but also amongst our colleagues in Australia and around the world
- Encouraging the taking of missions trips by Australian Christian lawyers to the CLEAR projects
- Fundraising to support the work of CLEAR’s pro bono legal services in Africa, and elsewhere in the developing world
- Facilitating the further working together of CLEAR’s member societies across Australia.