The basis of the concept of legal empowerment is that people can independently exercise their right to find concrete solutions to their legal problems, as well as to demand accountability from the authorities for all actions that affect them. Citizens should have access to legal advice on specific situations in which their rights have been violated – employment, health care, social welfare, family pension, etc.
In order to put an end to it, within the framework of the legal empowerment campaign, the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (FOSM) has launched a new website www.pravnozajakni.mk where you can find very useful information about the rights of every citizen of Macedonia and also the steps that need to be taken if they are violated. In addition to this information, contacts are also available from civil society organizations whose task is to assist citizens in the legal battle, i.e. to provide them with free legal aid, paralegal assistance, strategic advocacy, etc., contacts of great importance to citizens, and who in the past, had nowhere to get them.
Access to justice for citizens is not necessarily linked to lengthy and costly court procedures. The generally accepted view of the public is that justice can only be achieved by citizens who are financially capable of sustaining that protracted process, which from the outset is demotivating members of various marginalized groups and the majority of citizens seeking legal assistance in situations where their rights have been violated although they have numerous mechanisms at their disposal. That is why FOSM, through its programs, has been working for years on legal empowerment of the citizens and capacity building of the civil society in order to strengthen the potential of the citizens to realize their rights.
Citizens so far only recognize free legal aid as the only form of access to justice, but through this website, they will also be able to get acquainted with other forms of access to justice so that they will have sufficient knowledge and be able to turn to the right place when faced with a legal problem.
Legal empowerment encompasses several activities – legal literacy and assistance, mediation, community organizing, litigation and other forms of citizen advocacy, and the legal empowerment initiative is generally aimed at enabling widespread access to legal services at national and local levels, but also to ensure their financial sustainability. In this regard, FOSM strives to promote systemic reforms that are in the interest of vulnerable groups of citizens and to create an institutional framework for the legal empowerment of all citizens. This will provide different ways of accessing justice for citizens, including the most marginalized groups in society at a local and national level.
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