Paralegal Training for Communities & Counsellors to Raise Legal Awareness

Located at Harris Hotel Pontianak, Gemawan Institute was involved as facilitators in Paralegal Training for Counsellors and Field Officers working on drug issues conducted by Pontianak Plus Foundation. The facilitators from Gemawan Institute were Rikson Siahaan, SH., C.P.L.C. and Sri Haryanti, SH., C.L.A.

As one of the institutions focusing on empowering and mentoring for ODHA/OHIDA and drug users, Pontianak Plus Foundation saw that this kind of activities will be able to provide legal and human rights understanding for the communities of narcotics abuse victims and the field officers working on drug issues. Moreover, the communities and field officers working on this issue will be able to do independent advocation for drug abuse cases.

According to the facilitator, Rikson Siahaan, SH., C.P.L.C., the participants who came from various communities were brought together and gathered for one common purpose: fight for equal justice. “Law Number 16 of 2011 regarding Legal Aid provides space for Legal Aid Providers to recruit Advocates, Paralegals, Lecturers and Law Faculty Students,” said the man who is familiarly called Rikson.

Paralegals are the initial milestone to raise the number of legal awareness – to prevent law violations – to the community and provide legal insights in solving various problems faced by the society or community. “Additional paralegal staff will assist the handling of violence and human right violation cases which frequently occur. As we know, the number of Legal Aid Organizations and Advocates is still limited, “he added.

Even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic situation, this activity was still being conducted while still maintaining health protocols. “We still do physical distancing and use face masks to prevent Covid-19 transmission,” Rikson stated.

In line with that, Sri Haryanti, SH., C.L.A., stated that paralegals were the cornerstone and frontline for the convenience of the community in accessing justice in the middle of the uneven distribution of Legal Aid Organizations and advocates. “The community cannot expect for advocates from the Legal Aid Institutions to always be present to solve problems, therefore paralegals can do assistance. It definitely still has to be under the supervision of an advocate who is the legal counsel of the community,” explained the social activist who, in her daily basis, is active in Gemawan Institute.

The activity which took place from 16 to 18 June 2020 was attended by 10 participants from various institutions and backgrounds, they were: JIP, PEKHA, Graha House, KPAK Pontianak, KPAP Kalbar, YPP, RBM Bumi Khatulistiwa, and WBA.

“We expect that more parties will conduct paralegal training on various issues and Gemawan Institute is ready to be the facilitator to assist those parties,” Sri Haryanti concluded.

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