Foreign aid cuts threaten future of legal aid in East Timor | Connect Asia

Foreign aid cuts threaten future of legal aid in East Timor

Foreign aid cuts threaten future of legal aid in East Timor

Updated 25 May 2012, 13:33 AEST

Organisations working in East Timor's justice system are worried victims of domestic and sexual violence won't be able to access the courts when foreign funding for legal aid programs dries up at the end of the year.

Community legal aid organisations help around 800 people a year access the justice system, funded mostly by USAID via The Asia Foundation and to a lesser extent by AusAID, through its Justice Sector Support Facility.

Many of those helped are from rural areas and don't have the money to pay a lawyer.

Without legal help many women who are raped end up marrying their attacker, as a traditional way of resolving the issue.

A representative of AusAID says the agency is actively looking at ways to continue its part in funding the victims support facilities.

Correspondent: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Luis de Oliveira Sampaio, director of the Judicial System Monitoring Programme

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