Legal aid and assistance play a vital role in eliminating the barriers and supporting women to exercise their rights as equal citizens.
In this respect, the European Union and the Council of Europe’s joint action on “Fostering women’s access to justice in Turkey” has organised a two-day training on strategic litigation with a focus on access to justice for women with the participation of 27 women lawyers from 27 different bar associations across Türkiye. The training was held in Ankara on 21 and 22 November 2022.
It was delivered by a national and an international consultant, Atty. Ivana Roagna and Dr. Fehmiye Ceren Akcabay, to support the participants’ knowledge and capacity on how to carry out strategic litigation, case monitoring and advocacy on women’s rights. It was also aimed the use of litigation as a tool to defend women’s rights and facilitate women’s access to justice with available remedies at domestic and international levels.
Pınar Başpınar, Head ad interim of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Ankara, underlined that the action strives to enhance women’s access to legal aid services and increase the gender sensitivity of legal aid services to better respond to the needs of women. “Legal aid and assistance play a vital role in eliminating the obstacles faced by women in accessing justice and supporting women to exercise their rights as equal citizens. To that end, with today’s training, we are aiming to increase knowledge and capacity of legal professionals on strategic litigation to bring significant changes to the law, practice and public awareness while takings selected cases to court”, said Başpınar.
In her remarks, Vice Chair of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations Atty. Sibel Suiçmez stated: “In order to overcome the obstacles to women's access to justice, public institutions, non-governmental organisations and legal professional shall work together to identify problems and find solutions. With this sense of duty, we think that we can reach many more women and children when we combine trainings like the one, we are doing today. In this context, we would like to thank the European Union and the Council of Europe for supporting this project, which enables us to touch the lives of women, and to our esteemed lecturers who provided the training.”
During the training, the participants shared practices on strategic litigation in Turkish legal system through case studies, role plays and discussed how to raise awareness amongst the general public about the underlying situation through public debate and institutional and legal changes. At the end of the training, the participants were also provided with the handbook on strategic litigation in the area of women’s rights for legal practitioners in Türkiye which was prepared by the training consultants of the Action and will be soon available online.
This activity was organised in the framework of the action on “Fostering women's access to justice in Turkey”, part of the European Union and Council of Europe’s joint programme entitled "Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey 2019-2022".