As all of you know we are currently in the midst of tragedy and what is unfolding as a humanitarian crisis

Yesterday I met with Linda Zama (and a small group of legal and ADR professionals) Linda is a special advisor to the KZN Premier. The Premier’s Office has set up a reference group on migration and community integration in KZN.

I am assisting in co-ordinating and mobilising lawyers and mediators to assist in responding to legal and conflict resolution needs. The immediate need is for practitioners to offer services Pro Bono. The more of us who come forward, the less burden that falls to each. Please spread the word and get willing practitioners and students to email me on sheena@accesstojustice.co.za. Although this is a KZN initiative we wish to compile a data base of available practitioners in each region. So please be in touch and give a brief description of your areas of expertise

The following urgent needs have been identified:

1. Many migrants have lost documents in the conflict. Affidavits are required in respect of lost passports and birth certificates to enable those who wish to return to their countries of origin

2. A fact finding process is required preceeding the drafting of affidavits. We envisage sending volunteers out armed with Pro Formas to interview individuals and gain required information. Those can then be sent to practitioners to finalize draft afffidavits

3. Other needs identified may be personal injury and patrimonial loss claims, questionable raids on those accused of crimes, bail applications, facilation of dialogue and many other legal issues relating to social circumstances such as families of mixed origin and the like.

The crisis is massive and we urge all members of the legal professions, students and those engaged in mediation, ADR in a broader sense and Restorative Justice to mobilize and rally up support services to help dismantle the crisis

Practitioners should articulate areas of expertise such as criminal law, refugee law, international relations, mediation, restorative justice, personal injury, family and child law including international child protection and matters of status and a whole host of other areas

All ADR Network SA panellists, trained mediators and trainees are expected to contribute time.

Please also point me in the direction of Refugee Law and assistance centres, Law Clinics, Legal Resources Centres, Law Associations, ADR associations and the like

Please contribute any ideas I may not have thought of in the interests of mobilizing hope and achieving healing in our land.

Peace and gratitude

Sheena Jonker