The Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism reports people with this condition have great difficulty getting justice or recompense for physical attacks and other harmful practices against them and their families. The expert’s latest report has been under debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Last year has been a particularly difficult one for persons with albinism in southern Africa. UN expert, Ikponwosa Ero says she has received numerous reports of abhorrent attacks against them.
From past experience, she says it is likely the number of reported cases does not reflect the true magnitude of the problem. Over the past decade, she says there have been more than 700 cases of attacks in 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. She notes these are reported cases. Most, she says, are never brought to light.
Worldwide, Ero says persons with Albinism suffer from discrimination, stigma and social exclusion. She says they are subject to physical attacks and harmful practices related to certain beliefs in magic and witchcraft. However, when they seek redress, she says persons with albinism too frequently are denied access to justice.
“Overall, in terms of these criminal cases, inordinate delays are common in prosecuting cases of serious charges such as murder and mutilation. Cases with relatively lesser charges such as threats and possession of exhumed body parts from gravesites are — depending on the country in question — either prosecuted relatively quickly or are not taken seriously at all.”
Ero says there are many barriers to access to justice, including lack of knowledge by victims on how the justice system works. She says discrimination from members of the legal community and the inability to pay the costs associated with going to court are other impediments.
The independent expert says specific measures must be taken to improve access to justice for persons with albinism. She recommends victims and their relatives be given protection to encourage them to come forward with evidence of a crime. She says they also should be rehabilitated.
Ero says persons with albinism who are seeking justice should receive legal aid and laws should be amended to take into account the threats targeting this particular group. (VOA)
No one wants to end up in a courtroom, but sometimes you don’t have any other choice. If you feel that you have been wronged in some way or you have a dispute that you cannot settle on your own, then you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. This is a big decision and not something you should enter into lightly. It is important that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Here are four things you need to know before you file a lawsuit
Do You Have a Case?
Obviously, it is a good idea to establish whether you actually have a winnable case or not long before you enter a courtroom. You don’t want to sink lots of time and money into a case that’s going nowhere. Most attorneys will be happy to offer you a free consultation to decide whether it is worth hiring the services or not. So, it is worth arranging a meeting with an attorney near you.
What Do You Want Out of the Process?
What do you want to get out of the process? Do you want to get some financial compensation? Or are you only looking to get an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an apology? There is a multitude of different reasons that people file lawsuits, it is important to understand and exactly what it is that you want out of the process from the beginning. Things aren’t necessarily going to go your way, and it is important that you can manage your expectations from the beginning. You don’t want to end up disappointed when you realize that the outcome you were expecting is not going to materialize.
If or when you sit down with a lawyer, it is important that you discuss with them what it is that you are hoping to get out of the case. They will be able to tell you whether your expectations are realistic or not, and if necessary, they can help you adjust them to something more realistic.
Have You Tried to Settle the Case Without Litigation?
In some cases, it is better to set up the case out of court and save yourself some time and money. The time and money that you spend fighting a court case is time and money that you’ll never ever be able to get back. Of course, some things can only be settled in a courtroom, and in some cases, the remedy that you’re pursuing can only be awarded to you by a court. However, if there is a possibility of reaching a settlement or agreement with the subject of your lawsuit this is an avenue that you should explore.
Do You Know What Kind of Lawyer You Need?
Different fields of the law will be handled by different lawyers, you need to find one that has the appropriate specialty to take on your case. You need a lawyer that not only has experience in the area of law most relevant to your case, but also one that has experience arguing cases in the state where your case will be heard. If at all possible, you should look for someone with even more localized experience than this.
Having the right attorney on your side will ensure that everything that follows progresses as smoothly and easily as possible. The last thing you want when you are halfway through the litigation process is an unexpected surprise that derails your entire case. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way of avoiding this.
If you are sure that a lawsuit is the way to go, then it is important that you enter the process with both eyes open. It is always worth speaking to an attorney beforehand, as most will offer you a free consultation.