On 30 November to 2 December over 30 Syrian Legal NGOs gathered in Gaziantep, Turkey, with the aim of forming a Syrian Legal Consortium. ILAC chair Elizabeth Howe and Head of Operations Per Lagerström participated in one of the sessions by sharing experiences and lessons learned from ILAC’s work.
The 3-day conference, organised and facilitated by the Free Independent Judicial Council, FIJC, together with ILAC, was a part of the twinning activities within the ILAC Syria Programme. By openly introducing the participating Syrian NGOs to the concept and idea of a joint consortium, the FIJC representative Judge Anwar Majawi, with various co-chairs, led a group discussion on the pro’s and con’s with joining forces and coordinate the legal assistance work in the form of a consortium.
The participants of the conference was not only sufficient in terms of numbers, but also in geographic diversity. Some of the NGO representatives had never actually met before the meeting, and discovered through the introductory presentation that some where operating in the same areas, with very similar activities. This insight in itself, a very valuable outcome of the conference.
By the end of the first day of the conference, two committees were appointed with the task to draft both the vision of the consortium as well as a code of conduct.
Sharing ILAC experiences
After opening the conference with a Syrian exclusive discussion, ILAC representatives were invited on the second day, in order to give inputs and share experiences both on legal assistance and generic net work organisational matters.
The third and final day was dedicated to resolving some differences on the Consortium’s code of conduct, which took a number of sessions but was resolved. A majority of the organisations signed the document by the end of the day, but some organisations submitted reservations on some clauses.
At the end of the conference elections took place to choose a committee. The committee would be in charge of:
- Reaching out to other organisations who were not present at the workshop.
- Liaise with the current participants for their input during the next steps.
- Prepare the paperwork needed for creating the consortium.
- Organise a follow up workshop within three months with the aim of launching the consortium.
The event ended on a positive note and attendees are looking forward to the next steps.