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In Africa it is said that justice is open to all – and so is the Intercontinental Hotel. The hard reality is that most Africans do not know their legal rights and lack the means to obtain advice and representation. For example, in Uganda 90% of lawyers live in the capital Kampala, whilst 95% of the populace cannot afford to retain a private lawyer. Justice then becomes a luxury of the wealthy few. Hard won doctrines taken for granted by Australian lawyers such as the rule of law and judicial independence are still to be fought for. Injustice in the justice system is often the norm.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8 and 9)

In partnership with lawyers in the developing world CLEAR, Christian Lawyers for Justice, aims to provide human rights education and offer legal assistance to those suffering injustice… Want to be involved? PrayDoGoGive.

You can also find out about: CLEARThe Need (Stories)CLEAR VisionCLEAR Inspiration and contact CLEAR.

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For everyone praying for the Justice Team Mission in East Africa here is the most recent update on their travels, as they visit Kenyan courts and teach prisoners their basic rights in Kenyan prisons.

Last week was a busy week, and a few of the team were battling illness, so the update was delayed. However here's a taster of the start of last week:

With Dan and Adam gloating that they guessed the right arrival time estimate for the journey from Kampala to Nairobi (13.5 hours to be exact!) we arrived safely at 9.30pm on Sunday to begin our week in Kenya. The journey, though long had been surprisingly fine. It was wonderful to watch the landscape change as we passed through East African countryside.

We were met in the centre of Nairobi by the Kenyan Christian Lawyers'
Fellowship (KCLF) director who organised for us to get to our accommodation for the week, a lovely guest house which we are pleased to report again offers hot showers! This has been a particular blessing as the temperature here in Kenya is a lot cooler than we enjoyed in Rwanda and Uganda!

The following day (Monday) after breakfast we went to the KCLF offices where we met the rest of the team before dividing into 4 groups and hearing to the Kenyan High Court to observe one of the KCLF member advocates in action. The court itself was very busy as we arrived at 9am and we were told it holds
100 court rooms inside. Meeting him outside the court room, the advocate told us about his case, a private civil matter concerning land in which his client (the first wife) was arguing that the conveyances of various parcels of land was invalid and fraudulent as the second wife had consented despite it not being her land. There was a real risk, the lawyer argued, that if the application was refused then his aging, sickly client would be the victim of an injustice. The case was the last in the list and so we patiently sat through the 19 previous cases and hoped the judge would allow the application to appeal. Unfortunately (and as is often encountered at home by judiciary anxious not to make the wrong decision) the judge adjourned the decision to a later date. Nonetheless it was great to chat to the advocate after the hearing about his experiences as a Kenyan lawyer generally as well as the cases he takes on pro bono for KCLF.

After lunch at a local cafe we discussed the court sessions with the KCLF team and heard about the justice system here in Kenya as well as hearing the
*preliminary* plan for our time here which included prison visits, a school seminar and joining with the members of the KCLF for their monthly fellowship meeting. They had planned a lot for us to see and do!

On Tuesday we were able to visit a men's remand prison on the outskirts of Nairobi with a few of the KCLF team. It was a dreary and imposing place, full of grey cold concrete on which a few murals that had been painted, presumably by the inhabitants, offered a bit of colour. Once inside we met *Paul, an officer of the legal department in the Prison Headquarters of Kenya, also a member of KCLF. He goes into prisons around the country educating the remanders and those who have been convicted of their rights under the law and the particular sections of legislation to rely on.

One of our team, Dan gave a brilliant talk. Then Paul stood up and chatted to them. What was really interesting was how engaged they were when listening to him! They clearly appreciated him and us coming and helping them. He also taught them practical skills for appearing in court; to ask for their charge sheet and witness statements against them, to request lower bail amounts, to dress smartly and speak clearly. He and the KCLF team regularly work in the prison to give remandees and convicts the confidence to demand their legal rights in a system which does disadvantage the poor, needy and uneducated.

On our return to the office we discussed what we had seen and heard. We were also given our brief for the following day: to review some case documents of a woman named Joy* who was on remand in the Langata woman's prison and come up with a prosecution and defence arguments.

With the team safely back in the UK, and Esther soon to arrive back in Australia, I'm sure you are all looking forward to catching up in person.

If you are minded to pray, please do pray for the team:

- as they return home that there would be space to reflect on the time away and consider its impact;
- that those who were battling sickness would recover quickly and be fully well;
- that those still travelling have travelling mercies;
- that they would have quality time with family and friends this week.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.
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Announcing ‘Art from the Inside’.
Prison Fellowship Australia warmly invites you to the ‘Art from the Inside’ exhibition Opening Night Wed 20 July – 7pm Come and hear: International Award-winning Barber Shop Quartet “Blindside” Speaker: Marc Wheway A light dinner: Canapes, coffee, dessert. T: 3399 3190.

Venue Peter Sheehan Gallery. Australian Catholic University. 1100 Nudgee, Banyo, Brisbane. Theme: Amazing Grace: The Gift Ephesians 2:8
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Here’s the latest update from the CLEAR legal mission team in Uganda, meeting the Ugandan Human Rights Commission to hear about the work they do in combating illegal detention and torture, touring Parliament House and providing legal education.

Our time in Uganda continued on Wednesday with a day of rest thanks to Eid creating a national holiday. Despite the unforeseen programme changes, this created a much needed day of relaxation after all the long hours of travelling, so we enjoyed a late breakfast and massages for a couple of the team intermingled with a trip to the local African craft markets to purchase some local mementos!

Thursday saw us meeting the Inspectorate of Government in Kampala where we were shown great hospitality (including delicious samosas, tea and coffee!) by the staff who spoke to us about their work. It was really interesting to hear what they do, which involves investigating complaints of corruption, educating against corruption, inspecting corporate bodies and even prosecuting corruption cases.

After lunch we travelled to a school in Gayaza to help facilitate an UCLF education seminar covering a range of issues including rights regarding bail and remand, and sexual offences. These are the sorts of issues which the UCLF juvenile team in prisons and remand centres routinely come up against and teenagers are often vulnerable to such abuses or worse still abuses of the system and injustice as they don't know the law. A few of us took turns talking, with the assistance of an interpreter, about these different legal issues. The students seemed to enjoy us being there and were extremely engaged, asking good and probing questions. The highlight was having time after the seminar to speak with the students and hear from them about school and life in general in Uganda. Many of them were keen to become doctors and lawyers, and expressed a clear desire to improve conditions within their country, which we found inspirational. A common feature of Africa we are noticing is the impromptu singing and dancing and we all enjoyed a sing-a-long with the students before leaving - the solo of "Amazing Grace" by one of our team leaders Adam and our UCLF host Francis was particularly enjoyable to witness!

On Friday we visited the Human Rights Commission and met with a number of department heads who shared with us about the work they do in combating illegal detention and torture. It was great to hear how holistic their strategy is, combining education and research with receiving, investigating and prosecuting cases of human rights violations. We then travelled across town to have a tour around parliament by a very friendly Minister of Education called Peter. It was interesting to be shown the chamber where Government sits (which is unsurprisingly similar to our Houses of Parliament) and to hear about how Parliament functions in Uganda.

After a traditional Ugandan lunch of fish heads and goat offal (!) we went to the UCLF offices in central Kampala to meet the team and hear a bit more about what the team does. Their work is varied, providing education seminars, advice and representation for clients across a wide range of criminal and civil matters (including family, inheritance and land disputes). It was great to see that a number of student interns work alongside the staff gaining practical legal experience which counts towards their degree and that they can put into practice after graduation. Again, we enjoyed a time of worship together, experiencing the lively African praise!

With today being our last day in Uganda, and a Saturday, we are enjoying some time in Entebbe by the 'beach' aka the sandy shores of Lake Victoria before going for dinner to another of the UCLF board members who lives nearby. We are praying the traffic back to Kampala allows a quick and smooth journey so we can have a good night's sleep before the 12+ hour drive to Nairobi on Sunday.

Praise points:
- for a wonderful week in Uganda.
- "Our God is an awesome God" has become a summer team favourite - praise God that He reigns with all wisdom and power and is in control of all the things we are leaving behind us and for all that is in our future. May we grow in deeper trust of Him.

Prayer points:
- travel mercies for very long travel to our next destination.
- for continued good team relations and those with our Kenyan partners.
- that we will be forever changed and transformed in and for Christ from our time on this Mission Trip.
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The next instalment in the travel adventures of the CLEAR justice mission team currently in Africa and now arrived in Uganda: Undeterred by the large dent/crack in the front of our bus, we braved the journey from Kigali to Kasese, Western Uganda. After what seemed like an eternity on the road, a rather shady border crossing and a precariously packed roof box, we arrived at our guest house for the night and were treated to the remainders in the kitchen - a combination of rice, beans, potatoes and a special treat of goat for the elder of our group, Ian!

As we are beginning to understand, things chop and change quickly in Africa and so we were not surprised when we were told our programme was changing! Fortunately this meant we got a whole morning in Queen Elizabeth National Park. We saw many of Africa's famous animals but had prayers answered when we came across a male lion trying to have a nap! We managed to get up and really close before he sauntered away towards an unsuspecting herd of gazelles!

We finally arrived in Kampala at the home of one of the early pioneers of UCLF. Despite arriving at his house a good few hours later than planned, we were all touched by the whole family's hospitality and enjoyed some delicious home cooked Ugandan food. By the time we reached our hotel in Kampala at gone midnight we were all ready for bed and over the moon to discover hot showers too, a real blessing!

The next day (Tuesday) was an early start to head to one of the courts in the city to meet the Chief Magistrate. We were able to sit in on his cases for the morning, all of which we found very interesting, especially in the ways that the justice system here is similar to home. We heard of one case involving a sex tape that had been leaked by a husband in a malicious attempt to get back at his wife. Ahead of times, we learnt that Uganda has a Pornography Act, but this was the first of such cases for the Chief Magistrate. Then we heard of a case of fraud in which a young woman was claiming 10 million shillings back from a couple of business men who she claimed had scammed her. The final case was slightly more difficult as the parties spoke in Swahili but we were later told it was to do with a dubious will and the administration of a father's estate by brothers who had fallen out. In the court sat a number of local people, some students and the parties of cases to be heard and very much resembled magistrates courts in the UK!

Once the morning session had come to an end we were treated to some time with the Chief Magistrate who was very engaging. He explained a bit more about the cases we'd heard and how the justice system works in Uganda.

The afternoon took us to the Equal Opportunities Commission where we heard from the Justice Commissioner and her Assistant Commissioner about what their work involves. They take on cases of marginalisation and/or discrimination that fall under a 2007 Act. This year alone they have had over 320 cases. It was interesting to hear from them and was good to see that there may be some scope for UCLF to refer cases to them in future.

After some team time and dinner we all retired for the night and looked forward to a free day today. Compared to the rest of our time in East Africa today has been very chilled with a late breakfast, personal downtime and then a very successful trip to the local craft market! We are making the most of the spa/massage option here at the hotel with some of us already having enjoyed one and the rest of the team planning to book one in before we move onto Kenya on Sunday!

We continue to be blessed with safe travels and accommodation, good food and lots of laughter and are all really enjoying our time in East Africa. Thank you for your prayers so far, we certainly feel looked after! Please do continue to pray for safety, blessings and favour in the rest of the meetings we have lined up in Uganda and Kenya to come. Also for continued strong team relationships and good times of fellowship amongst the busyness of the programme.
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For those following and praying for the CLEAR justice mission team as they travel through East Africa, here’s an update on their movements straight off the press: As we prepare to move onto Uganda we've had time to reflect on this week in Rwanda and all that God has spoken to us through our time here.

Monday started with an orientation at the Rwandan Lawyers Of Hope offices, where Egide shared with us some of the projects, with which LOH are involved. From training community workers on child rights, and empowering street children; from assisting young people caught up in the criminal justice system, and taking walk in clients, it was great to hear about the fantastic work they do and we're all excited to get more practically involved, as we visit some of the projects in the field.

Monday afternoon was a lot more sombre. We visited the National Genocide Memorial museum, where 250,000 people killed during the 1994 genocide are buried. It serves as a place of sacred remembrance for survivors as well as a harrowing reminder of the atrocities that the Tutsi (and those who protected them) of this country faced. It was an event that destroyed the whole nation.

And yet what we have found amazing, and what I think we will continue to find awe-inspiring, is how the people of Rwanda have emerged from the genocide embracing change, growth and most importantly forgiveness. In a land that has faced such trauma in our lifetimes, it is inspiring to see communities coming together once more and people really seeking to be 'one Rwanda'.

On Tuesday morning we were able to hear from some of the clients of Lawyers of Hope. We all found this incredibly interesting and it was great to see and hear first hand some of their success stories. We were particularly touched that a young man, John* (not his real name) made the journey to Kigali to meet us and share his story. At the age of 17, John was wrongly accused by his employer of raping the employer's daughter (as a cover for not paying him). He was imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. However, worse was to come. John was acquitted of rape but he was not taken to the court to hear that he was acquitted and the court order in fact never made it to his prison. This meant John served a further 3 years unnecessarily in prison before this was discovered by a LOH advocate working with him on his case. Once the mistake was uncovered, he was released the same day. Thankfully his is a happy ending as John is now married with a little girl and works as a farmer. But we were struck with the intense injustice of his situation which should never have been able to occur. It just shows how important the work of LOH is here in Rwanda.

Later that afternoon we braved the Rwandan public transport to travel to Nymamagbe in the South. The journey reiterated Rwanda's nickname as the "land of a thousand hills" and we were all pretty blown away by the beauty of the countryside we drove through. A particular highlight was watching the sunset over the hills and then seeing the stars come out and cover the black sky with sparkles!

After a bright and early breakfast, we divided into two teams to go into the community and present seminars to groups of adults and children on the rights of the child within the UN convention. It was received really well and was especially great to see many of the adults already knew about much of what we said. Playing and dancing with the children was another highlight for us all - They certainly know how to dance!

Thursday saw Rachel branch off to visit a little girl she sponsors in the north west of Rwanda, about 2.5hours from Kigali, whilst the rest of the team travelled to see another of the LOH projects which works with street kids to teach them soccer skills, share a Gospel message, educate them on their rights and responsibilities and try to reconcile them with families they had run away from. We enjoyed this time with them a lot - the new coach used to be a street kid so it was great to see how the work with these kids is impacting their lives and having a lasting effect. They were extremely patient with our football skills (or more accurately lack of!) which also saw the team pick up a few minor injuries- grazed knees and hands, nose bleeds and twisted ankles! Thankfully the team are all almost back to full health. (Photo attached from our time with the street kids).

On Friday we helped LOH to run their student conference at the University of Kigali. Over 50 students from 4 different universities in Kigali came together to learn about our God of justice through the Old and New Testaments, and some of the team were able to share some of their experiences about living out their faith within the legal profession. We got some really good feedback from them so the long day was all worth it. An Indian for dinner seemed a good way to end the day!

And so we are packing again to move on to Uganda for another new adventure! We met one of our hosts en route earlier today and are settling into accommodation tonight in Western Uganda. We are excited to meet the rest of the Ugandan Christian Lawyers' Fraternity team and see the great work they are doing in Kampala and around the country. Stay tuned!

For those who pray:
- for unity among the team and for good relationships with our partners;
- for opportunities to encourage our local partners and clients, and for the team to be encouraged as they engage with some of the challenges;
- praise God for great relations amongst the team-may these continue and deepen on a foundation of Christ
- praise God for a wonderful first week on the team. May He guard our hearts as we sadly leave this precious country and prepare our hearts for our new adventure in Uganda.
- please pray for travel mercies and good health
- please continue to pray for our partners in Kenya at IJM who lost a lawyer this week. May we be equipped to offer comfort and share in this time with them when we reach Kenya next week.
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Overnight the Queensland Parliamentary Committee considering whether a Human Rights Act should be legislated in Queensland tabled its report. The report cites submissions made by CLEAR and will be of interest to those concerned for the preservation of religious freedoms.

The importance of the contents of the right to freedom of religion was emphasised by submissions made to the Inquiry by CLEAR, which the Committee quoted as follows:

"In the context of freedom of religion, CLEAR International was of the view that:

To adopt such a model as that implemented in the Victorian charter may amount to an effective withdrawal of the human rights of individuals or corporate entities. This is an unacceptable proposition for any charter that purports to protect human rights.

Any proposed bill should not derogate from the standards implemented in international law.

CLEAR International Australia also expressed concern that Australian human rights legislation does not adequately protect the religious freedom of individuals and of corporate entities. It called for any proposed human rights legislation to protect the human rights of individuals and corporate entities.

CLEAR International Australia noted that the Victorian Charter ‘effectively weakens’ the rights within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by applying the ‘reasonable limits’ provision at s 7(2). This was considered a weaker stance than the ‘necessary’ limitations set out in Article 18(3) of the ICCPR. Mark Fowler submitted that ‘the Victorian charter also omits the rights of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children’. CLEAR International Australia concluded that ‘to adopt a model such as that implemented in the Victorian Charter is to effectively weaken the protections offered under international law’.”

The verbal submissions to the Inquiry made by Mark Fowler can be found at page 15 of the July 2016 Bible Society Eternity Magazine via the link below.

The Committee could not reach agreement on whether a Human Rights Act should be legislated, and therefore did not make recommendations as to the contents of the rights to be contained in the Act. The Government members’ recommendations did however include proposed protections for religious freedoms in terms of a right to ‘religion and belief’. Even so, the recommendation did not provide any specificity as to the content of that freedom.

CLEAR’s submissions stress that the mere recognition of religious freedoms in a Human Rights Act does not necessarily ensure their proper protection and that much will turn on the precise terms of any limitations imposed upon that freedom. Neither the Committee nor the Government members made any definitive statement on how these rights should be protected. Whether any further consideration of these matters will be required will be ultimately determined by the Government’s response to the Committee’s report.
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