The Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC) was established in 1992 as a non-governmental, voluntary, independent and non-profit making organisation aimed at providing legal aid services and assistance to the poor, women, and children, the disabled, marginalised and other vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of the Zanzibari society. The Centre also aims to popularise knowledge on the law and human rights and to produce publications in all areas of legal concern to the people of Zanzibar.
During the 31 years of its existence, the Centre has grown in strength and works tirelessly to achieve its intended aims and objectives in line with the vision and mission of the Centre.
In order to achieve these aims and ensure that behavioural changes are guaranteed, the Centre strives to ensure that all the people of Zanzibar have a basic understanding of legal and human rights principles and can act on them in order to build a society based on rule of law, good governance and the observance of human rights norms.
Primarily, the Centre provides legal aid in the form of counselling and advice to the poor and those who cannot afford to hire lawyers to handle their legal issues. Those in need of legal aid visit the offices of the Centre situated at House No. 33 Karume Road, Kijangwani, Zanzibar or receive legal aid or assistance from the Centre’s recognized Paralegals who are found in all electoral constituencies of Zanzibar. In addition, some of the staff of the Centre who are admitted into the Roll as Advocates provide legal representation in the courts of law for deserving cases which have satisfied the Centre’s criteria for taking legal matters to court.
The legal aid provided by the Centre, be it purely advisory or litigation, is provided free of charge. The Centre is also actively engaged in the provision of legal education to the public in order to raise people’s awareness on their basic rights and civic responsibilities. This is done through various means including seminars, workshops, round–table meetings, legal aid outreach and the media, mainly through television and radio programmes.
The Centre also, prides itself on legal research as it undertakes, through conducting, coordinating and commissioning, research on legal issues. The results of the research is disseminated through meetings in which scholars, politicians, stakeholders and people from all walks of life meet to discuss and exchange views. Some of the completed results have been both attractive and appealing to the government thus helping to shape policies and laws on various issues including the issue of the rights of the child in Zanzibar.
“Zanzibar Legal Services Centre is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to raising people’s awareness, promoting human rights and good governance.”