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Developments at East Africa Law Society.

The East Africa Law Society is the umbrella regional organization of all the National Bar Associations of the EAC partner states working towards promotion of human rights, good governance, and professional development of its membership. It achieves this objective across four strategic areas of Institutional Development, Professional Development, Regional Integration and Public Interest Advocacy; leveraging on its observer status with the EAC. For the period under review, the EALS; Convened its 16th Annual Conference and General Meeting at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Arusha from 25th to 26th November, 2011 themed, Positioning the Legal Profession in the Regional Integration Process; Opportunities and Challenges. In addition to adopting a resolution calling on the EAC Secretary General to intervene in what the less than ideal situation of rule of law and independence of the judiciary in Burundi, the 500 plus lawyers in attendance were reminded of the vital role that they have in defining the legal and policy environment to hinge the regional integration process. The Chief Guest was the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania. Paid a courtesy call on the Hon. Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly EALA, Hon. Abdirahin Abdi on 7th February, 2012 to apprise him of the activities of the society during 2011. The EALS Chief Executive Officer lauded the ongoing efforts by the EAC to define a dialogue framework for Non State Actors participation in the EAC integration process which will entail a more participatory EAC Union. On his part the Speaker noted EALS contribution to the integration process, adding that professional organizations were vital partners in the integration process. He reminded the EALS of EALAs thematic committees which could play a key support role to the EALS advocacy programs; and invited the EALS to make use of all available EALA interface platforms.

Continued to conduct the three public interest cases that it filed in the EACJ that: aim to restate the role of the EACJ in adjudicating over matters that will arise in the implementation of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market; define the legal and policy framework for combating trans-boundary crime in East Africa; and ensure EAC partner states observance and respect of the

rights of their citizens. These are EACJ Refs No. 1,3, and 2 of 2011 respectively.

In partnership with Avocats Sans Frontires-Belgium launched a three year multidimensional regional project to address the multiple legal, institutional and capacity threats besetting human rights defenders within East Africa and the Great Lakes region. The project will provide emergency financial, material and legal assistance and to create a regional pool of reinforced and committed lawyers to ensure the defense of human rights defenders; and is being hosted at the EALS Secretariat in Arusha.

For further information on these and other EALS programs and activities, please visit our website at www.ealawsociety.org or drop us an email at info@ealawsociety.org.

Rule of law and Justice for all in an integrated East African Region.