ASF Sweden, Avocats sans Frontières
Avocats Sans Frontières Sweden was founded in autumn 1998 after the successful implementation of ASF Belgium. The initial association contacted its French and Belgian counterparts and had 160 members, all of them, lawyers at the Bar of Sweden. Nowadays, around ten members are actively involved in missions, supported by an office of seven people.
From its creation, and after obtaining funding, ASF Sweden launched a project in Djabakir and Istanbul, Turkey. The association is currently conducting this project to support local lawyers working on sensitive cases, particularly those of Kurd opponents or people threatened by the State. Although budgets have been cut, five or six projects are completed each year with the lawyers working on-site. The association also organises bigger seminars together with local lawyers, on democratization and respect on Human rights.
Much more remains to be done, especially in the rural areas where the power remains authoritarian and where citizens have difficulties to access to justice.
ASF Sweden was also involved in a cooperation project with law students from the University of Fudang, in Shanghai; providing training on the concept of judicial system in Scandinavia as well as legal aid and tools used in Northern Europe. The funds obtained for this project has also allowed the funding of an organization composed of volunteer lawyers (Grassrots Lawyers) that provides financial support to those who have no resources providing them access to justice.
ASF Sweden wants to focus its work in individual projects that promote access to justice similar to the project carried out in Turkey. The main obstacle to international activities is the language, because professional translators’ service is expensive and strongly limits the participation to the process.
The ASF members