Associação Mãos Livres

Associação Mãos Livres has been providing free legal aid to poor people since 2000, including those held in detention. It is the first organization in Angola that dares to call itself a "human rights organization", and is the first Angolan NGO to provide free legal aid.

Although the Angolan Constitution is clear regarding the right to legal representation and this right is supported by Decree-Law 15/95 which created the Law of Judicial Assistance, there is no real access to legal aid in Angola. Angola has not created an institution responsible for rendering legal aid to any person, including indigent persons, nor has it provided financial resources to private lawyers willing to represent indigent persons. Private lawyers may assist citizens who cannot afford to pay lawyers on a pro bono basis. 

In the event that such pro bono lawyers are not available indigent  persons have to turn to non-governmental organisations for legal assistance. Maõs Livres is such an organisation and employs lawyers and journalists. Its main activity is to assist people who cannot afford legal representation. Since 2000 it has assisted between 10 000 and 15 000 people per year and operates in nine provinces, being Luanda, Huambo, Kwanza Sul, Benguela, Muchico, Huila, Cunene, Cabinda and Lunda Sul.

Associação Mãos Livres
salvafreire@gmail.com

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