International Bridges to Justice

Date: 03 Aug 2007


Most of us are aware of unpleasant conditions around the world that we can only count our lucky stars we were not born into.

Karen Tse, a lawyer by background and previously San Francisco based, is devoting her life to helping prevent situations that most of us would only experience in nightmares or see on the news. She regularly visits young mothers in prison in third world countries, who may be there for years for stealing a nappy for a new born baby. She also sees children as young as twelve being beaten whilst in jail to elicit confessions about crimes which are often petty and born of poverty. She says those involved with small crimes rarely get help, spend lengthy time incarcerated, often never go to trial and suffer abuse and also physical violence. Many also just sit in jail indefinitely. The reason is that although many countries have passed laws to ban many problem practices, they simply don’t have the infrastructure to have paperwork or systems in place to prevent ‘shortcuts’ or remove lethargy. The result is that violence and unnecessary imprisonment is the punishment for many who were just born poor. They have no defence, have no idea how to get help and often are left in jail because they don’t have anyone to write a letter for them to try and get them out.

£15,000 will enable an office to be opened and sustained for local people in one rural spot in a third world country. It will help get legal advice and basic assistance to people who have nowhere else to turn but you.

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