More legal aid lawyers to help China's migrant workers

15:41, October 13, 2009      

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Ren Weimeng, a migrant worker from Heibei province, worked in a furniture factory in Beijing. One day, the thumb of his right hand was cut by shears when he was working.

With the help of many lawyers from Beijing's migrant worker legal aid station, Ren got 48 thousand yuan compensation which the factory initially refuse to give him due to insufficient evidence.

"China is encouraging more professional and full-time lawyers to participate in legal aid for migrant workers so as to enable them to get effective legal assistance in time," said Shi Fumao, the Secretary-General of National Bar Association Legal Aid Committee.

At the moment, China is making efforts to develop a group of such lawyers who are playing more important roles in the area of migrant workers legal aid.

"At least more than 200 million migrant workers in China have an influence upon over 500 million rural people. It's a serious issue to guarantee those migrants' legal rights," said Shi Fumao. "Among the current 160 thousand lawyers in China, few of them serve migrant workers."

With the support from National Lawyers Association, the National Legal Aid Commission started to establish work stations since the end of 2003. Until now, the migrant worker legal aid stations have been set in 20 provinces, with more than 60 full-time lawyers involved.

By December in 2008, those stations have provided free legal counseling on 41,842 occasions for 166,811 migrant workers, acted for 7,619 cases of which 573 were closed, and helped to claim back 81.35 million yuan in salaries and compensation.

The average age of those lawyers is 30 years old. Almost all of them have an assistant with an undergraduate law degree. All the services provided by the lawyers are free.

By People's Daily Online
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