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ACCESS TO JUSTICE

Project Name: The Community Legal Aid Services in the Southwest of Bangladesh

Project Goal: To improve access to justice and lives of the poor, ethnic and women in the proposed working area.

The Target Population of the population are suffering from, Gender based violence, cast discrimination, vulnerability of women, lack of ability to access legal aid, landlessness, inequalities and lack of rights.

Expected Out Comes: The people in the Upazila will have increased knowledge about legal system and will use this if needed to recourse.

Major Achievements:

Project Duration: July, 2014 to March, 2017

Working Area: Kaligong, Satkhira (South-west region of Bnagladesh)

Donor Name: UKAid, (Consortium with UTTARAN and Bhumijo Foundation )

Project Background:

The legal assistance and support in life stand as a crucial need.  It comes true for those women or deprived groups are undergoing difficulties in life.  Despite their utmost unwillingness to knock the judiciary door, the situation sometime compelled them to do so.  Under such condition if the judicial environment appears as hostile then the women or the deprived groups have nowhere to go in life toimage001 get recourse than cursing own life and time.  Bangladesh is one of the economically poor countries in the world has yet to bring the judiciaries in order to help those desperately looking for this special service.  There are many women, adolescent and deprived groups in Bangladesh are suffering due to their ignorance of the justice system, the perpetrator takes advantage of their illiteracy and ignorance of how the system works.  SOHAY is working in south-west part of Bangladesh, Kaliganj Upazila to change the situation, going to inform 225,596 population of that Upazila under Satkhira District.  These people will know how the judicial system work and if anyone need assistance what they have to do.  SOHAY is confident due to its work the society will be just and more harmonised and better than the current one.

Kaliganj is in south-west part of Bangladesh is close to a long Indian border and is severely affected by the climate change as a result the bio-diversity and people livelihoods are changing.  The families are taking time adjusting to the change, many people livelihoods are under huge threat, their own profession are threatened as well, income dropped.  The difficulties in families are increasing day by day.  In addition there is strong presence of religious and “ultra-left” extremist groups, and good percentage of lower caste communities (27%) make the society diversified.  SOHAY has closely observed women and children are the worst victims.  The situation of the lower cast difficult to bear, they face multiple burdens.  The CLASSBD project is addressing the issues such as gender inequalities, early marriage, dowry, polygamy, verbal divorce, desertion, eve teasing, wife beating/verbal abuse, abduction, intimidation are the common and regular form of Violence Against Women (VAW).  In addition water logging is creating another layer of difficulties, spoiled the livelihood options in the region, forcing male members to migrate for work, result putting additional insecurity and burden on the women. Due to quick money shrimp farming damaging the environment and reduce the soil fertility. This part of the country is religiously conservative, people culturally shy and due to social pressure so a lot of gender-based violence go unreported.

Major Activities:

  • Change people understanding and bring confidence on legal system
  • Create awareness in the whole upazila about legal issues and what is legal course
  • Engage local community in the process
  • Ensure people access to the legal system
  • Bring people confidence on the system
  • Tell people the perpetrator will be brought to justice
  • Develop Community Based Organisations at village, union and upazila level
  • Capacitate staff and community mediators
  • Enhance community mediation favourable to poor and women
  • Facilitate meeting of union, upazila and district legal aid committees.