Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a national legal aid and human rights organisation, provides legal and social support to the dis empowered, particularly women, working children and workers. Its goal is to create a society based on equality, social and gender justice and rule of law. It seeks to create an environment for accountability and transparency of governance institutions.
ASK was registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, Bangladesh under the Societies Registration Act, XXI in 1986, and with the NGO Affairs Bureau under Foreign Donation Regulation Ordinance, 1978 in 1993. It was accorded special consultative status with UNECOSOC in 1998.
ASK’s strategies for promotion and protection of human rights are carried out by 17 units and one component to create awareness, provide legal and social support, monitor institutional transparency, campaign and advocacy for law and policy reform.
Promoting Community Activism
In partnership with ten partner NGOs (PNGOs) and CBOs, ASK has trained and facilitated the formation of voluntary groups to monitor human rights, prevent their violation and protect victims in 40 unions in ten upazillas. Fifty-two school teams and 60 youth teams have learned to perform human rights theatre.
Legal and Social Support
Lawyers resolve disputes through mediation or litigation in ten legal aid clinics in Dhaka. An outreach programme has extended legal clinics in seven districts (Barisal, Bogra, Chittagong, Hobigonj, Rajshahi, Satkhira and Tangail) in partnership with seven local NGOs. Health and Education Support and Legal Protection is offered to working children at six sites in Dhaka and to domestic child workers at 38 sites.
Accountability of Public Institutions
News clips of legal and human rights violations are compiled from ten national newspapers. Fact finding investigations into incidents of HR violations are carried out by ASK staff and l by 15 local human rights defenders’ forums trained by ASK in 15 districts.
Advocacy for Law and Policy Reform
Research into human rights situation and on impact of laws and policies is disseminated in ASK’s quarterly Bulletins, books and pamphlets. Seven public Interest litigations were filed in coordination with several other human rights organisations; favourable judgments were obtained in three cases and the rest are awaiting hearing. Judgments have been pending in 45 PILs filed since 2000. Remedial steps were taken for extension of stay order, to maintain status quo, for direction for compliance with Court’s orders, issuing legal notices, etc.).
Enhancing Capabilities of Human Rights Defenders
ASK’s courses on legal and human rights aim to enhance capabilities of human rights’ defenders, increase community activism for justice, and encourage interventions to prevent violations and protect survivors.
These core programmes are supported by a consortium of six donors, and specific programmes by one donor.
ASK conducts its programmes outside Dhaka with 20 key partner NGOs and CBOs (Gender & Social Justice, Outreach and Child Rights Programme), 52 Schools (BNAD) and 15 Human Rights Defenders Forum (HRDF). (For details please refer to Annex II)
ASK is associated with eight national and ten international networks.
ASK is a membership organisation founded by nine individuals (4 women and 5 men, 3 deceased). It currently has 27 general members (17 women and 10 men)
Executive Committee members
9 (7 women and 2 men)
Units of ASK