Legal Advocacy and Policy Reform Unit

Legal Advocacy and Policy Reform Unit

Legal Advocacy and Policy Reform Unit works to protect fundamental rights of the citizens of Bangladesh through Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The Unit also prepares drafts for enacting new laws and provides policy recommendations for legal reform.

The Unit monitors the domestic application of international instruments and observes implementation of positive judgments given by PILs. It has also taken programmes to introduce PIL at the district courts in order to protect the rights of the poor and vulnerable sections of the society. In that endeavor, it has been working to develop capacities of the District Court Lawyers to lodge PILs by using statutory laws.

In the late nineties, ASK realised that it would not be possible to work for human rights without bringing changes in the existing legal procedures, policies and legal structures of Bangladesh. At the same time ASK felt that, lack of accountability of the authorities, who are entitled to ensure human rights of the people through the implementation of existing laws, was another drawback. It also realised that, the changes need to be initiated from the higher level of the legal and judicial structures in order to bring positive results for a greater community and PIL could be an effective tool for achieving this goal. In that time, Public Interest Litigation was comparatively a new approach for the human rights activists of the country. ASK has started to use this approach since 1997. Within a very short period of time, its scope and significance have expanded greatly and thus the need of establishing a separate Unit to deal with the activities related to PIL has been felt.

The Unit established in 2000 to lead and coordinate the activities of ASK which are necessary to bring legal and institutional reforms, to ensure the accountability of GoB and public institutions and to use PIL in establishing people’s fundamental rights and human rights.

MAJOR ACTIVITIES

  • Conducting Research on HR violations to address it
  • Conducting training to develop the capacity of District Court Lawyers to file PIL in District Court on certain issues.
  • Filing and assisting with public interest litigations to secure fundamental rights and to ensure accountability of state authorities about their constitutional and legal duties
  • Drafting new law and reviewing existing laws and policies to ensure conformity with human rights and preparing recommendations for reform, amendment or repeal as necessary
  • Engaging in advocacy with state authorities and collaborating with other national and local NGOs to strengthen law and policy reform initiatives, including to seek compliance with the outcome of public interest litigation

In some cases the Unit files PIL in association with other like-minded national human rights organisations.

Legal Advocacy and Policy Reform Unit has achieved some significant directions or judgments from the High Court through PILs.

Some Major PILs of the Unit

Right to Life

  1. Right to Life and Equal Protection of Law – Crossfire Case, Writ Petition No. 4152 of 2009

Right to Shelter

  1. Madaripur Brothel case – Writ Petition No.  3841 of 2013
  2. Shahidertake Bosti Case, Writ Petition No. 974 of 2010
  3. Bahistaki Basti case, Writ Petition No. 4456 of 2009
  4. CNB Bosti case, Writ Petition No. 1167 of 2008
  5. Korail Bosti Case. Writ Petition No. 9763 of 2008
  6. Kalshi Bosti Case, Writ Petition No 3535/2004
  7. Noakhali Char Case, Writ Petition No. 5194/2004

Medical Negligence

  1. Intern Doctor’s Strike Case, Writ Petition No. 4319 of 2010
  2. Safe Blood Transfusion Case, Writ Petition No. 1360 of 2010
  3. Medical Negligence (Private Clinics) Case, Writ Petition No. 624/2006
  4. Medical Negligence (Kidneys removal) Case. Writ Petition No. 13627/2018

Worker’s Rights

  1. Rana Plaza Collapse Writ Petition No. 4390 of 2013
  2. Tazrin Fire Case – Writ Petition No.15693 of 2012
  3. Ship Breaking Yard Case, Writ Petition No. 7528 of 2009
  4. Migrant Worker Case, Writ Petition No. 6409 of 2008
  5. KTS Garments Case, Writ Petition No. 2019/2006
  6. Spectrum Garments Case, Writ PetitionNo.3566/2005
  7. Bidi Factory Case, Writ Petition No. 1234/2004

Rights of the Minorities

  1. Rights of the Minorities – Writ Petition No. 3561 of 2013
  2. CHT Case, Writ Petition No. 2813 of 2009.
  3. Garo Eviction case, Writ Petition No. 5412/2007
  4. Freedom of Expression, Non-discrimination, Equal Protection of Law -Ahmadiya Muslim Jamat Case, Writ Petition No. 7031/2004

Rights of the Persons with Disabilities

  1. Rights to equal opportunity of Disable Person, Writ Petition No. 2652 of 2008

Rights of the Prisoners

  1. Juvenile Prisoners’ case, Writ Petition No. 6373/2007.
  2. Under Trial Prisoners’ Case, Writ Petition No. 8216/2005
  3. Lunatic Prisoners’ Case, Writ Petition No- 4269/2005
  4. Prisoners’ Case, Writ Petition No. 1987/2005

Rights of the Women and Children

  1. Two finger test case, Writ Petition No. 10663 of 2013
  2. High Court Judgment on Extra-Judicial Penalties in the Name of ‘Fatwa’, WRIT PETITION NO. 5684,
  3. Corporal Punishment in the Educational Institutions WRIT PETITION NO. 5684, 2010

Others

  1. Equality before law- Scholar Home case Writ Petition No. 1257 of 2013
  2. Equal Opportunity of Employment – BCS Case, Writ Petition No. 2932 of 2010
  3. Suhrawardi Udyan case, Writ Petition No. 1859/2008
  4. Corporate Accountability, State Responsibility and Rights to Natural Resources – NIKO  Case, Writ Petition No- 6911/2005
  5. Arbitrary Arrest and Detention- Mass Arrest Case, Writ Petition No. 2192/2004
  6. Accountability and Transparency –  G.K. Project Case, Writ Petition No. 5495/2004