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Monitoring Domestic Violence in Bangladesh | Workshop held by ASK and BLAST | 2 March 2013 »

March 28, 2013

On Saturday 2nd March 2013, ASK and BLAST facilitated a workshop bringing together experts including members of the judiciary, legal professionals, law enforcement officials, medical professionals and women’s rights advocates to engage in comprehensive stocktaking of the successes and challenges encountered in the enforcement of the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act (the Act) since its inception in 2010 till date. BLAST have provided an extensive report of what was discussed in the event.

I.                Objectives of Workshop

  • Detailed discussion/review on the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 and its application.
  • To identify nature of the cases instituted recently under this Act and to allocate methods/ measures to observe the upcoming cases.
  • To identify the practical and evident obstacles or problems that the Judges, legal practitioners, polices and victims face during the prosecution of these cases.
  • To prepare definite and realistic recommendation while aiming at the law enforcement agencies or relevant government agencies.

On the 2nd March of 2013, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) jointly organized National Workshop on “Two years of The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act- 2010 in way of safe and fearless life” at LGED auditorium, Agargaon.

The respective workshop was moderated by the National Co-ordiantor Jinat Ara Haque of Nari Moitree, ‘We Can’, Campaign.  The Chairperson for the first and second sessions was the Honourable High Court Division Judge of the Supreme Court, Krishna Debnath and in the concluding session was chaired by the Executive Director Sultana Kamal of ASK. Mr. Mirza Hossain Hyder, the Honorable Judge of High Court Division of Supreme Court, was the Chief Guest.

In this workshop a full audit was done on certain information such as: the number of domestic violence cases, description of the events, and role of the police, how the cases were disposed and what sort of penalty was given. Apart from that in order to audit the court order and directions other factors such as orders on duration, child guardianship, family environment (home) of the  accused person, children’s school, the scope of accused visiting the victims workplace, financial support, fulfilment of responsibility of maintenance and giving opportunity to children’s overall development etc. were recommended to be considered.

Participants

Total of 123 people participated in the workshop, on whom 63 persons were male and 60 were female. At this workshop there was one government representative, one private/ non government representative, 66 NGO representatives, 11 news reporters, 4judges and magistrates, 20 legal practitioners, 9 enforcements officers, 1 aggrieved person and 1 from other professional were present ( Attachment 1 of Participants Lists ).

Relevant Act

According to section 3 of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, domestic violence means physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or economic abuse against a woman or a child of a family by any other person of that family with who the victim is, or has been, in family relationship. Under section 4, 5, 6 of the same Act it is mentioned that, after receiving a complaint of domestic violence, a police officer, enforcement officer or service providing person or authority will inform the victim about the availability of medical and other services including legal services. Further this Act empowers the Judicial Magistrates to give interim orders such as, protection order for the domestic violence victims for continuous protection under section 14, residence order under section 15, compensation order under section 16 and safe custody order under section 17.

II.          Introduction

The welcome speech was given by Adv. Sara Hossain, Honorary Executive Director of BLAST. She briefly discussed the objective and brief background of the workshop and on the experiences and challenges of the application of the Domestic violence (Prevention and Detention) Act 2010.

Advocate Nina Goswami (Senior Deputy Director, Legal Aid Unit, ASK) briefly presented on the content of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 with the help of visual presentation (Attachment-2).

Advocate Borkot Ali (Assistant Director, Legal, BLAST) and Taposhi Rabeya (Assistant Coordinator, Salish, BLAST) presented on the nature of the cases, nature and scale of the violence, legal analysis of the cases and the problem that the legal practitioners faced in conducting the cases brought under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 till date (Background paper-1, Attachment-3). Through visual presentation they presented an outline of this Act, Background, analysis of the cases filed by BLAST, position of the applicants in these cases (Gender, Age, Geographical location of this cases), the position of opposite parties in these cases, (relation, nature of the violence). They also illustrated the nature of the court procedures and recommended remedies. Advocate Borkot Ali said that the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010 is a great step in preventing all forms of violence against women. However, proper implementation of this Act is not done. Since the passing the Act, there have been fewer cases in the second year than the first – this is evidence of the lack of knowledge of this law. As to the reasons why the law is not fully implemented, Advocate Borkot Ali mentioned infrastructural insufficiency, lack of knowledge of this law and unavailability of shelters.

Advocate Salma Jabin (Deputy Director, ASK) briefly did a visual presentation on the cases related to domestic violence under other Acts, such as, Nari O Shishu Nirjaton O Domon Ain- 2000 (Amended 2003) (Attachment-4). In the presentation four case studies were presented in order to show the benefits the complainant would have had if the case had been filed under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010. For example, the candidate asking for remedy could have gotten an order of compensation, order of residence, order of maintenance for both the wife and the children and/or order of protection from the court. Unfortunately, victims who are filing domestic violence cases under Dowry Act have to go to the Family Courts for their maintenance. She also added that victims who are filing under laws other than the DV Act   are not getting benefits due to the delays in the High Court Division.

1.  1. First Session

In the question answer part, questions arose regarding Hindu women’s right to property, who can submit an application for person who is a victim of domestic violence and where they can go for assistance? Advocate Nina Goswami, Senior Deputy Director of ASK, Advocate Borkot Ali, Assistant Director, Legal, BLAST, Advocate Salma Jabin, Deputy Director of ASK, and Taposhi Rabeya, Assistant Coordinator of BLAST, Mediation took part in this discussion.

The responses from the panel were

i)                  That the property a Hindu woman gets at the time of wedding from her father’s side is her own. She does not have to forfeit it if she files a case.

ii)                A victim of violence file an application herself or any person can do so on her behalf. Proceedings are done under the Code of Criminal Procedure; however, remedy will be given under Code of Civil Procedure.

In the discussion on where the victim of the offence through his own application can go for assistance, it was said that the victim can go to the nearest support providing organization. Such as:

·         Police officer of the nearest police station

·         Service providing organization

·         Any enforcement officer

·         Judicial Magistrate

The above mentioned organization shall send the victim to any retreat centre as soon as getting any complaints.

In the response to the question answer session Taposhi Rabeya said that, the purpose of enacting this law is to prevent domestic violence nationally.

Acceptability of this act is questioned by the learned judges as there is no prescribed rule. Apart from BLAST, ASL and BNWLA no other NGOs have filed cases under this Act. A few lawyers did file a DV case but did so personally. Amongst those cases filed, the aggressor is not always a man.  BLAST dealt with a case where a mother in law filed a case against her daughter in law. Previously, domestic violence was visualized as personal or family related matter. Hence, despite witnessing a woman becoming victim of violence nobody would speak of it. After the establishment of the family courts this issue is no longer visualized as family or personal matter, it is now seen as social and national matter. A person becoming victim of domestic violence can get relief through family courts. They can file cases in the court. But the main barrier in way of filing a case is the absence of prescribed rules on the matter of domestic violence. While showing statistics on cases of domestic violence, the panellist said that the number of cases filed under the DV Act is highest in Noakhali district. 20 cases out of 28 cases conducted by BLAST are from Noakhali district.  The women victims were persecuted by 25-60 years old males. 

Advocate Borkot Ali said, according to this Act the judicial proceeding should be completed within 90 working days. But more than that time is taken. The Problem is due to the absence of any rules. The majority cases on domestic violence received by BLAST were women.  27 applications of 28 complainants were women. Some filed complaints against their husband, grandson filing against grandfather, mother in law filing against daughter in law, some filed against brother in law and some filed against his/her brother. Adv. Borkot Ali said women became victim of three main types of violence/persecution; physical, mental and economic violence. In every case it is seen that after physical violence the economic rights of the victim are taken away. Moreover, in cases between brother and sister, it is at first an abuse of economic rights which escalates into physical violence. Applicants according to their wish can institute a case in the Metropolitan magistrate or judicial magistrate court having jurisdiction to entertain the case of the district where s/he resides or where opposite party resides, the place of occurrence or where applicant temporarily resides. An appeal against the order of Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate can be made to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate court by the aggrieved party.

The questions that were raised in the discussion section were:

How to combine/integrate co ordinate the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2010 with other laws; whether the training given to the enforcement officers is sufficient; what sort of orders is being received; what can be done to better implement the law; what can be done in the initial enforcements stage of the Act i.e. whether proof of marriage is needed; whether enforcement officer can do the mediation or give interim order for protection; what is the probability of getting remedy through appeal to the judicial court; whether police will fulfil any direct duty; what method can be used to measure mental violence; whether any proof is required to file a case; whether a case can be disposed without courts permission; in defining of section 3 subsection 1 of the Domestic Violence Act matter related to the interference in education is not mentioned- how this matter can be mitigated; whether a list of gifts given at the time of marriage can be made etc.

On the discussion, in relation to this matter it was stated that as interim order of protection is given instantly hence, the proof of marriage is not required and nothing can be done without the permission of the court. For the judicial court it was said that, according to section 21, the judicial court is the Metropolitan Magistrate (MM)/ Judicial Magistrate Judicial Magistrate (JM). Appeal Court is the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM)/ Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM). On many occasions if a case is filed in CJM/CMM court than it has to be requested to the judge to transfer the case in MM/JM court as appeal has to be made before his court. On the discussion on duties of police it was said that in initial stage police has no such duty. However, if needed the police can arrest anyone who does not abide an order of the DV Act. It was said in the discussion that after filing a suit if they want any settlement, settlement outside the court cannot be done. In this type of cases there is no scope of mediation. Mr. Khalilur Rahman, Unit Coordinator, Barishal added, the words education and service should be collaborated included into the law. Apart from that, the measurement of mental violence is a tough job. It is very difficult to measure.

1.2  Second Session

In the second session, Kolpona Rani Biswas (Team Leader, Seema Prokolpo, Care) facilitated a panel discussion on how to increase monitoring in DV/ Domestic violence cases. The participants of this discussion were Mr. Haroon-or-Roshid (Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka), RamjanAra (District Women Affairs Officer, Dhaka), Muminnesa Shikha (Victim Support Specialist, PRP, UNDP) and Advocate Tabassum Mokhduma (Advocate and Project Assistant, IOM). In this discussion the speakers gave special emphasis on formulation of the rules. For example, rules regarding proof of marriage, the duty of the police officer to serve notice speedily, apathy of courts to take cases relating to women and children, coordination of enforcement officers and other support officers, national monitoring committee, case management committee and database creation. During the discussion, Mominunnesa shikha said, there are 6 victim support centres outside Dhaka where a victim can get legal assistance.      

1.3. Group Discussions

Following the group discussion the participants divided into working groups. Dr. Faustina Pereira, Director, Human Rights and Legal Aid Program, BRAC was the facilitator of the group discussion of group-1 whose topic was the sort of measures can be taken in functional management or proper judicial enforcement of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010’. Advocate Nina Goswami, Senior Deputy Director, Legal Aid Unit, ASK was the facilitator of the group-2’s whose topic was ‘what arrangements can be made to get reporting and investigation statement from enforcement officers’

Mominnusa Shikha, Victim Support Specialist, PRP, UNDP was the facilitator of group 3’s group discussion,‘ the possible arrangements that can put into effect to give enforcement officer police co-operation’. And Rita Das Roy, member, Naripokkho was the facilitator of group-4 whose topic was ‘the services an aggrieved party should be entitled to’.

On the above group discussion, Justice Krishna Debnath said that there is no need to keep ADR in the Protection Act. In matters of DV, the will of the parties is the main issue. First they have to know the law before asking for a remedy. The aggrieved party’s desire is the main issue. Enforcement organizations work is to simply enforce the law.

1.4. Afternoon Session

After the afternoons interval Advocate Chonchol Mukharji (Project Officer, IRSOP, GIZ presented the rules of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act-2010. He said, an aggrieved party can make a complaint through mobile, telephone or email. He presented some sample forms to lodge complaint. He named them as K,L,M,N,O,P,Q,R,S, Ges S-1,S-2 I S-3. He presented sample rules of ‘Nari O Violence Act, 2012’ and its different sides and he also discussed the duties of service providing organization and police. Besides the duties and responsibilities of the enforcement officers prescribed in the rules he also presented the recommendation of additional duties and responsibilities directed by the court.

1.5. Final Session

 In the later part of the workshop Dr. Abul Hossain (Deputy Secretary and Project Director, Multisectoral Project on VAW,MOWCA) discussed on the steps taken by the Government to properly implement the law. He said, the work for publishing the rule of Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act is almost complete and in a very short period of time it will be published in the form of a gazette. He also mentioned that the government’s budget limitation in this sector was the main impediment behind the lack of proper enforcement of the law.

In the concluding session of the workshop, Chief Guest Mr. Mirza Hossain Hyder, Honorable Justice of High Court Division of Supreme Court of Bangladesh said:

“Nowadays, lawyers prolong the cases for their financial gain. If lawyers do not unnecessary prolong the cases than the number of cases can be reduced rapidly. If cases are filed without making the rules and if it is challenged in higher court then the case will not sustain there. Hence, it is important to formulate the rules”.

The chairperson, Sultana Kamal, Executive Director of ASK said:

 “Domestic Violence was never acknowledged. Violence against women is not a recent phenomenon. For a very long time we refused to acknowledge domestic violence as offence, hence, women had to endure the pain silently”.  She also said,

 “Women think about her own security and protection.  No one can realize the mental obstacle a women faces for always being in uncertainty”.

IV             RECOMMENDATIONS

Following recommendations were collected from different discussions of the sessions and group discussions throughout the whole day.

From the legal and judicial perspective

  • It is necessary to take measures for monitoring current court cases.
  • Consideration is needed on whether any other person can help besides lawyers in the work of monitoring cases.
  • Monitoring needs to be increased for the implementation of the law.
  • Steps should be taken for the proper use of the law.
  • Proper and effective use of Domestic Violence (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2010.
  • Interim orders should be given on the basis of certain evidential proof.
  • Only women and children are considered within the purview of this Act. Retired and elderly men should also be considered under this Act.
  • Review and Revision should be included.
  • Specific direction should be given for Review and Revision.
  • It should be considered whether the Act can be made non-bailable or not.
  • There should be a provision of giving Affidavit in case of the necessity to prove marriage or relation with applicant and with questions arising about any concerned parties involved in the case.
  • In these cases, speedy service of notice to the opposite part should be ensured.
  • Rules should be enacted in short time.
  • Besides CGM or CMM if a case is brought before any other Judicial Magistrate or Metropolitan Magistrate having jurisdiction the complaint should be taken into cognizance primarily.
  • It should be mentioned with specific description that in case of physical violence, the matter can be decided by the Penal Code and in other relevant law.
  • The social and economic issue which is connected to the violence should be considered.
  • Court should play more affirmative role on giving protection and interim protection order.
  • Safe custody and compensation should be given.
  • A copy of the order should be available without any cost.
  • Overall if a case is filed without enacting the rule and if it is challenged in a higher court than the case is not maintainable. Hence, enacting the rules is important.
  • Women’s education and right of livelihood can be added in the Kha (E) of the definition clause of this Act.
  • Through specific direction proper steps can be taken to identify the nature and degree of mental violence.
  • To get justice service in a private room.
  • Right of the child to live with her mother should be ensured.

For the Police

  • Practical knowledge of the police needs to be enriched.
  • As the offence is cognizable in nature the Police should have the authority to take cognizance.
  • Investigation report needs to be made under the direction of the Court and it must be done to such extent as the court directs.
  • The victim of the domestic violence needs to be informed about the assistance of the enforcement officer after the incident takes place.
  • Enforcement officer should help the victim of the violence with his consent by giving shelter.
  • After seeking remedy for the aggrieved party, police will refer the matter to the enforcement officer.
  • Police assistance should be given to the enforcement officer.
  • Security should be provided to the victim at her workplace and educational institution.
  • Victim’s personal property should be protected.
  • Security should be provided to the abettor of the aggrieved party.

For enforcement officer and voluntary service providing institution

  • Concerned police station needs to be informed about the position of the victim;
  • Concerned police station and the court needs to be informed (if necessary) if the victim is sent for health check up;
  • The court needs to be assisted for calculating the actual damage caused to the victim through data collection;
  • The court needs to be assisted for calculating recovery of the damage through data collection;
  • The practical knowledge of the enforcement officer needs to be enriched;
  • To assist in the establishment of treatment facilities;
  • Enforcement officers because of their pivotal role as per the DV Act need to play vital role in managing their co-officers;
  • Nature and class of the enforcement officers needs to be specific;
  • Victim by his/her own application needs to be sent to the shelter;
  • Right of treatment facilities need to be ensured;
  • Accommodation (Own or rent house);
  • To bring all his personal goods;
  • Protection in workplace and educational institution;
  • Communication and security;
  • Right of treatment facilities;
  • Safe custody and compensation;
  • Security for the personal assets;
  • Maintenance;
  • Getting government and non-government facilities in own upazilla.

Facilities for Awareness and Training

  • Dissemination of information about the law needs to be spread out.
  • Sub-centre needs to be established in the upazilla as the most beneficiaries are economically challenged and may also be illiterate thus making the trip to the district office a great challenge.
  • To talk about the character of the girls need to be prohibited.
  • The judge should understand whether women are underestimated in any steps or proceedings.
  • Awareness about this law needs to be increased among the judges. Therefore, the awareness programme needs to be undertaken.
  • Domestic Violence Act needs to be spread among the mass by through district based programmes.
  • Judicial Magistrate, Metropolitan Magistrate and other institutions need to increase the awareness programme with the help of the NGOs.
  • Training should be given to the Judges, enforcement officers and concerned persons.
  • By amending the draft of the regulation it need to be sent to MOWCA
  • To increase the awareness amongst the masses, seminars need to be organized in district and upazilla levels.
  • It should be notified in every seminar of the Union Parishad.
  • To increase the dissemination of this law, gazette may be supplied to the concerned persons.

Infrastructure

  • There should be a sub centre in different area of women’s affair departments.
  • National monitoring committee should be formed.
  • A case management committee needs to form at national level in order to monitor cases of survivors.
  • For effective monitoring of these cases a database can be created. In case management, organization and in important case related matters arrangement can be made through national management.
  • In the future budget a separate budget can be made for the women.
  • Enforcement officer can be appointed by the NGO.
  • Separate investigation cell can be made.

 

Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of the meeting and Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra and thanked everyone and concluded the workshop.







Three Day Human Rights Theatre Festival 14-16 March 2013 | Report in Pictures »

March 27, 2013

  “Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling – their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” Arundhati Roy

Three Day Human Rights Theatre Festival 14-16 March 2013 | Report in Pictures

Day 1

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14 March 2013,  Rabindra Sarabor, Dhanmondi 

Inauguration ceremony in the Gracious Presence of :

Professor Serajul Islam Choudhary Eminent Litterateur

Motahar Akand - General Secretary - Manobadhikar Nattar Parishad (MNP) - Human Rights Theatre Council, Mannan Hira - Script Writer, Director and Actor, Kamal Lohani - President of MNP








[Pictures]  MNP Members singing National anthem in opening ceremony and Motahar Akhand Acting General Secretary of MNP giving an opening speech.

Kamal Lohani strokes the seven colours to start the ceremony.

 

MNP from Tangail present their drama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pidim Theatre Group perform their drama            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of First Night with production by Jahangirnagar Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

MNP from Sirajgonj perform on the first night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 2

Rally held at Shahid Minar to inaugurate the ceremony,

 

 

 

 

[Picture on Left]  After the Rally, human chain by MNP Members to punish War Criminals.

 

 

The MNP from Netrakona presented the ‘’Jatra'’ form of drama in their festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaibanda MNP Performed on the second day of the festival                      






 

 


Day 3

The final day of the festival gathers a pleasant audience. The Ceremony begins with celebrating and rewarding the work of four eminent citizens who have dedicated their lives to the Bengali identity in different ways.  Motahar Akhand says in his introduction, ‘’we should learn how to be as people from the works and inspiration in the essence of what these outstanding individuals have stood for. They demonstrate how it is each citizen has the responsibility to help society'’.

The Three Award Winners


Protibha Mutsuddi –  Language heroine, Educationalist, an icon

of women’s empowerment, Click Link to listen to a podcast of her recent interview with BBC Bangla on the Language movement

Ajit MondalWorked in Joypurhat for the development of youth theatre and cultural sector. During the liberation war, he performed plays in India to collect funds for the refugees.

Mamuner RashidTheatre Actor and Director and also part of the talented  Aaronok theatre group

Sultana Kamal - Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra and Kamal Lohani presented the awards.

Murtaja Basheer – Artist, poet, short story writer, novelist, researcher and film maker.

In the Break time, Nirjhor Adhikari creates a beautiful moment with his flute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bot-tala theatre group performed ‘’Jotugriho'’

Jhinaydoho MNP performed a drama with only one chair

Nattodhara performed their drama about Rope ‘’Dhori'’.

Prachyanat performed ‘’Lasher Desh'’ ‘’ Land of the dead'’.

Shopnodda theatre group presented their drama ‘’Shadinatar Sangram'’ (Struggle of freedom).

Training Course Details at Psycho Social Counseling Unit | February 2013 »

February 17, 2013

There are three courses which will be available. Please Click on the relevant course for course invitation, outline and applications.

The Trainer will be Ms P K Saru from Asha Counselling and Training Services, her resume can be seen by clicking the link.


 


 

Child Rights Unit | Events »

February 3, 2013

Child Rights Unit ''Day Off'' at Shishu Park | 5th December 2012 »

December 10, 2012

Sultana Kamal Joins the Child Rights Unit in their Annual Event | November 2012

The Childs right unit in Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) organised an event on Wednesday, the 5th December for approximately 400 Children from the 12 different ASK Drop- In- Centre all over Dhaka. These Centres are run by ASK and offer education, classes, health services and legal protection to working children in full and half time jobs such as shop assistants, domestic workers, street sellers, paper bag production etc. 

In the company of all their teachers and social workers ASK gives them a day off and allows them to play and have fun according to their age groups. As a special guest, Sultana Kamal arrived after breakfast and released the ASK banner up into the air together with the children to communicate their message out into the City.

Afterwards the children passed their day  running competitions and other games. At the end of a day a cheerful atmosphere was in the air and the children are performing different acts, like singing and dancing.

“I was one of them-“says Rahmat, 23 Years old, with a smile on his face. “I first went to the Drop-In-Centre at the age of 7 and now I am an administration Intern at ASK.” His story gives hope to all of these children, who are the most vulnerable members of the already marginalized people in Dhaka.

Written by Visiting Volunteer : Michelle Pene Nelz