ASK provides legal services to the vulnerable and marginalised, in particular women, children and workers, as well victims of violence by state and non-state agents. It provides legal advice, undertakes mediation and litigation and supplementary support services, such as emergency temporary shelter and psycho-social help. It also responds to incidents of abuse, for example by taking steps to rescue or release victims and sending urgent communications to the concerned authorities to take prompt actions for redress.
ASK provides legal services through the Litigation Unit, the Rapid Response and Mediation Unit and the Outreach Unit, each being staffed by lawyers, field workers and their assistants.
ASK provides free legal advice to any person who approaches ASK, either in person at its main Purana Paltan office or in legal clinics located across Dhaka city, or by phone or email. If the person falls within the criteria for receiving legal representation, ASK proceeds to provide further support, and alternatively advises that a lawyer be engaged by the person concerned. ASK fieldworkers accompany clients to police stations, the Marriage Registrar’s (Kazi’s) offices and the courts, as and when needed.
ASK also intervenes in certain cases on its own based on information published in the newspapers or received from different institutions.
Contact: Rapid Response and Mediation Unit, ASK: Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 120,140), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In emergency cases ASK’s Rapid Response mechanism enables it to respond to human rights violations reported in the media or referred by individuals and organizations through interventions with the concerned authorities.
Contact: Rapid Response and Mediation Unit, ASK: Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 120,140) E-mail: email@example.com
ASK emphasizes dispute resolution through mediation in all appropriate cases, prior to litigation. After registering the client’s complaint, it notifies the other party in writing of the complaint and calls them for mediation. On receiving a response, it arranges one or more mediation hearings at which the staff lawyer, the complainant and the opposite party discuss the dispute. If no response is received to the written notice, the ASK field worker will make a personal visit to the other party to explain the matter and request them to take part in the mediation.
Where a settlement is reached, ASK continues to liaise with the client for six months to monitor and follow up on the settlement.
Contact: Rapid Response and Mediation Unit, ASK; Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 120,140), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In cases amenable to mediation, if no settlement is reached and the mediation fails, ASK may provide legal representation to the client to seek a remedy through litigation in the court.
In cases which cannot be mediated, for example complaints of violence, including rape, murder, possession of arms and explosives, and cases involving infringement of fundamental rights, ASK may provide legal advice and representation for remedies to be sought through litigation.
Contact: Litigation Unit, ASK: Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 115,155), E-mail: email@example.com
Through the Outreach Programe, ASK currently provides legal aid beyond Dhaka to several districts (Borishal, Chittagong and Hobigonj) in collaboration with partner NGOs and through panel lawyers who attend legal clinics in urban areas. The Outreach programme also undertakes
- Trainings for panel lawyers on legal and human rights issues and on human rights lawyering
- Workshops with local Bar Association members on legal aid
- Workshops with members of the local administration including police officials, district commissioners, judges, magistrates, public prosecutors, journalists on local human rights issues and on legal matters.
Contact: Outreach Unit, ASK: Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 114,156) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASK provides its clients with emergency temporary shelter, medical, economic, and psychological support to supplement its legal services. These include
• Temporary Shelter: ASK runs a temporary shelter called the Halfway Home, which can house a maximum of ten women and a few children. Women victims/survivors of violence with serious safety and security concerns are provided temporary shelter at the halfway home for a maximum period of six months, and for more extended periods through referrals to other shelter homes.
The Home provides, primary health care, basic literacy and vocational training and recreational facilities and support in identifying and pursuing employment opportunities.
Contact: Emergency Support Service Unit, ASK: Phone: +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 128,156) E-mail: email@example.com
• Psycho-social Counselling: Introduced in 2003, the Psycho-Social Help Programme addresses the needs of victims/survivors of violence, abuse and human rights violations for psycho-social support. ASK’s counselors attend to clients referred by the Legal Aid Unit, in particular those who have suffered sexual, physical or psychological abuse. They also organize orientation training on psychosocial counseling for NGO activists, human rights defenders, health care professionals among others. ASK has developed a code of ethics for counseling.
Contact: Emergency Support Service Unit, ASK: Phone; +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext – 154,156) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASK fieldworkers organize seven weekly legal clinics across Dhaka City in collaboration with local NGOs at which staff lawyers from the main office attend to advise clients, and where required, make referrals to the main office for mediation or litigation. Regular Client Workshops are held in the clinics to inform clients about the progress of their cases and to enable them to discuss any obstacles faced.
Contact: Rapid Response and Mediation Unit / Emergency Support service Unit, ASK: Phone; +88 (02) 8126134, 8126137, 8126047 (ext–120,140,128,156); E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org