This year ASK completed 27 years as a human rights and legal aid organization. Established during a regime which marked its reputation as an era of autocracy, ASK’s motivation was to see that rule of law and democratic norms are respected in society and citizens have access to justice not only in case of violation but also in their real life experience of day to day living. It was also a commitment on the part of ASK to see that women enjoy full dignity and security in every sphere of their life. Gradually child rights advocacy, with a particular focus on working children at home or in the market – formal or informal, occupied a significant place in ASK’s programs. ASK used to be described by one of the founder members and the first executive director of the organization Barrister Salma Sobhan as a collective. Subsequently it grew organically into an institution with 17 units providing varied but interlinked services to meet the objectives set out in ASK’s Memorandum of Association. The organization has now earned its status as a relentless frontline advocate in the area of protection and promotion of women’s and human rights.
Responding to the feedback from all concerned, ASK has presented the 2012 Report in a different form than the previous ones. The report details the different strategies used by ASK over a continuum of time to promote and protect specific rights, and how it networks for greater solidarity. The chapters relate to Right to Life and Right to a Fair Trial, Right to Shelter, Worker’s Rights, Rights of Minorities, Violence against Women, In Defence of Children’s Rights.
This will provide readers an understanding of the deficits in human rights in Bangladesh, ASK’s responses,
the challenges faced by human rights defenders over the past years and the way forward. We hope this format will help our readers to see ASK in a broader and deeper perspective.
Sultana Kamal , Executive Director, Ain o Salish Kendra