Advocacy and Networking

BLAST organises a number of advocacy meetings, workshops and seminars on a range of issues to not only facilitate changes in Bangladesh’s laws, but also increase discourse around issues of justice in Bangladesh. Issues tackled through such advocacy efforts include women’s access to justice in cases of violence, particularly domestic violence; access to protection against violence for religious and ethnic minorities; and safeguarding property rights for minority communities. These events aim both to address discriminatory laws and practices, activate existing laws and judgments, and seek law and policy reforms.

 

Legislative Advocacy
BLAST’s legislative advocacy activities have helped to facilitate changes in Bangladesh’s laws. Significant achievements include amendments to labour laws and to the Legal Aid Act, 2000. Changes to the labour laws lengthened the duration of maternity leave, increased minimum wages, mandated the provision of appointment letters to workers, and facilitated punishment for sexual harassment in the workplace. Changes to the Legal Services Act incorporated honorariums for arbitrators and mediators, increased honorariums for panel lawyers, and provided for legal aid committees at the Upazilla and Thana level. BLAST was also a key member of the drafting committee of the Coalition of Voices against Domestic Violence which resulted in the draft Domestic Violence (Protecion and Prevention) Bill. 

Networking
BLAST collaborates with partners among national human rights or legal services organisations to file PIL petitions. BLAST also organizes seminars about public interest litigation and advocacy and holds issue-based meetings with NGO representatives, judges, lawyers and the media. BLAST has forged regional links with prisoner’s rights organizations in Nepal, Pakistan and India to facilitate the repatriation of foreign nationals in Bangladeshi prisons and Bangladeshi nationals in foreign prisons.

 

BLAST is a member of local, national, regional and international networks and alliances on rights and legal aid. It is also part of informal networks with like-minded organisations, which come together on common issues of concerns. We collaborate with several Government ministries and agencies. Our colleagues volunteer at the Victim Support Centres of the Bangladesh Police in Dhaka, Rangamati and Rajshahi Districts. We have also entered into formal Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Victim Support Centres in 4 other districts (Khulna, Dinajpur, Rangpur and Sylhet). BLAST colleagues are part of the investigation panel of the National Human Rights Commission. We work closely in formal and informal networks with other organisations and coalitions both nationally and locally, including on documentation research, investigation, advocacy and public interest litigation.

 

BLAST, YMCA Development Center, 1/1 Pioneer Road, Kakrail, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh
BLAST would like to thank Sara Hossain, Jahangir Alam, Arafat Hosen Khan, Amanda Sen, Rokeya Chowdhury & Kazi Ataul-al Osman for content development
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