ACCESSING PUBLIC SERVICES AND OBTAINING THEIR RIGHTS

We give the poor the means of obtaining the rights to which they are entitled.

 

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Accessing rights and justice

The poor in the remote communities often don’t know how to access the government institutions responsible for providing public services, nor do they have access to lawyers and courts who can help resolve disputes or ensure that justice is done. We point char dwellers in the right direction. Friendship helps them identify who should be contacted and which avenues of the administration or legal system should be taken so that justice can be sought. We do this both on a national level, and on a local level where we help implement the more “informal” justice system (known as « Shalish »).

Common issues we help resolve

Registration of births, Bangladesh (Helping the poor seek justice and obtain their rights)

Registration of births

We educate and sensitize the char people about the importance of birth registration. We also obtain birth registration forms from the local government offices, distribute them among the char communities and monitor their completion and return.

Registration of marriage, Bangladesh (Helping the poor seek justice and obtain their rights)

Registration of marriage

We help ensure marriages are officially registered on a community level by connecting both parties with the local legal official (« Kazi »).

Women with VG card, Bangladesh (Helping the poor seek justice and obtain their rights)

VGE cards

VGE cards are essential for the very poor to obtain the food and other aids to which they are entitled. We assist the often illiterate applicants with the registration process.

Distribution of Khas land, Bangladesh (Helping the poor seek justice and obtain their rights)

Khas land

Khas land is state-owned land which the government is entitled to lease or give away to citizens who do not own land. However the system of distribution of Khas land is inefficient and the rules are not always clearly understood. We help mediate in the process of the distribution and retention of Khas land, which can provide an extremely important source of livelihood for the very poor.

How we help citizens access their rights

Advocacy meetings

We organise meetings between char community representatives and government services to discuss issues of concern and how to resolve them.

Friendship Community Paralegals and Governance Aides

We train community members to act as Paralegals and Governance Aides. Resident within the community, they act as facilitators between parties in disputes and help identify solutions to basic instances of injustice. They help identify and contact the appropriate legal service providers. In more complex cases, the paralegals help bring forward the cases to lawyers for litigation in higher level advocacy courts.

Legal Booths

We establish legal booths in the chars, staffed by Paralegals and Governance Aides. They provide legal solutions and build links between the victim and the appropriate legal service provider. Our Paralegals maintain a mediation practice and advise char dwellers on how to handle legal or administrative problems. They also help community members solve problems without going to court.

Shalish

Our Paralegals help to implement the informal justice system (known as “Shalish”) that deals with social issues or family conflicts which are raised through Friendship’s Civil Society Groups or other community groups.

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