Legal Empowerment Through Human Rights and Legal Education Course: Observations and Recommendations From Field Visits

This study was conducted in the context of Human Rights and Legal Education (HRLE) training in Rangpur and Gaibandha under a field-testing module. To extract data for understanding the module’s implications in the lives of ain shebikas (community paralegals) and learners, qualitative methods including interviews, group discussions and observations were applied. Data were collected in a short time to meet the program need for recovering the limitations of a field-testing module. The positive findings include ain shebika’s accessibility in rural community, bridging the gap between learners and law through the use of local vernacular and wisdom by the ain shebikas, inclusion of property rights and gender in the new curriculum, and adding field visits after the class, etc. In parallel, the concerning issues of the findings include not adding subjects like ‘fatwa’, eve-teasing, critical analysis of gender, and lack of duty-based approach in the HRLE module. The limitations also became grave in respect of deeply rooted cultural and religious practice versus women’s claims for rights, lack of economic empowerment and land ownership leading to disenfranchisement among women learners, and self-centred attitude in implementing the rights. Considering the limitations and risks, a broad range of recommendations are made including ideological issues – introducing a duty-based approach to rights, women’s independent identity as citizens, including male members in the class, as well as technical matters like using real-life experience in the lessons on state’s obligations, and using more clear pictures.

Authors: Naomi, Sharin Shajahan; Samadder, Mrinmoy
Type: Report
Year: 2012