LH is concern about the fact that governance is an overarching issue requiring adequate attention for sharing the benefits of socio-economic advancement of Bangladesh, among all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged communities. Justice and fairness, particularly for the poor and marginalized, is also an essential pre-requisite for distribution of the benefits of growth. Sustained notions of governance require improvement in reach of rule of law, accountability of public institutes to the people and active participation of the people in the decision making processes at all levels. Under this situation, this SP considers Governance and Justice as a sector, with an aim to promoting inclusive, transparent, accountable and effective democratic governance system & ensuring justice for all.
Considering the situation of the constituents, for reaching the above mentioned goal of the sector, LH identified five (5) major challenges i.e. i) citizen’s empowerment to participate and share in progress; ii) democratic representation and accountability; iii) access of the poor and disadvantaged group to justice; iv) stopping of human trafficking mainly women and children in neighboring countries and supporting the victims; and v) engagement of community in managing local law & order situation. Under this SP, LH will initiate the following strategic interventions for overcoming the above challenges.
- Encouraging potential women candidates and strengthening their capacities to participate at local government elections as candidates.
- Supporting local government institutions for making development agenda pro-poor, widening participation of the marginalized constituents (i.e. poor, women, sexual minority groups, socially excluded communities, ethnic minority communities, PWDs, and children) in decision making and ensuring that resources are directed to where they are most needed through increased allocative efficiency.
- Empowering the youth, sexual/ethnic minority groups by providing life skill and skill development training to ensure their participation in decision making process at respective locality and various institutions.
- Supporting free & fair elections and reducing the risk of election & post-election violence by engaging constituents in observation (i.e. Long-term Pre-Election observation, Short-term Election Day observation, and Post-Election Long Term observation) of Domestic Elections; raising awareness among the voters on voting process, responsive & accountable leadership, and on political violence; and by advocating for electoral reform while maintaining strict political neutrality and other conditions of the Code of Ethics of EWG.
- Sensitizing mass-media and democratic institutions for promoting greater accountability and integrity among the candidates and elected officials, women’s participation, the needs and interests of youth voters, and the rights and participation of sexual and ethnic minorities, PWDs, and residents of geographically remote areas.
- Promoting sustainable networks of civil society to reduce corruption at local level by strengthening practice of good governance and establishing social accountability mechanisms at appropriate levels.
- Raising awareness among the constituents on their right to information and supporting them in making best use of the Right to Information Act 2009 for obtaining required information from relevant authorities.
- Raising awareness among the constituents in rural areas and encouraging them to avail the village court mechanism to resolve disputes without resorting to formal justice institutions.
- Providing quality legal aid services, especially for the poor, women and marginalized, in collaboration with the National Legal Aid Services Organization (NLASO) and other various NGOs/NGO Networks.
- Strengthening, activating and promoting Village Court, Arbitration Council and Community Policing Forum (CPF), and legal aid committees at Union and Upazila levels.
- Raising mass awareness on Violence Against Women (VAW), relevant laws and procedures, and availability of relevant services from one-stop crisis centers and other public/NGO service centers.
- Supporting the acid survivors with psycho-social counseling and reintegration services; and strengthening the network of the Acid survivors to lead the process of asserting the rights of the victims of acid violence.
- Making best use of the provisions created through the Children Act of 2013 to protect children with regards to a wide range of potential exploitation and abuse such as child marriage, work, and issues with the justice system; through awareness raising, direct supports and alternative solutions to the core causes.
- Providing adequate assistance to and preventing workers from falling into the victim of human trafficking, by better identification of potential victims of human trafficking through fraudulent recruitment, and raising awareness among them on the pertinent issues.
- Repatriating the victims of human trafficking.
- Influencing legislature for: a) properly addressing the needs of the internal female migrants in terms of skills development, access to decent work and justice, through relevant sectorial policies; and b) establishing a separate tribunal for dealing with human trafficking cases.
- Facilitating open and informed dialogue between police and the community people in identifying common security issues and sharing views regarding their role and responsibilities and finding out strategies to work together for common interest and improved public security.
- Organizing youth volunteers from the community and strengthening their capacities for preventing violence in the locality.
- Promoting proactive attitudes of Bangladesh Police through training, motivation, publications and sensitization programs.
- Expanding and strengthening Community Policing Forum (CPF) to prevent child marriage, stop eve teasing & stop drug spot etc.
- Increasing civil society participation in and media coverage on CPF activities.
Influencing legislature for creating a legal basis for ADR building on the current legislation, to establish an extra tier of mediation under ADR.