BIHR`s approach to legal aid is a community-centered: it works with different grassroots organizations, including peasant and farmer groups, industrial laborers and factory workers,small fishermen, women, children, minorities, urban poor and rural journalists. In its casework, BIHR assists in cases of cruelty to women, children, minorities, torture, organized violence and gross violation of human rights. BIHR`s programs and services include: (i) Legal Research: compiling, systematizing and monitoring laws, policies, pronouncements and other official acts which fall within BIHR`s areas of concern; (ii) a Paralegal Training Program; (iii) Legislative and Policy Reforms: helping grassroots organizations formulate and draft position papers, propose legislation and implement guidelines and bringing them to the attention of appropriate government authorities; (iv) Press-Pressure and Urgent Action: which involves generating publicity in different media about incidents of human rights violations, and letters of appeal to relevant agencies; (v) Fact-Finding missions to document human rights violations; and (vi) Legal Literacy: publication of handbooks and a training manual on human rights.
BIHR provides legal assistance being sympathetic and perceiving feelings by legal counsel and direct legal aid through releasing bay bail, file case against perpetrators, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and. It’s target group the people who do not have access to justice due to their poor economic condition and lack of knowledge.
DIRECT LEGAL AID:
The direct law support to victims is one of the important visible and sustainable activities by releasing the victims from jail/custody, filing case against perpetrators and also Public Interest Litigation (PIL) to promote and protect human rights of the people. BIHR is only one organization in Bangladesh who provides direct legal aid to file case against Law Enforcing Agencies (LEA).
BIHR provides legal counseling to the victim of violation by integrated legal awareness program among the victims coming to the centre. The legal expert provides information about existing legislation and rights given in our constitution and international human rights instrument regarding to make a victim empowered.
FACT-FINDING AND INVESTIGATION:
BIHR observes the procedures to find the true torture victims and violation of human rights having verified through fact-finding process. Fact-finding helps to build a communication and an impartial report for the well being of the victims as well as to the justice as a document. Fact-finding is a process of verifying the allegations of torture and human rights violation whether the allegations are true or false. BIHR prepares impartial report by conducting fact finding mission and disseminate it to concerned authority.
Urgent Appeal Program is an important human rights tool and form the core of the advocacy program of BIHR. It issues urgent appeal in national and international level by post fax and email on basis of fact finding report with the objective of disseminating timely and accurate information about individual incidents of human rights violation to as wide an audience as possible, thereby building international as well as local awareness and pressure towards their resolution.
TRAINING, SEMINAR AND WORK SHOP:
BIHR always gives due importance of its staff capacity to cope with critical complains of the victims of human rights violation. Moreover for creating social resistance against human rights violations, BIHR conducts training, seminar and workshop among different professionals, students, survivors and its staff on human rights, good governance, peace, democracy and legal empowerment. It also launches diploma course on health and human rights, torture and human rights, TOT program for student of Indigenous people, community health workers and assistance etc.
LOBBYING, CAMPAIGN & ADVOCACY:
Lobbying for the removal of reservation of article 14 of the Convention against torture (CAT), articles 14, paragraphs 1 and 21 of CRC, art. 2 and art. 16 (1) (c) of CEDAW, ratification of the optional protocol of the CAT (OPCAT), Implementation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Declaration on human rights defender is an ongoing Challenge of BIHR. The BIHR takes opportunity to conduct lobbying with government high authorities and diplomatic mission and also exchange views with professionals on these issues all over the country. It also continues awareness program through observances of significant days as 26th June : UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 8th March: International Women’s Day, 10th October: World Mental health Day, 9th August: International Indigenous People Day, 10th December: World Human Rights Day, 1st May: May Day, 5th June: World Environment Day, by conducting signature campaign, organized human chain, rally, view exchange and roundtable meeting on deferent specific issues
Door to Door campaign against Torture is a village level anti torture and human rights campaign empowerment campaign initiated by BIHR. The DDCAT is an extremely unique and effective means of spreading human rights awareness. It is a slogan that combines element of the constitution, the international human rights instruments, existing laws, the quaran and hadis to provide a massage of how torture is prohibited by all these laws and what is the true responsibility of the law enforcing agencies.
One of the important and vital activities of BIHR is research through constant monitoring of human rights situation in Bangladesh which BIHR publish disseminate through publication the “State of Human Rights”. It also publishes the report on monthly, quarterly and half-yearly basis to motivate the Govt. authority to take necessary action against the perpetrators and to create public opinion against human rights violation. Beside this, BIHR conducted research on “Prison in Bangladesh: Need for Comprehensive Approach”, “Victim Associations: Promoting Social Rehabilitation of the State Sponsored Torture Victims”, “Effectiveness of TFT: Combating Torture in Community Level”, “Prevention Begins at Home: The Door to Door Campaign against Torture: Past, Present and Future”, Broken Promises: The State Reparation for Torture Victim”
BIHR runs a documentation centre focusing on gathering data of human rights abuses from secondary sources, mainly local and national newspaper, and publishing the results of their findings in the human rights situation report of Bangladesh. At least 12 national newspapers, a number of local publications and news websites are screened daily for reports on human rights abusage and the article are clipped out and past into binders containing hundred of clippings. The information is transferred in to a computer database in the library of BIHR. It’s also collect information from its direct source as like as TFT, VAs and Network members, fact finding team and victims themselves. There are several categories of documentation:
v Death, rape and torture by law enforcing agencies
v Violence against journalist and human rights defender
v Impunity of law enforcing agencies
v Violence against women and children
v Dowry related domestic violence
v Organized violence by political party
v Repression on ethnic and religious minority
v Abuse of National security laws
v Verdict and execution of death sentence
v Violence against law enforcing agencies
v Human Rights situation in CHT
v Border conflict
v Acid violation
v Custodial death
BIHR using newsletter as weapon against human rights violation and also for the dissemination of knowledge and sharing of experience relating to human rights violation among the readers. BIHR publishes a monthly bangla newsletter “Manobadhikar Aunusondhani” and the quarterly English language newsletter “Article 14”, monthly, quarterly, half yearly and annually human rights situation report and its annual report regularly. In addition of these, it publishes leaflet, poster, sticker, handbill, research papers and books occasionally. The following are few publications of BIHR:
v Broken Promises: The State Reparation for Torture Victims
v Prevention Begins at Home: The Door to Door Campaign against Torture: Past, Present and Future
v Health and human Rights
v Prison in Bangladesh: Need for Comprehensive Approach
v Status of Cases Filed against police-Few cases Study
v Theatre and Drama to development of Human Rights
v Psycho Education
To ensure good governance is one of the most focuses of BIHR. It believes that ensuring good governance is impossible with our protecting human rights and vice versa. BIHR organized seminars, symposiums, view exchanges, signature campaigns, and discussions to promote the issue of good governance in Bangladesh.
Prevention should be invoked first before get it cures because ‘prevention is better than cure’. BIHR organizs a unique process as preventive program against anti-human right activities specially torture by the law enforcing agencies as TFT and VA.
TASK FORCE AGAINST TORTURE:
TFT is a preventive program innovated by BIHR. TFT is a unique model to ensure participation of community’s people in the process of preventive action against torture. TFT is now working as a very useful prevention and awareness strategy and extensively linked to publicity and promotion of the organizational activity 32 district in Bangladesh.
BIHR works with the aim to completely rehabilitate victims of torture and other human rights violation and in doing so, it strongly believes that for full recovery, the victims in common area must band together to assist one another emotionally and economically as well as raise awareness about torture and human rights abuses in their own rural communities. This is accomplished through Victim’s Associations (VA’s) and can therefore be thought of as a preventative measure as well as a curative one. 46 victims association of BIHR in deferent 10 districts under Khulna division continues effectively to protect and promote human rights in their community.
BIHR maintains a close relationship and cooperation with other human rights organizations, local foreign embassy, different professionals and individuals in national and international level for getting supports for the prevention of human rights violation. To maintain constant relation and cooperation, it meets local Lawyers association, Doctors association, NGO leaders, Journalists association and other professionals. BIHR also works with other international organization like OMCT- SOS Torture network, Amnesty International-London, Human Rights Watch-New York, CPJ, IFJ, GHRD- Netherlands, AHRC- Hong Kong, IFEX, ACHR-India, CHRI India, Hotline Asia, difference embassy and UN human rights boy etc.
BIHR develops a hotline for receiving information of human rights violations quickly through TFTs, network members, victims and members of their family or any other person. This is open all the time so that BIHR could initiates actions as soon as possible after the incidents happen from remotest part of the country.
BIHR has archived reorganization in Home and abroad among different academic and non academic institution. The researchers, teachers, student of some renowned institution have shown their interest regarding BIHR activities and took opportunity to go under internship