BLAST’s primary concern is improving access to justice in Bangladesh for the poor and disadvantaged, and for marginalized communities in particular. It provides legal aid in the form of advice and legal representation, as well as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). BLAST also conducts training, workshops, public interest litigation, and advocacy campaigns to spread knowledge of constitutional and legal rights.

BLAST’s advocacy campaigns target activation of institutional mechanisms such as the functioning of the courts, the activation of the National Human Rights Commission, the development, amendment, and implementation of laws, and ensuring that alternative dispute resolution is accessible and effective. BLAST works to hold the Government accountable and conducts investigations, writes reports, and holds meetings with members of the Government and the press. BLAST regularly undertakes public interest litigation to further institutional accountability.

BLAST is especially concerned about access to judicial remedies. In response to a petition filed by BLAST, the High Court ordered the Government of Bangladesh to implement legal provisions for setting up district courts in the three districts of the CHT according to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation Amendment Act, 2003, and to establish Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Bishesh Adalat (Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Tribunals) as mandated under the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000, as amended in 2003. After BLAST obtained a judgment in its favor, the Government established Courts of the District Judge and an Assistant District Judge in all three districts and also enabled the Tribunals to start functioning.

Case Studies

  • Robina’s path to independence 

Project: Women’s Health Rights and Choices (SHOKHI) 

Robina lives in Korail in Dhaka city. Her father left her family and married again in 2010. Her mother works as a domestic worker. Robina completed Class 8 but could not continue her studies due to financial constraints. Robina has been involved with SHOKHI since the beginning of the project in 2013. She started to work as a community change-maker and set up a group of 11 members. Initially, she received three days of training from SHOKHI’s project team, and in 2017 she attended the six-month-long IGA training where she got training on electronic repairs. There were only two women among the 20 training participants; Robina passed the training with a score of 4.8 out of 5. 

She was employed at an electric shop for three months earning almost 10,000 BDT salary from there. As she faced an unfriendly environment at the workplace she decided to leave the job. She decided to drop her CV at UCEP and her trainer referred her to the Phillips Mohakhali warehouse section. Robina went for the interview and got the job at Phillips on a monthly salary of 7,000 BDT. Though her salary is less than she received before, this job with a renowned company has created a new opportunity. She receives appraisals for her good work and is respected by her colleagues. She believes SHOKHI made her journey easier, since it created links between the community and potential employers, and enabled her and others to find livelihoods and move a step closer to financial independence.