Empowerment Through Law of the Common People

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ELCOP Journal on Human Rights Volume 1, 2023

ELCOP Journal on Human Rights 2022

Author: Mizanur Rahman[1]


Abstract: Since the mid-1980s, there has been a noticeable movement in legal education, especially in the common law countries, to transform it into justice education. While ‘legal education’ in its traditional connotation refers to teaching and learning of the black letter laws, mainly for litigation purposes, justice education ventures well beyond traditional legal education to incorporate ideas of human dignity, empowerment of the poor and the marginalised including their access to justice to make the education socially relevant. The article argues that, despite having certain common features, justice education, both in content and in procedure, is fundamentally different in the global North and South, more so in countries of South Asia with massive poverty and ever-widening gaps between the rich and the poor. The article discusses a particular component of justice education in Bangladesh, the Community Law Reform Programme, popularly known as CLR, which has been experimented with and practiced for almost two decades. The article demonstrates how CLR is different from other socio-legal researches and why it should be considered as an effective way of pursuing justice education for law students. The experience of CLR in Bangladesh since 2001 provides enough evidence to conclude that for justice education to be meaningful in societies like Bangladesh, it has to incorporate CLR in its curriculum. Finally, the article analyses how it has proven to be a challenge to incorporate CLR in the mainstream law school curriculum (even as a clinical component), despite its intricate relation to ‘rebellious lawyering’ as distinct from ‘generic/traditional’ lawyering.

Keywords: Anti-generic learning · Rebellious lawyering · Community Law Reform (CLR) · Human rights · Justice · Socially relevant legal education · Marginalised communities ·Empowerment · Empathetic learning

[1] Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh, Professor of Law, University of Dhaka; Founder of Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP). The paper was earlier published in Jindal Global Law Review volume 11, p. 289–308 (2020). It is reprinted here with the permission from the publisher Springer and Jindal Global Law Review.

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Barrister Tapas Kanti Baul[1] Md. Johir Uddin Shohag[2] & Arefin Mizan[3]


Abstract: The last two decades have witnessed the most ardent leadership engagement by youths in climate activism and environmental human rights advocacy. Young people, such as Greta Thunberg and Helena Gualinga, are spearheading a new wave of climate activism that has the potential to spark significant and systemic change. Youth climate activism has produced new models of leadership and mobilization, including indigenous youth leadership and disruptive activism from the Global South. Despite their significant contributions, however, young activists from the Global South have frequently been marginalized and their perspectives have not been appropriately included in international conversations or policy-making processes. In this study, we discuss the forms of young leadership in the global south and how they might meaningfully influence global climate/environmental politics and policy. In order to establish an equitable and successful response to the global climate catastrophe, we contend that the climate/environmental justice movement must be more inclusive, giving emphasis to the views of activists from marginalized groups and nations. We investigate topics ranging from subaltern youth environmentalism and degrowth movements to indigenous forms of climate activism and aim to determine how young leaders may participate in the implementation of global climate policy.

Keywords: Climate Justice, Environmental Politics, Human Rights, Youth Leadership.

[1]  Executive Director, ELCOP

[2]  Research Consultant, ELCOP

[3]  Research Consultant, ELCOP

Author: S M Masum Billah[1]


Abstract: Access to justice is a widely referred term, yet a less explored area of human rights. Popularly it gets juridical meaning in the sense that it only deals with people’s capability to avail justice from the court. However, it has economic, social and cultural connotations. In this paper, I wanted to view access to justice from a broader understanding. In order to materialize all human rights, access to justice is a prerequisite. Highlighting some interrelationship with the idea of PIL, legal aid, the rule of law etc, I have mentioned some challenges in the way to ensure access to justice.

[1] PhD (Wellington), Professor of Law, Jagannath University, Dhaka. Email: [email protected]. An earlier version of the paper was presented at a National Conference in Dhaka organized by Nagorik Uddyog in 2018.

Author: Bonosree Rani[1]


Abstract: Shared natural resources are connected so inextricably that their governance based on state sovereignty may lead to the destruction of their intrinsic character, which ultimately will diminish their contribution to the human being. For instance, human life depends on sustainable global food security (seeds) and water, which are globally connected but nationally governed. However, sovereign governance of seeds, limited access to seeds vault, and restrained access to the genetically modified seeds due to intellectual property rights may hamper global food security and thus endanger the existance of human being. Likewise, due to the legal vacuum regarding the status of water, specifically ice and clouds, some states are overconsuming these natural resources at the cost of other states. Though some international legal instruments give legal status like ‘common concern of humankind (CCH)’, ‘common heritage of mankind (CHM)’ etc., to the seeds and water at times, there is no sustainable global governance system of these exigent shared natural resources yet. This article, therefore, analysing the existing theories relating to shared natural resources argues for recognising seeds and water as global commons to ensure their sustainable global governance.

Keywords: Clouds, Common concern of humankind, Common heritage of mankind, Ice, Global commons governance, Seeds, and Water.

[1] The Author is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Law and Justice, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh. She can be reached at: [email protected].

Author: Bayazid Hossain[1]


Abstract: This article explores how digital ecosystem accommodates anthropological attachment of human values and vice versa. From this point of view rights and obligations in cyberworlds receive a widespread debate on policy making. It is evident that the concepts of offline human rights are comparatively blurred in Internet. This note cautiously re-examines if the historical role of anthropology in strengthening the meaning of rights is equally relevant to digital environment. Considering the nature and structure of online environments, experts have different positions regarding the recognition of human rights in cyberspaces. This article also reviews if the ongoing challenges towards ensuring safety and security of individuals and their logical entitlements have any link to Horst and Miller’s point of ignorance to anthropological relativism of cyberspaces. Moreover, existing studies stressing for implementation of human rights in cyberspaces ignore the anthropological relativism of digital rights. This paper will weigh the significance of UNHRC’s recognition of rights in online ecosystems. All these aspects around digital rights are aimed to answer the questions relating to justification of human rights in cyber worlds and the factors which tend to transform our conventional norms of human rights into digital mode.      


Key-Words: Anthropology, Cyberspaces, Digital Justice, Human Rights, Policy Making

[1] Assistant Professor of Law at Bangladesh Open University, Gazipur-1705, E-mail: [email protected] The author is also an alumnus of 10th HRSS.

Author: Suprobhat Paul[1]


Abstract: The freedom of expression to convey opinions and beliefs is essential to the growth of civilization and meaningful participation in the democracy, whereas States are permitted to place some reasonable restrictions on that freedom on certain grounds, like national security, public order, public morality, etc. Here arises the conflict between people’s interest in constitutional freedom of expression and government interest in strictly regulating the digital platform used by common people in sharing their thoughts and opinions. There is hardly any country where this conflict did not arise. Bangladesh is not exception to that. In 2006 the parliament of Bangladesh passed its first law regulating digital platform in the name of the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006. Despite huge uproar and criticisms among academic and public sphere about its position in narrowing down the constitutional freedom of expression, the government has passed another lawnamed the Digital Security Act 2018 furthering the restrictions on the freedom. To be very specific, the constitutional freedom of expression and digital security law in Bangladesh are now practically positioned in direct confrontation, though theoretically the digital security law is supposed to be in consistency with the constitution until and unless it is declared void by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh for being inconsistent with the constitution. Therefore, this paper intends to investigate the areas of conflict and find the way to minimize the same. In doing so, it considers the views of the courts of other jurisdictions.

Keywords: Digital security law, Freedom of expression, National security, Public order, and Structure of law.

[1] The Author is an Associate Professor at the Department of Law and Justice, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh. He can be reached at: [email protected].

Author: Saeed Ahsan Khalid[1]


Abstract: This article examines the prospects and challenges of making the Bangladesh Judicial Service (BJS) inclusive for persons with disabilities. This article adopts the case study of Sudip Das, a visually impaired applicant for the BJS qualifying examination who was repeatedly denied a writer by the Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission, to examine the legality of such a denial of accommodation from a human rights-based approach. The article provides an overview of the appointment system in the BJS and an appraisal of the possibility of disability-inclusive judicial service in Bangladesh through the prism of national legislation and evolving notions of the international human rights framework. It argues that the laws, policies, and practices relating to recruiting candidates with disabilities in the Bangladesh Judicial Service either do not adhere to the human rights-based approach to the disability, or there is a severe lack of compliance where it is compatible. This article proposes reforming the judicial appointment system in Bangladesh through the lens of the human rights model of disability, augmented by a four-dimensional approach to transformative equality. The study concludes by exploring the multiple challenges that prevent disability inclusion in Bangladesh’s judicial service and proposing potential solutions.

Keywords: Disability, Inclusion, Judicial Service, Equality, Human Rights

[1] Saeed Ahsan Khalid, LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M. in International and Comparative Law (University of Dhaka), LL.M. in Human Rights (University of Hong Kong) was an alumna of the 9th Human Rights Summer School. Presently he is serving as Assistant Professor at the Department of Law, University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Author: Mridul Bepari[1]


Abstract: Minority rights within present context of Bangladesh portray diversified discrepancies, which has failed to attract jurisprudential concentrations from the part of the state. In order to avoid the pressure created by different activist groups, most of the times the existence of minorities is denied by the state authorities. Human rights activists argue that there are many minority communities living in Bangladesh in terms of their religion identity, ethnicity and mother languages. That is why this research paper aims at depicting their existence and the mariginalisation process they are undergoing. Setting the scene of the research, this paper has consulted the international instruments talking about the rights of the minorities.

Keywords: Minority rights, marginalization, equality, human rights.

[1] Lecturer, Department of Law, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Email: [email protected]

Author: Nadia Rahaman[1]


Abstract: Respect for right to life as a basic human right lies at the heart of a good governance. In a democratic country, the duty to ensure and promote right to life is always on the state, law enforcing agencies, judiciary or civil administration. Unfortunately, some actions of these organs many a time conflicts with right to life. This paper seeks to precisely understand the extent of violation of right to life in Bangladesh caused by different instructions. This study attempted to examine and emphasize the position and status of right to life in view of our constitution and other related international instruments. In practice; being a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Bangladesh government apparently fails to ensure this right and to comply with constitution and Universal Declaration on Human Rights. This research also deals with the question of implementation of right to life and some recommendations are put forward to eradicate the restraints in enforcing such right. Some relevant cases and recent incidents have also been discussed and analyzed in this paper.

Keywords: Human rights, Right to life, Extra-judicial killing, Detention and Torture, Presumption of Innocence, Violation, Judiciary.

[1] Nadia Rahaman is a Lecturer in the Department of Law, East West University, Bangladesh.