BRAC’s human rights and legal aid services programme is dedicated to protecting and promoting human rights of the poor and marginalised through legal empowerment.

The blend of legal literacy initiatives with comprehensive legal aid services throughout the country helps spread awareness needed to mobilise communities to raise their voices against injustices, discrimination and exploitation – whether at the individual or collective level. Our programme creates an enabling environment for the poor and marginalised to seek equitable justice through formal and informal systems.

Our grassroots volunteers are drivers of our rights awareness raising efforts countrywide.

HRLS operates over 400 legal aid clinics in 61 of 64 districts across Bangladesh and is the largest NGO-led legal aid programme in the world. Our work is premised on a rights based approach to human development.

The programme’s activities include legal education, legal aid service provision via Legal Aid Clinics, which includes an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism, rescue operational support, counselling, and legal referrals, staff training and capacity building.

Our ‘Barefoot Lawyers’ impart legal literacy and spur sustainable social change by raising awareness and informing people of their rights. They operate on a 3P model of ‘Prevent-Protest-Protect’ and are usually the initial contact points in their communities when human rights violations occur.

Networking and strengthening partnerships is amongst our core areas of work. Alongside providing direct service, with partner support from like-minded legal aid and human rights institutions, HRLS is able to assist in the conduction of Writ Petitions, and Public Interest Litigations (PILs). In addition, we also engage in knowledge-generating sessions to collaboratively achieve mutual strategies that directly impact the lives of vulnerable communities.

“BRAC’s work in human rights and legal aid services is one of the most impressive large scale legal aid programmes in the world today. A passion for justice is felt throughout the BRAC team. But most importantly, when travelling with BRAC, you realise that clients trust BRAC completely as a professional organisation: they share their stories readily without fear of reprisal, and while expecting that their grievances will finally be heard. Not only are they heard, but these cases are mediated and adjudicated”.

- Stephanie Cohn Rupp
Investments Omidyar Network
Resolving judicial issues

Human rights and legal aid services at a glance