Raising Awareness among Key Stakeholders
3. Apply for District Legal Aid Committee observer status
District legal aid committees allow civil society organizations to apply for “observer” status. This status allows an organization’s representatives to attend meetings of the district legal aid committee and observe the discussion. Organizations can strengthen their relationships with District Legal Aid Committees by attending these meetings. DPOs’ relationships with these committees are important because they are working in every district and all persons with disabilities can receive free legal aid through these committees regardless of economic status, including to file cases or complaints under the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act, 2013 (DRPA).
The experience of the USAID’s EPD program is that DPOs can easily apply for and receive “observer” status. All seven EPD-supported DPOs have applied for and been granted observer status in their respective District Legal Aid Committees. Some DPOs have been requested to give presentations on the DRPA so that the committee members are aware of this new legal tool. Also, DPOs have had opportunities to learn about how referrals to panel lawyers are made and what are panel lawyers’ responsibilities to their clients. Finally, some DPOs have also had opportunities to alert committee members to referrals meetings themselves.
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This domain was previously home to a joint report by NGDO, NCDW, and BLAST entitled “Current Status of Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh: Legal and Grassroots Perspectives 2015,” produced with funding from the Disability Rights Fund. It is now available here.