Recently, the 19th Human Rights Summer School organized by Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP), a voluntary, non-profitable and non-governmental human rights education, research and training organization, was held from 13-23 October, 2018 at Koita, Saturia in Manikgong, (a District beside the Capital of Bangladesh). It was a long almost two week's program where 42 law students from three countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and India took part.
The whole program was structured by various events such as lectures on various topics particularly on human rights and Digital issues ( since the theme of this time of the Summer School was Human Rights and Digital age), group exercises, cultural program mes, community visit and exercise of mooting.
Legal experts, analysts, human rights activities and renowned academicians from home and abroad conducted all those events. Among all the events the community visit was a little bit different because traditionally the law students don't get much scope to visit the communities and cannot learn how the legal knowledge can be applied in the real world.
ELCOP has started its journey with the chief motto of Lawyering with the poor is Lawyering for the justice. This well thought motto signifies the necessity of keeping in touch with the community or common people whose human rights are continuously violated without any remedy.
The ultimate target of the ELCOP is to create some probono rebellious lawyers who will selflessly and whole heartedly work for the betterment of the community and removing all the injustice and discriminations from the society and establish a democratic and welfare state. To achieve this target the ELCOP puts more emphasis on the community visit program me.
In every year it conducts a program me called CLR (Community Law Reform) in order to engage the keen interested law graduates with the community visit and try to curb the sufferings, sorrows, inhumane and degrading treatment towards any marginalized community.
It provides an efficient platform for the law students to move around the community, realize the real scenario of the sufferings and discriminations in the society. It infers an inter active and direct method of learning by communicating with the common people.
The CLR program me offers the interested students to select any particular vulnerable section of the society whose sufferings are not yet heard or who have not that much opportunities to depict their deprivations in front of the civil society.
Then the students rush to that community, stay with them, collect necessary data and facts, show them the probable ways to remove their deprivations and ultimately the ELCOP tries to take necessary initiatives to reduce or remove the unseen sufferings of that vulnerable community.
Actually the enforcement of human rights needs the rebellious lawyers, judges and benevolent human rights activities. That's why it is necessary to be with the poor, marginalized and victimatised people in order to feel their convulsions and share their melancholies by coming outside from their corny learning method in the law schools.
The existing legal educational and law enforcement mechanism cannot meet the needs of the time and community. If the learning cannot widen the vision and mind of the students then that learning cannot bring any fruitful result. So, community visit creates awareness among the law students and makes them ready to feel for the community.
It also creates awareness among the common people regarding their necessary protections from legal mechanism and encourages them to promote consciousness of legal culture, participation in the formation of laws and the rule of law.
Within it's nearly two decades journey ELCOP has already created a good number of efficient, hard working, probono and open-minded lawyers, judges and legal experts who are playing their highest roles in their respective fields in ensuring and protecting human rights.
For this success ELCOP has received the "South Asian Excellence in Legal Education Award" from Indian Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu on 1 September 2018.
Finally, I want to share the rationale behind the foundation of ELCOP from the arithmetic dream of its founder Dr. Mizanur Rahman, that some 100 pro-poor lawyers that it would produce, may change the goal of a legal system with their innovative interpretation of law and justice.
He thinks that that will be possible if law students are taken out of the class room to show the socio-legal grievances of the downtrodden community and are taught to motivate, mobilize and organize the poor to fight with the poverty.
The writer is a participant of 19th Human Rights Summer School of ELCOP and Finance Secretary of Dhaka University Moot Court Society.
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