The global concern during the current pandemic is human rights and their implementation. In this backdrop, the Lawyers and Jurists Foundation organised Digital Dialogue-9 on 11 September, 2020 about access to justice as human rights during pandemic.
The dialogue was commenced by Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh and Professor, Department of Law, Dhaka University. He outlined the concept of access to justice. Further in global perspective, he enunciated and agreed that the access to justice is deemed as both as a basic human right and means to preserve other universally recognised human rights.
Moreover, he urged how the access to justice as a human right promotes the legal systems in Bangladesh. He opined that the criminal justice system is an aggregate of various role players such as the police, the courts, lawyers and the prisons. All these are interrelated and are needed for the system operate smoothly. Delays or problems in any part of the system will lead to further delays, backlogs of cases and ultimately to denial of access to justice.
Dr. Rahman also pointed out that health is a human right and not a privilege. He specified how the right to health needs to be preserved as the COVID-19 outbreak makes health the foremost concerned human right that needs proper access to justice for every individual. He suggested the initiatives to resolve the matter on the basis of right to health and assessed that NGOs have been playing a vital role in ensuring access to justice for public health concerns.
Mr. Mizanur Rahman Khan, journalist and researcher of Law and the Constitution, addressed the issue of alarming public health concern in the eyes of laws how constrained the public health system of Bangladesh is. He uttered that the existing provisions of the constitution relating to public health are insufficient to guarantee the right to health and medical services for every individual during this pandemic.
He further assessed countries like Cuba, Nepal, South Africa which adopt a rights-based approach to health on their respective constitutions.
He opined in conclusion that the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh may be amended to guarantee the public health system as fundamental rights to ensure the gateway to get justice.
Khandaker Asma Hamid, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh moderated the event. In her introductory speech, she pointed out that access to justice is a global concern for every individual recognised as a human right. The realisation of access to justice remains a great challenge in Bangladesh especially during this epidemic as for litigation process is concerned. The barriers for accessing the justice system should to be identified and mitigated in order to dispense proper justice towards the people.
The programme was coordinated by Mr. Nazmus Sakib, an associate of the Lawyers and Jurists Foundation.
Event covered by the Lawyers and Jurists Foundation.