Spread the word: Making people aware of their rights
SUKKUR: Well-aware communities in possession of their rights is the first step towards the goal of achieving justice in our society.
This was stated by Ghulam Sughra Solangi, chief of Marvi Rural Development Organisation (MRDO), at the concluding session on Saturday of a three-day training workshop titled ‘Community Paralegal Training’ in Sukkur. Solangi told participants that while most people have felt helpless about the injustice in society, they should never not protest against this injustice.
“It’s a step forward in making people aware of their rights,” said Solangi about the workshop, adding that people living in rural areas know nothing about their legal and constitutional rights. “We have organised this workshop to produce a team of paralegals who will provide guidance to the poor,” she explained.
Solangi was of the view that decades of disappointment with the judicial system, high cost of services and lack of knowledge and awareness among the poor and vulnerable has aggravated the situation so now the vulnerable prefer to keep the state at an arm’s length.
Although we should make efforts to reduce the gap between the state and its public but due to the process being long, we should work for awareness of the communities for their rights and the laws addressing their troubles, she remarked.
Assistant director of the social welfare department, Abdul Qudoos Memon, said the community representatives were selected from 15 union councils of New Sukkur, Pano Aqil and Rohri talukas.
He added that the trainings focused on the need to understand different methods that can be used in dealing with disputes and legal matters to assist the underprivileged people to assert their rights without engaging the services of a lawyer or resorting to litigation which may be time consuming and expensive.
He said during the training, several key stakeholders from different departments provided the paralegals with relevant information about the laws and departments to approach for quicker resolution of community disputes.
These community paralegals, also known as ‘grassroots legal advocates’, provide a bridge between the law and real life, he said, adding that these paralegals were trained in basic law, mediation, organising, education and advocacy.
The workshop was organised by the MRDO, Insaf Network Pakistan, Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Citizen Engagement and Development Alternatives Incorporated.