CENTRE FOR LEGALAIDASSISTANCE & SETTLEMENT
LEGAL AID ASSISTANCE
Legal aid assistance in particular all forms of violence, discrimination’s and human rights violations is a prime responsibility of the CENTRE FOR LEGAL AID ASSISTANCE & SETTLEMENT (CLAAS). This enthusiasm is continue in CLAAS work by providing free legal aid assistance in all cases of blasphemy, cases of church profanations, forced conversions, forced marriages, murders, gang rape, rape, sodomy, kidnapping, abduction, habeas corpus, police torture, domestic violence, harassment, allegations of theft, job matter as well as cases of discrimination’s at work place, legal aid assistance to foreign nationals, family matters, extra judicial killing, child abuse, land disputes including illegal possessions on church properties and all others related to religious minorities. It has also been observed that the victim feels more comfortable to state their positions and innocence after getting the conveniences of legal aid assistance.
REHABILITATION CENTRE (APNA-GHAR)
Apna- Ghar is a shelter as well as rehabilitation center for the women victims of violence. The primary function of this shelter home is to offer protection against violence and to give appropriate legal counseling and assistance to the women victims of violence such as women implicated in blasphemy, rape, gang rape of minor girls, sexual abuse & sexual harassment and abduction etc. In many cases the victim women in need of protection because of litigation against the State, victims of domestic violence, women escaping sexual exploitation, women facing oppression at home, women who are denied the right of free choice in marriage or have been forced into marriage without consent, women who were abducted and is forced into marriage. Apna-Ghar providing free accommodation, food, clothing, medical care, education, counseling in cases, recreational activities, spiritual guidance, awareness talks on different basic rights issues and also empowering them to learn skills such as stitching cloths, training in beauty parlor etc. Violence against women is a revolting reality in Pakistan and non-Muslim women are discriminating twice as first for her gender and second for her faith. The main objective of Apna-Ghar is to provide a reliable platform to the Christian women (who are marginalized community in our society and have no voice) where they could come for help without any fear. In 2000, CLAAS started Apna-Ghar in a rented house, with the financial support provided by Dr. Sam Soloman from United Kingdom and Ms. Jo Nell from USA. Later in 2003, +Rev. Rev. Munormal Shah (Bishop of Peshawar Diocese-Church of Pakistan) supported for the purchase of land, Barnabas Funds UK, provided funds for construction and friends from HMK Germany provided some funds for the completion of registration of land documents and finally it has been completed in January 2005.
Right to Life is also a rule of Natural Justice as well as also the United States adopted this covenant in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CLAAS Pakistan is fully agreed upon this fundamental right to life. CLAAS Safe House (protection home for survivors) is a home for the victims of faith, blasphemy and converts whose lives are in danger, and cannot survive in the society openly and with their free will. After enforcement of discriminatory laws it was very difficult for the Christians survivors if were implicated in blasphemy accusations in this country, but they are not only one who has to face such persecution because of their faith, their families also become the victim of cruelty and intimidation of Muslim extremists. The converted from Islam to Christianity have no right to live they are treated inhumanly by their own families as well as the fellow residents and does not have right to report to the authorities when they are being harassed, threatened or beaten up by their families or extremist groups and the law does not provide protection to an apostate. The instigation of criminal cases against new converts to Christianity is on the increase and blamed on false accusations of insulting the Islamic faith and the Holy Prophet. The lower functionaries of the state do not even protect the victims of these nefarious acts against mob violence and there have been many extra judicial murders with the police just standing by. The police are usually prejudiced i.e. in favor of the fundamentalist and therefore do not fulfill the normal legal obligations. The motive for registering cases is evidently religious retaliation. In 2006 CLAAS took a rented a safe place for protection of the victims of religious intolerance and the same year purchased a piece of land with the financial support of HMK Germany while the Barnabas Funds UK, provided financial help for construction to build a sanctuary for the alleged victims. In this regard, we seek support from our friends and well-wishers in order to help our brothers and sisters who give their live to our Savior Jesus Christ and thus become prime targets of religious intolerance at the hands of Muslim extremists. In 2007, the construction of the building started and till May 2009, ground floor, first floor including five rooms, one kitchen, one hall and a prayer room completed. In the growing situations religious intolerance and violence against Christians, obviously the number of victims of faith is increasing day by day while the present accommodation is not enough to accommodate them.
MOBILE MEDICAL HEALTH CARE UNIT (for bonded laborers)
CLAAS office received numerous complaints of health problems as well as forced labor from the marginalized community particularly the brick kilns (laborers working in brick making). CLAAS made survey and found that the brick kilns and their family member are working in the clay almost for twenty four hours and they obviously got different diseases mostly they are suffering with skin infections, scabies, respiratory tract infections, fever, anemia, diabetes and liver diseases. The poor slave brick kilns have no accessible or affordable healthcare facilities available. CLAAS also observed that they are working on very low wages and surviving just hand to mouth usually made to work forcibly without payment. CLAAS also received many complaints of forced labor and illegal detention & chained as slave, following these complaints CLAAS rescued and freed 781 brick kiln laborers with the help of 11 bailiffs of the High Court at once. CLAAS started this project in October 2004, with support of Medic Assist International UK. The MAI-UK also provided a full equipped ambulance. The CLAAS appointed a team of certified doctors along with a staff-nurse, laboratory technician and a driver. The monthly plan was described as twelve visits in every month (six new and six follow-up visits) at different brick kilns situated in the area of province of the Punjab for providing free medical health facilities to the people working and living at Brick Kilns. The moment CLAAS is providing medical as well as legal assistance.
SETTLEMENT OF VICTIM FAMILIES
CLAAS helping the families in troubling by the false allegations of blasphemy and illegally implicating in other criminal cases and are confined in the jails. CLAAS financially assisting the affected incarcerated families since 2000 and the idea was to help the families in starting with small business and to earn their day living by themselves. The project was focused on the families who became the direct victim of communal violence and persecuted in the name of religion. CLAAS taking cares their financial needs accordingly and through this project the affected families are able to start their own small business. CLAAS started this project with the help of the JUBILEE CAMPAIGN USA & UK.
JAIL VISITS (CLAAS’s OWN INITIATIVE)
Legal aid assistance to the victims of all sorts of human rights violations such as the survivors of religious intolerance (especially the victims implicated in blasphemy accusations) men, women and to the juveniles is a prime duty of CLAAS. In this thirst CLAAS conducted surveys, time to time visits and become conscious over the worst situation of Christian prisoners as well as confined since years without legal aid assistance in various jails situated in the province of Punjab. The motive of the said visits was to be familiar with the problems faced by the innocent Christian women men and juveniles imprisoned without committing any offence are imprisoned. After the excruciating situation of the Christian prisoners CLAAS decide and started jails visits in order to providing legal aid to those do not have access to lawyers to pursue their cases in the courts for release.
The main objective of CLAAS is to provide legal aid assistance, protection rehabilitation to the survivors of religious intolerance, sexual abuse, domestic violence, victims of blasphemy and their families and all sort of oppression. CLAAS work is a part of the human rights movement in Pakistan and its activities reinforce and strengthen the human rights issues. CLAAS ultimate goal is to end human rights violations, and always tries to provide practical help to the victims. In July 2011 with the help of Barnabas Fund UK CLAAS has started Feeding Project for the poor needy and victims families who are involved in different fake cases and especially in blasphemy accusations. They live hide and can not work openly therefore they are unable to fulfill the needs of their families. Looking towards their poverty CLAAS decided to provide them some food items and grocery on monthly basis.