Human Rights Education [Policy Notes]

The Legal Empowerment Initiative has been taken up by iThought to empower communities. Our aim is to make them aware of their rights and equipped to stand up against any violation of their rights. We hold interventions at three levels –

The objective behind our intervention with women is to empower and equip them with the tools and knowledge required to be legally aware and capable. This is achieved by simplifying the law and making it approachable.

One of the projects that is scheduled to start soon is in collaboration with the UNDP. The project will be executed through a team of Para Legal Workers trained by iThought. The objective is to provide training and increase the awareness levels on the relevant laws especially for women, the scope of the law, the mechanisms available and the roles that the play – police, Magistrate, the Courts, Commissions for Women, etc. The difference between civil and criminal cases, the alternative means of settling disputes, what they should do if they ever have to face or come to know of any incidents of child marriage, domestic violence, abuse, dowry, etc. Training will be provided on the procedure to be followed in the event that one decides to take up a matter in the Court, etc.

The underlying objective behind our Legal Empowerment initiative is to break their ignorance and convert it to knowledge thereby making these women self reliant and saving them from touts and other forms of exploitation.

The Panchayati Raj Institutions play an extremely important and irreplaceable role at the village levels. Most of them however have very limited knowledge when it comes to the hierarchy and procedures beyond their level. Our intervention seeks to simplify the laws, procedures and mechanisms. Information dissemination on the existing system of hierarchy, the possible and practical linkages, roles and responsibilities of not just the institution at the community level but also at the block and district levels and showing how these institutions have the power to connect to those who are at the top in the state and national hierarchy.

The tribal community is widely ignored especially when it comes to making them aware of their rights and giving them information on the special laws made for them. These communities are victims of blatant human rights violation, land grabbing, zero educational and employment facilities, among other things. They do not even own ration cards thereby diminishing their chances to basic yet essential facilities. These are just some of the problems they face, the list is endless. Our legal empowerment programme therefore targets the tribal communities to make them aware of the law and their rights along with the means to achieve the same. This is done by demystifying and simplifying the law and making them realise that the law is a powerful tool in their hands that can help them get access to what is rightfully theirs.