Defending in Numbers – Silencing the Voices of Asia 2015-2016. The Commission has asked the Union Home Ministry to report on the alleged "attack on the rights of human rights defenders". Strict legal restrictions on foreign funding hit India’s NGOs Largest confederation of US labor unions awards Maina Kiai its 2016 award for human rights AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INDIA & HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH JOINT STATEMENT: India: Foreign Funding Law Used to Harass 25 Groups PRESS RELEASE: People’s Watch condemns the Chennai city police for the death of Mukesh from Kannagi Nagar PRESS RELEASE: People’s Watch condemns unlawful arrests of peaceful protesters in Karur 13.10.16 PRESS RELEASE: People's Watch Condems Srikanth Balaji police and prison torture at Manali, Chennai Tamil Press Release-People's Watch Condems attack on Srikanth Balaji at Manali, Chennai People's Watch-Press release-People's Watch call for withdrawal of the recommendations of the Madras High Court to the Advocates Act Felicitation to Mr. Henri Tiphage at Madurai on 04.06.16 at Madurai organised by Citizens for Human Rights Movement (CHRM) and IPRO A felicitation to Mr. Henri Tiphagne on the receipt of Amnesty International Award 2016 organised by HRCPS at Pondicherry on 28.05.2016 A felicitation to Mr. Henri Tiphagne on the receipt of Amnesty International Award 2016 organised by Mr. Nizamuddin, Mr. Balki, Mr. R.Babu, Mr. Arulselvam and Activists from Cuddalore on 28.05.2016 A felicitation to Mr. Henri Tiphagne on the receipt of Amnesty International Award 2016 organised by Vaanmuhil, Citizens for Human Rights Movement Tirunelveli on 22.03.2016 AP-Encounter-Letter to AP Govt. officials with interim report seeking their response AP Encounter High Level Fact Finding - Interim Report 21.04.2015 Human Rights Defenders Alert India - NHRC - Tamilnadu - Gross Violation of 'Right to Association' of HR organizations/ HRDs in TN - Plea Requesting NHRC Intervention Resource Material - Training on Human Rights to Professional College Students NCPCR's Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishment in schools

Tsunami Legal Action Committee

Realising the need for a rights based approach to disasters, and inorder that a system of legal intervention has to be established in tsunami affected areas, the Tsunami Legal Action Committee was established in March 2005.

TLAC is a collaborative initiative of 3 organisations

  • SOCO Trust, Madurai,
  • Human Rights Law Network, Chennai and
  • People’s Watch - Tamil Nadu

Principles

  • Emphasis on alternate dispute resolution and avoidance of court-room litigation
  • Emphasis on legal intervention and not aid
  • Inclusive approach - with a facilitating space for all possible actors to participate in the development of the model

Objectives

  • The overall objective of the project is to ensure that the principle of "Disaster relief and rehabilitation as a matter of right" is put into practice and gains greater recognition in law and policy.
  • Grievance redress mechanism is put in place in times of disasters

Specific objectives

  • At least 50 % of the current individual cases and common complaints of particular villages / communities (5224) will have been redressed by the relevant Government authorities.
  • Building the capacities of the tsunami communities on human rights and for community members to take up collective action on HR issues.

Funding

State secretariate Partner of Cordaid
Chennai zone Partner of Misereor
Cuddalore zone Partner of DCA
Nagapattinam zone Partner of DCA
Kanniyakumari zone Partner of Action Aid

Work areas

All tsunami affected areas in Tamilnadu and Pondicherry with a coordinating office in Madurai and 4 zonal offices in

  • Chennai
  • Cuddalore
  • Nagapattinam
  • Kanniyakumari

Successes of TLAC

  • Creating an awareness about legal aid in the tsunami affected communities through its legal camps
  • Collaborated with many NGOs and complemented their work - brought in significant acceptance for legal aid in disaster relief and rehabilitation
  • Able to get relief in many complicated issues by sustained interactions with concerned govt departments
  • Brought the plight of inland fishing communities, Dalits, women, agricultural workers and vendors in fishing related trades etc to the notice of concerned authorities as well as among the INGOs and enabled them to be included in the relief and rehabilitation programmes to a considerable extent
  • Conducted need based research studies on accountability, quality of relief and rehabilitation efforts, which, along with the experiences of legal intervention, would form substantial base for developing a comprehensive rights based relief and rehabilitation policy during disasters in future.
  • Collection of a large volume of petitions, appropriately classified them, making copies and forwarding them to Legal Services Authorities, preparing a large number of summons and serving them and being part of the Lok Adalat process.

Activities undertaken Legal intervention
Redressal of petitions by TLAC upto November 2006

No. of petitions Chennai Cuddalore Nagai KK Total %
Govt. or NGOs 32,895 6,252 17,909 8,960 66,015 59
Not genuine 7,796 6,222 6,348 20,243 40,610 36.3
Pending redressal in December 743 2,570 1,568 343 5,224 4.7
Total 41,434 15,044 25,825 29,546 1,11,849 100

Status of redressal of TLAC currently pending petitions as on 6th May 2007

No. of petitions Chennai Cuddalore Nagai KK Total %
Redressed and relief received 323 21 1099 22 1,465 28
Remaining petitions to be redressed 420 2,549 469 321 3,759 72
Total 743 2,570 1,568 343 5,224 100

Human rights training

Human rights trainings were done in the months of November and December for all the 256 villages we work in. The purpose of the training was to impart a basic understanding of human rights for community representatives and help them equip themselves as human rights defenders. This training dealt with the following crucial topics:

  • Understanding of human rights in the context of disaster relief and rehabilitation as a basic human right
  • Developing a human rights perspective by understanding the rights of marginalised communities.
  • Understanding rights of coastal communities in the context of coastal regulatory mechanisms.
  • Understanding human rights mechanisms
  • Knowledge of the legal enforcement systems that exist locally
  • Rights of human rights defenders
  • Need for collective Action
  • Skills of monitoring and legal intervention.

Human rights cells

TLAC is planning the formation of atleast 300 human rights cells in the areas we work with. These cells will be in every village consisting of 15 members, equally represented by men and women. These cells will meet regularly helping the community with legal awareness and human rights work.

The members of the cells will be able to identify human rights violations in the disaster context and respond collectively as a local body that is aware of its rights.

Zones No. of cells inaugurated as on 6th of May 2007
Chennai 19
Cuddalore 29
Nagai 48
Kanyakumari 39
Total 135 cells

Campaigns

The Right to Information Act (RTI) which is a recent legislation in India is of prime significance as it gives the people the access to information. People today have a mechanism which enables them to ask for information and also monitor the functioning of the State. The accountability of the State to the people has been established by this legislation. In the Tsunami context, most of the communities have no idea of what the Government has done for them. The status of their complaints is not known to them.

TLAC carried out a campaign in November and December as an effort to make people aware of this legislation and also to equip common people to use this legislation to get access to information on the functioning of the State and also for them to be able to find out the status of their pending petitions with the Government.

Current activities in TLAC

  • Petition to be submitted before Mr. C.V. Shankar in May 2007.
  • Intervention with local departments in each zone.
  • Collection of relevant documents from petitioners.
  • Preparation of a manual on the experience of TLAC in the complaints handling mechanism in times of a disaster
  • Documentation of redressal process
  • Formation of 300 cells and promoting regular cell meetings weekly and monthly
  • Orientation for cell members on Human rights monitoring and on human rights violations
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