Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

On 26 April, 2016, Tuesday, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) will launch a report titled

“Crime Victimisation and Safety Perception: A Public Survey of Delhi and Mumbai”. Following the launch CHRI will share the findings of the report with the Press.

WHAT: Launch Cum + Press Briefing

WHEN: 26 April, 2016, 2:00-5:00 pm (Tuesday)

WHERE: Seminar Hall No. 3, India International Centre, Gate No. 1, Kamala Devi Block, 40, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi- 110003.


We all know crime statistics play an important role for the police to make informed judgments about crime prevention, response strategies, and allocation of scarce resources. Keeping this in mind, CHRI in partnership with Nielson India undertook a crime victimization and safety perception public survey in the two cities of Delhi and Mumbai in 2015. This is one of the first efforts to conduct a public survey on crime victimization and public safety perception in India. The survey report captures: respondents' experiences of crime (both reported and unreported to the police), satisfaction with the first response of the police, reasons for not reporting crime, and overall safety perception. The pilot study has come out with some interesting findings.

We request you to attend the press conference or depute someone.

The launch will be followed by High Tea at 5:00 pm.

There will be representation from Mumbai Police and Haryana Police and NCRB as and from leading women rights groups.

For more information please call Ms. Aditi Datta at 43180211, 9643624749 or


Institute of South Asian Women (ISAW)

India's Most Powerful Women Book released by Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, United Nations WTO in Berlin

Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, United Nations WTO, released the first coffee table book on Indian women, 'India's Most Powerful Women' authored by Prem Ahluwalia, on International Women's Day at ITB Berlin. Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Taleb Rifai said women play an important role in the society and development of any country. He said he was happy that this book on powerful women was published on this day of celebration for women. He further said this book would be an inspiration for women not only in India but worldwide. He lauded the commendable work of the author Prem Ahluwalia, a journalist and women rights activist, for her efforts in bringing out such a well researched and beautifully produced book. The event was attended by ministers, dignitaries, women activists and media from all over the world.

This coffee table book on 51 most powerful women of the country focuses on women in India from different walks of life. Women are emerging from the shadows to claim an equal stake in society, redefining the scope of power. They now rule the corporate world and are at the helm of public life. They headline the financial, technology, trade, and medical sectors. They are achievers in arts, culture, sports, and entertainment. However, it was no easy task for these super achievers. In this book, these remarkable women talk about their lives, their struggles, and achievements and most importantly about their journey and on-going tryst with power. These are inspirational stories of women who are truly empowered.

The book includes prominent politicians like Anandiben Patel, Najma Heptullah, Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra; business women like Nita Ambani, Kiran Mazumdar-Shah, Rajashree Birla and Bina Modi; social workers like Anu Aga, Mohini Giri, Sudha Murty and Sunita Narayan; professionals like Arundhati Bhattacharya, Kiran Bedi, Pinky Anand and Isher Ahluwalia; medical professional like Dr. Sunita Maheshwari and the Reddy sisters of Apollo; artists like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anjolie Ela Menon, Mallika Sarabhai and Shovana Narayan; and from sports Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza, among others.

"My four decades of experience in the women's movement of the country as a founder member of Mahila Dakshata Samiti and now as Director, Institute of South Asian Women, exposed me to all kinds of hardships, domestic violence, dowry menace, exploitation of girls, illiteracy and other issues faced by women. Girls need to be aware of their rights and inspired by women who have been achievers. To bring awareness I did many articles on women issues for my magazine Young India. This was the purpose of my writing the book. It is dedicated to the 'Daughters of India'. I hope they will be inspired", said the author Prem Ahluwalia, Director, Institute of South Asian Women (ISAW).

Institute of South Asian Women (ISAW) is an NGO with membership from the SAARC Region. Their mission is to empower women and girls of the Region. They believe that irrespective of gender, all people deserve equal rights, privileges and opportunities. Website:


Workshop on Making the Sexual Harassment Law Work

The Women's Movement has struggled long and hard for a law against sexual harassment since the early 1990s. Now that we have a comprehensive law in The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, we need to ensure that it is implemented in its spirit so that it will give justice to women workers.

From 2013 to 2016, we have seen several high profile cases of sexual harassment but have little knowledge of other cases or of the functioning of the law. The government has no mechanisms for compiling data and admitted in the Lok Sabha that only 526 cases were reported in 2014, which is not even the tip of the tip of the iceberg[i]. Most surveys report otherwise. Akshara's survey of 5000 women in Mumbai showed that 95% had one or several experiences of sexual harassment[ii]. Sexual harassment is so rampant that women/girls tend to experience these behaviors outside work or school too. The form varies from catcalling, groping, stalking, flashing and many other unwelcome and threatening behaviors that they face in public places and at workplaces.

From personal experiences of lawyers, external members and activists, we find that many organizations and business houses are not implementing the law i.e. many have not set up Internal Complaints Committees, or have not included external members, or are not following proper procedures. Not only are these violations of the law but will work against women getting justice.

In this workshop, we would like to discuss the role of the Internal Complaints Committee, its functioning, its external member and rules and regulations surrounding it. The ICC by its very nature is a quasi judicial body possessing the power to not only decide complaints of sexual harassment but also punish the offender. What is the role of the ICC as a quasi judicial body? What are the procedures it should follow? How should the External Member intervene?

The Act mandates that the principles of Natural Justice be followed while deciding sexual harassment complaints. So it is necessary for us to understand the tenets of Natural Justice, its implementation and the responsibility cast on the External Member. We also need to understand the imbalance of power relations in the workplace that initiates and perpetuates sexual harassment. How then do we strike a balance between the requirements of a fair hearing and gender sensitivity?

This workshop is organized by Akshara, a women's organisation and Veena Gowda and associates

Nandita Gandhi         Veena Gowda

For more info pl contact:
Snehal Velkar, Akshara: 98217 92728        Vasundhara: 8452911686


UN Human Rights

NEWS RELEASE Right to housing vision needed to achieve equality for the poor in India” - UN expert

NEW DELHI/GENEVA (22 April 2016) –The contrast between the vast numbers of pavement-dwellers and the rapid development of luxury real estate was brought into stark focus by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, who today ends a two-week official visit to the country. Leilani Farha called for a national housing law to effectively, and urgently, address the implementation of the right to adequate housing.

“I am extremely concerned for the millions of people who experience exclusion, discrimination, evictions, insecure tenure, homelessness and who lack hope of accessing affordable and adequate housing in their lifetimes,” Farha said.

“I was told and have read that evictions happen often, but rarely with due process and strict adherence to international human rights law. Some Government officials consider forced evictions to be justified where occupants do not own the land. Under international human rights law, this is not the case.” Farha added.

The UN expert said she observed a lack of urgency in dealing with the extreme living conditions of those who are homeless, as well as a lack of visibility for these issues.

“I am also seriously concerned that pervasive issues such as domestic violence are at times not linked with the right to live in a home in peace and security,” she said. “There also seem to be some gaps between Government policy-making and the court rulings that highlight the Government's obligations to protect the dignity and right to life of vulnerable populations.”

Farha called on the central Government of India to develop a national housing law, anchored in the spirit of its Constitution and in international human rights law, that includes a moratorium on evictions, immediate obligations to adequately address homelessness, and that is in line with some of its most progressive state plans for in situ rehabilitation for slum dwellers.

The Special Rapporteur noted that the Government of India has been attempting to address these disparities and has ambitiously committed to addressing the living conditions in slums throughout the country by developing 20 million housing units in urban areas benefitting more than a 100 million people by 2022.

“I had the opportunity to visit rehabilitation and redevelopment sites under construction in Mumbai and Bengaluru. For people who are eligible to move into these, there is no doubt they will see a significant improvement in their living conditions, especially after having lived in slums for decades. Access to water, sanitation and electricity is ensured, and maintenance of the buildings is guaranteed for ten years. Most importantly, people are given security of tenure, a cornerstone for the enjoyment of the right to housing,” Farha said.

She warned however that there is mounting inequality in urban areas, and that large-scale migration from rural to urban areas will make India a primarily urban society in the next 30 years.

“A two-track policy response is urgently needed, one that addresses the backlog of housing shortage, and the other that prepares India for upcoming housing needs,” she said.

During her two-week mission to the country, the Special Rapporteur went to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and met with senior Government officials at all levels, as well as with residents, civil society and academics. She will present a detailed report of her findings to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.


Ms. Leilani Farha (Canada) is the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context. She took her function in June 2014. Ms. Farha is the Executive Director of the NGO Canada without Poverty, based in Ottawa, Canada. A lawyer by training, for the past 20 years Ms. Farha has worked both internationally and domestically on the implementation of the right to adequate housing for the most marginalized groups and on the situation of people living in poverty. Learn more, log on to:

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page - India:

For more information and media requests, please contact:

Rajiv Chandran, UNIC- New Delhi (+91 11 46532242 /
Juana Sotomayor (+41 79 444 4078 /
Mariannick Koffi (+41-79-444-3993/


NRLM Film - Mere Haq Meri Pehchaan

The film is supported by UN Women and partners ANANDI in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

Mere Haq Meri Pehchaan (My rights, My identity)' looks at a gendered understanding of livelihoods focusing on women farmers. Through a pilot implemented in select districts of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, UN Women and its partner ANANDI have been supporting government functionaries of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) to ensure that its design, implementation and monitoring is more gender-responsive.



Call for Proposal — Gender Transformative Rural Livelihoods.

This will be a 20-months grant, with focus on promotion of gender-just decent work opportunities and access to social protection for women workers, including women farmers in rural India through collective action and strengthening of gender responsiveness of government policies on rural livelihoods such as the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India's National Rural Livelihoods Mission and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The expected outcomes and outputs are:

Outcome Statement 1: Decent work and social protection for women farmers in rural India is promoted through collective action, and strengthening of relevant laws, policies and programmes

Output 1.1: Institutional mechanisms strengthened to develop gender-responsive programme design for NRLM and MGNREGA, in line with IPPE

Output 1.2: Capacities of women farmers/their collectives strengthened for informing and influencing law, policy and programmes on rights of women farmers/rural women


This is a re-advertisement and all the organisations who applied previously are requested to apply again. New applications are also welcome.


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