YUVA-YOUTH FOR UNITY AND VOLUNTARY ACTION


 

 

 

HUMAN RIGHTS SENSITIVE CITY OF NAGPUR

 

 

 

ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT

JANUARY,1999 TO DECEMBER,1999

 

 

 

 

 

HUMAN RIGHT SENSITIVE CITY: NAGPUR

About YUVA

Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) is a voluntary development organization working on issues of the urban and rural poor. YUVA’s work on urbanization in Mumbai began in 1985 through the mobilization of slum and pavement residents, women, street and working children, as well as marginalised communities like minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled and de-notified Tribes.

YUVA’s interventions address housing and livelihood issues by organizing people to access basic amenities like water, sanitation, government schemes, employment, legal aid and establishing housing, credit, labour and service co-operatives. These grassroots initiatives also identified areas for policy intervention as well as amendments in legislation and prompted YUVA to engage in research networking with other organizations as well as advocacy initiatives to engender long term changes. To influence policy at the state level YUVA felt the need to broadbase its activities, expanding to other cities / towns.

The economic backwardness, the political significance of the city as well as the clear absence of any NGO working on urbanization concerns within the city prompted YUVA to initiate work in Nagpur in 1994.

YUVA’s Initiatives in Nagpur

YUVA, Nagpur has been working in the field of Human rights to fetch the social justice and equality and empowerment for the different target groups through the following four programs.

  1. VLVM :

Vidarbha Lok Vikas Mach - VLVM (The People’s Development Organization of Vidarbha) was started in June 1996 and continues to develop and improve as a network striving for Rights of indigenous groups on natural resources, rights of tribals for their self rule.

The national network ‘Resource and Support Centre for Development (RSCD) has regional resource agencies throughout India. The regional resource agency for the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra is run by YUVA, Nagpur. As part of Vidarbha Perspective Plan, it offers constancy and capacity building to voluntary organisations and community based organizations on organizational development and programmatic interventions on the issues of tribal, women and rural/ landless workers of the region through network process.

2. UTHI

YUVA, took up the Urban Transformation Through Human Intervention for Nagpur zone since 1995 through a perspective plan of Nagpur And started Empowering the Urban Poor—with special focus on schedule castes, schedule tribes, minorities, women, children and youth—to improve the quality of their lives through increased involvement of the stake holders.

UTHI undertook the programmes through a participatory social planning aspect such as Campaign on Housing Rights for security , peace and dignity etc. Under food security rights, UHTI initiated campaign on public distribution systems and people’s institutional building for creating the assets.

In the gamut of Urban Governance, UTHI forwarded its attention towards political awareness, capacity building and education of urban poor and peoples representatives.

A Sustainable development programmes has been started by UTHI as regards the Urban Environment security. Within this , Overall development of the city with a full participation of the citizens was called for. Awareness building, campaigns, empowerment etc programmes are facilitated through UHTI.

  1. WID to WID
  2. Women in Distress to Women in development Programme has been started with a Mission to

    Empower the distressed women in Vidarbha, to regain their access, security and status in the socio economic and cultural spheres of the life to enable them to live in dignity and freedom.

    YUVA Nagpur initiated its Legal aid center in Nagpur in 1996. The activities of the center evolved a process of women’s empowerment in Nagpur. The idea of converging all efforts all efforts was discussed with various actors involved directly and indirectly.

  3. ASK (Anubhav Shiksha Kendra.)

To empower Youth and mobilize them through their capacity building, ASK has been initiated in Nagpur under SMILE (Student Mobilization Initiative for Learning through Exposure), in the entire Region of Vidarbha.

1} To help youth to understand themselves and the society through awareness.

2} To create an atmosphere where the individual capacities and values of the youth are developed through exposure seminars.

3} To provide direction and support to youth organization/group.

4} To promote youth organization to be part of the local Government.

5} To provide opportunities to create awareness on issue those are affecting youth.

 

Why Nagpur?

Nagpur lies in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, situated in the very heart of India; 832 kms. From Mumbai by rail. Though it is an educational, administrative and cultural centre of the region, it remains economically backward. With the change economic context and thrust towards exports, its resources of rich minerals like coal, manganese, forests, orange gardens and agricultural potential have been noticed. Industrial sectors have also emerged to exploit this rich and natural resource potential. Nagpur is also becoming a major distribution centre in the tertiary sector (food, domestic gas etc.). This makes Nagpur one of the faster urbanizing cities of the State of Maharashtra. The winter session of the State Legislature is also hosted here making Nagpur a city of political importance.

The city of Nagpur is no exception to these issues. This city is fast growing up as an important metropolitan and industrial hub of the central India. The ever increasing and degrading problems related to civic, legal, environment, health etc. seems to have surrounded the everyday life of a common man. What used to be stray incidences of violation of the human rights of a common individual has become a marked feature of everyday life. Some of the cases do come to the limelight and get redressed, while a large number of these go UN-noticed, UN-reported and UN-attended. In short, the human right record of the city is absolutely discouraging. There has to be a concerted effort on the part of the citizen to bring to the notice all such cases of violation of human rights.

It is in this context, that the concept and implementation of a Human Rights Community in the city of Nagpur became extremely crucial and critical. A human rights community is one in which all its members, from policy makers to ordinary citizen, learn about and adhere to human rights obligations. Relating human rights norms to their immediate and practical concerns, they join to make a commitment to enter into a community- wide dialogue for the purpose of developing the guidelines of their human rights community. All organisations - public and private, join to monitor violations and implementation of human rights at all levels of the society. They develop the methodology to ensure that human rights norms and standards bind all decisions, laws, policies, resource allocation, and relationships at all levels of the decision making and problem solving process. They ensure that human rights serve as guiding principles by which the community develop its future plans and institutions.

For transforming the general public into educator, monitor and documentor of the human rights in the city of Nagpur by launching a massive awareness campaign is the primary objective of the human rights community. This community can help ensure that government will fulfil their human rights obligations to their people. The creation of a human rights community in Nagpur would mean:

  1. focusing attention to the importance of improving the living conditions in ones community.
  2. highlighting the potential for community action to enhance the quality of lives of citizen, as well as its limitations.
  3. taking the initiatives to strengthen existing partnership within the community, and explore the possibilities for initiating new partnerships; and

4. building upon the potential of community to mobilize public opinion, particularly in support of more effective partnerships.

 

Background for the Project

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was accepted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec 10, 1948, far reaching human rights treaties including the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural, and Civil and Political Rights; the convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women; the convention on the Rights of the Child; and the convention on elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination had been signed and ratified by the most Nations around the world. It must be made known to people in country that by the act of ratification UN member states undertake an obligation to adjust national laws to confirm with international human rights norms and standards, and to implement and enforce Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural human rights of all women, men, youth and children as equal citizens of the state.

People's Decade of Human Rights Education-PDHRE’s advocacy work was instrumental in the United Nations proclamation of a Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004). Senegal, Sudan, Argentina and India have been the countries selected to materialize the challenging task of ‘building communities where human rights are known and respected by all their citizens’. Earlier in 1997, PDHRE had become connected with an initiative in Rosario, Argentina to proclaim Rosario a Human Rights Community. This entails a major effort to identify and coordinate organizations already at work in a variety of sectors, on a variety of themes. This coordination of efforts aims at anchoring throughout the community the values of human rights, the knowledge of human rights instruments, and a value system based on the awareness that all actions have consequences, that the well being of some cannot be bought at the cost of others' suffering, that all rights are connected and interdependent. The goal is a community where all citizens, all persons in positions of leadership will see the values of Human Rights as the ultimate reference point of any decision making.

Human rights, one of the family of concepts like civil rights or civil liberties are those rights and privileges held to belong to any person, regardless of any provision that may or may not exist for them in their legal systems, simply because, as a human being there are certain things which may not be forbidden by any government.

Although, the context and nature of human rights are conditioned by the social, traditional and cultural forces that inform different societies, concern for human rights has become universal. Each violation of human rights, wherever it occurs, is considered a threat to the welfare and dignity of the mankind. Thus, unless human rights are made the focal point in good governance no progress is either possible or sustainable as no amount of economic development can be sustained without a baseline of respect for human rights.

The continuous degradation and dismal performance of the human rights record especially in the urban centres can be attributed to stresses of the urbanization. Urban settlements have become the primary centres for the struggles for development. On the threshold of the next millennium, one observes the creation of a new urban world wherein old cities are bursting and new ones are being created at an unprecedented speed. And old and new ones are growing to size that defy the imagination. What terrifies is the fact that the dawn of the next century, half the humanity will live and work in the cities and towns, while the other half will increasingly rely on these urban centres which can least afford to take care of them. Cities and towns are seriously affected by the grave development problems like overcrowding; environmental degradation due to excessive production and consumption leading to pollution of air, water, solid and liquid wastes; social disruption; under employment; and poor housing; infrastructure and services. Most of the violations of human rights owe their origin to these issues.

Objectives

 

 

 

 

Experience of the process towards making Nagpur a Human Rights City has been outlined below in the form of steps:

PHASE I----JAN,1999 TO JUNE 1999

STEP 1

For Initiating the Process of A Human Rights Community in Nagpur certain Target Groups and Issues have been identified through interacting with several groups working in Nagpur the target and the issues identified as below

Target

Issues

Child Rights

Education

Against abuse

Against labor

For a sound mental and physical health

Social Rights.

Environmental Rights

Against exploitation

Sustainable development

Health Rights

Mother

Pre natal

Post natal

Differently bale.

Children

For lowering IRM and up to 10 years of age.

Against malnutrition and dreaded diseases

Women Rights

For gender equality

Economic equality

Empowerment

Educational Rights

Of women

Of girls

Of general population

Of differently able

Minority Rights

Against exploitation

Protection of identity and culture

Against communalism

Housing Rights

adequate living conditions

adequate civic amenities

Slum dwellers for right to land title.

Poverty Alleviation

Low income groups ( SLUMS)

For unemployment

Workers Rights

With trade unions

Against exploitation

Job security

Legal rights

Women

Convicts

Children’s

Differently able.

 

 

 

STEP 2

Identification of Human Rights (HR) Activist

Initial process was to list down all those, identified as HR activist, already involved with our work. Listing of all the HR activist happened through information available in print media, seeking contacts through known contacts, visiting university - HR departments, university libraries, advocates working on issues related to HR etc.

The basis of all the contacts commenced after the collation of this information. Individual and group meetings were initiated to understand their levels of interest. Through the course of planned encounters, meetings, discussions and letters the initial contact was initiated.

After these contacts, a group emerged to work on the concept building process. The process then moved in the form of study groups with expert inputs coming in, leading to the formation of a core group.

Identification of stakeholders

The next critical step was identification of stakeholders and sharpening the approach on involvement of various stakeholders. Again the core group took the initiative to list down the names of all stakeholders and it was as follows:

NGO community, CBOs, HR activists, Women in development, Environmentalists, Lawyers, Doctors, Journalists, Academicians, Institutions, Corporations, Media & Press, Handicapped?, Children, Youth, Vendors, Slum dwellers, Unorganized sector, Organized sector, Trade unions, Bureaucrats, U.L.S Bodies, Counselors, Corporate sector,financial institute, Elected representatives,the government of Nagpur, a wide range of NGOs community and religious leaders, educators and media workers, all persons in positions of political, cultural, economic and religious leadership, women in development, as well as activists working on housing, food, health, education, development and peace issues, involving women, children and men. Youth group activists with the ability to mobilize young people throughout the country; including students as well as unemployed young people and those working in the self-employed and agricultural sector. People involved in communication; the media and traditional communicators (grits and hunter societies , chasers). Educators in the formal and nonformal sectors. Union organizers and members. Members of the judiciary. Health workers, especially those involved in areas of women and children's health care.

 

Criteria for Selection

Criteria for selection of the target groups were:

 

The process of developing a HR community was to fully involve all sectors of society working on issues that are meaningful to the daily lives of the people of that community. Full representation and participation of all sectors was the central element of the plan.

Half-day Dialogue

Against this background, a half-day dialogue was organized in Jun ’99, the principal reason was to facilitate collaboration between Government organization, NGOs, CBOs, professionals, HR activists and all the stakeholders at city level and accommodate a more holistic approach. One of the rationales of this dialogue was to educate the people on the human rights and then to campaign for the safeguard of their rights. The dialogue was attended by more than twenty participants representing the NGOs, CBOs, lawyers, environmental groups, people from electronic and print media, retired professionals from government and public sector undertakings, Labour unions and academic institutions.

Objectives of the dialogue

This dialogue proved to be valuable and gave inputs to strengthen and accommodate a more holistic approach to the Human Rights Community Process.

Some of the responses from the participants during the dialogue were:

At the end of the dialogue, there was a working group formed, which would take the process forward. Through this dialogue also emerged the idea of celebrating Human Rights Day in December 1999 on a large scale. It was also suggested that Ms. Shulamith Koenig of PDHRE would be visiting India during that period and that she could be attending the Programme.

 

PHASE II JULY 1999 TO JUNE, 2000.

Activities of the Working Group

Working group had regular meetings once in a week or fortnight to plan for the future plan of action. These meetings with lot of ardour culminated into the plan for preparation of appeal letters and they took the responsibility of distribution of these to nearly 5000 people. Appeal letter gave the details of the ‘Sustainable Human Rights Community and the possibilities of participation and involvement’ in this process. Regular meetings resulted in mass awareness campaign, sending appeal letters, preparing reading material and reaching out to people through press and media.

Reading material

After the distribution of appeal letters, immediate preparation of basic human rights materials together with local activists and CBOs (community based organizations) was initiated. The material was developed in Hindi and Marathi (local languages). These materials include:

STEP 3

Identification of second level target group

By August 1999, working group was in the process of identification of second level target members. These included:

    1. Medical professionals
    1. Colleges/ Insitutions
    1. Education
    1. Unorganized sector
    2. Local councilors
    3. Peoples Representative

 

Planning for the HR City Programme celebrations

The planning was initiated in the month of September,1999. There were three different aspects on which extensive planning was initiated:

Content - Target

Youth, women & children

HR activists/ WR activists

NGOs/ CBOs

Counsellors

Press

Environmentalists

Lawyers

Police

Preparation for the building of environment for the program

Wall papers

Posters

Hoarding

Banners

Electronic media

Slogans

Resources

Mobilization of human resources

Material preparation

Sponsorship

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CELEBERATION

Seminar with stakeholders : ‘Developing Human Rights Sensitive City –Nagpur’

Keeping these four objectives in mind we had organized several seminar during HUMAN RIGHTS day celebration

 

 

 

Day 1

Legal professional

On 20th Dec 1999 We had provided an opportunity for the legal professional to interact and collaborate with human rights activist in order to develop a further understanding of international human rights laws and forums. This has also provided a platform for the professors and students of law colleges to discuss the pros and cones of the "system of governance and law", awareness in local public to register appeals or cases in the court or police station etc. This has been attended in a large number ( 35 lawyers).

The seminar was addressed by Shulamith Koeing, Malini Mehra of PDHRE, Miloon Kothari of HIC, New Delhi and Minar pimple, Execuitve Director , YUVA who acted as the Resource persons. During the Seminar, a general idea about HUMAN RIGHTS was portrayed, right from the basics and the conceptual to the detailed coverage and expanse of the human rights during the last decades. The concept of UN System was also the focus of the discussion.

Within the discussion, the lawyers opined that there is an urgent need to inculcate and sentise the Judiciary and the police and lawyers through the enforcement or understanding of Human Rights. The cases tackled in the Judiciary often demands some level of understanding of the Basic human rights which would help them taking decisions with confidence and authenticity. They should be motivated to absorb the true meaning of Human Rights.

Environmentalist

We had provided an opportunity for the environmentalists to interact and collaborate with human rights activist in order to develop a further understanding of international human rights laws and forums and to achieve a common level of understanding. It is seen that There is a normal conflicts as to who should be given the preference or the weightage during planning or implementation stage: Is it the environment or the people ?. These conflicts would be solved or tackled through a proper frame of understanding towards HUMAN RIGHTS.

Media

It is recognized that the press and media plays a vital role in the dissemination of information and we feel it is important for press and media persons to have a adequate knowledge of human rights issues, laws and forums as a result we had organized an informal discussion with them.

Day 2

Human rights convention

The Convention was organized specifically for the urban poor. The basic objective was to awake awareness, their involvement and participation as well as future steps towards the spread of this campaign in the city of Nagpur. The convention was attended in a large number. About 700 slum dwellers involved in the housing rights, food security rights, child right and women right , unorganized daily laborers and Women organizers put forth their issues.The people well responded to the forums and few bold points came forward as regards their problems, forms of Human rights and desired future action plans. They took the responsibilities to wide spread and distribute the knowledge of human Rights in the concerned sectors within the city.

The people enthusiastically presented their views about the human rights through Plays and Songs in local language.

They took Pledge through Ex. Consoler of NMC regarding the HUMAN RIGHT.

" We will accept nothing less than Human Rights,

We will know them and claim them,

For all men, women, youth and children

From those who speak Human Rights

But deny them to their own people".

Youth group meeting

About 80 students from Medical, Engineering, Social work and law colleges (who are a part of Anubhav shiksha Kendra, YUVA, Nagpur) participated in this youth Forum. Youths, the responsible citizens of tomorrow, expressed their opinions on the said concept and their desired roles were discussed and clarified through open group discussions. A general idea to inculcate the habits of Human Rights through sensitization of Youths through different perspectives was also focused by the Resource persons.

Day 3

Stake holders

Participants from NGOs , CBOs , Trade unions, Academic Institutions, Medical Professionals, Legal Professionals, Human Right Activists and Educational institutions gathered together to discuss the gamut of the Human rights. Group discussions and presentations were arranged in order to portray their thoughts on the said subject. The workshop focussed on suggesting steps to create mechanism for taking the process forward. Few stakeholders responded in a positive manner by taking the whole responsibility of information dissemination and preparation of reading material on child rights on their shoulders.

Peoples representative

In addiction to the specific efforts of rule making and standard setting, as well as intergovernmental co-operation with regard to the various agenda items of human security, there is a critical need for a long term pro active development strategy, based on a multi-generational process of human rights learning.we had provided an opportunity for elected representatives of people to interact and create links with Human Rights activist in order to achieve a common level of understanding.

Difficulties

The work as regards HR sensitive CITY of Nagpur is in the two phases. During the implementation and execution of first two phases, it has undergone some minor difficulties:

Success and Impact

Activities planned for the next report period

For a period of July 2000- June 2001

Core Activities

Implementers

  • Development and implementation of the action plans
  • Housing rights committee.
  • Childs right Committee.
  • Women rights committee
  • Youth rights Committee
  • SC/ ST rights committee
  • Environmental rights committee.
  • Food security committee.
  • Unorganized Labour rights committee.
  • Mobilization of other socio-economic and political actors
  • YUVA, Nagpur.

In addition to the above planned processes, The project secretariat has planned the following actions.

INPUT PROCESS OUTPUT
Awareness , training
  • Information Dissemination in local language
  • Training of trainers
  • Training for educators, monitors and documentors.
  • HR training for the 8 committees.
Increased awareness amongst the citizens.
Action Organization Celebration of the Programme.
  • Food security day : 17 Sept.
  • Housing rights day : 2nd OCT.
  • Child RIghts day : 14 Sept.
  • Youth rights Day : 12th Jan.
  • Women’s rights Day : 8th March.
  • Social Justice day : 14th April.
  • unorganized Workers day : 1st May.
  • Environmental rights day : 6TH June.
Increased awareness and mobilization through open forums amongst the citizens.
Experimentation
  • Preparation of human rights charter for the city of Nagpur.
  • Developing HR citizen forum.
  • Establishment of city HR court.
  • HR commission for the city OF Nagpur.
Creation of Legal base for the HR city implementation.
Support and

Solidarity

  • Establishment of Fact finding committee.
  • Public Interest Litigation’s.
Establishing Facts and figures through research.
Documentaions.
  • Inferences of the Case studies
  • Formation of the process reports.
  • Usage of electronic media and communication.
Authentic documentation of the entire processes.