SICHREM-South India Cell for Human Rights,Education and Monitoring
SICHREM seeks to empower the disempowered groups of dalits, tribals, women, children and minorities to protect their individual and collective rights for a dignified life, through education, monitoring and mobilising civil society for concerted action.
Work and Achievements
SICHREM is an NGO based in Bangalore, working for Protection of Human Rights especially of the very poor and marginalized sections of our society. The organization is implementing a fairly large programme of Human Rights Education in about 200 Schools in Karnataka. We also are engaged in regular fact- findings into cases of Human Rights violations and provide legal aid for the victims. We run a telephonic helpline for victims of Human Rights Violations and that provides free counseling and legal aid.
The organization is also engaged in several campaigns and advocacy for a Human Rights friendly society. We implement the Child Helpline- 1098 for the Kolar District. SICHREM also as setup ‘District Human Rights’ Centers in five Districts of Karnataka and we are making efforts to establish the same in all Districts Head quarters.
SUMMARY OF INTERVENTIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR:
SICHREM is one of the pioneer civil society initiatives in Karnataka, committed to monitoring Human Rights violations at different levels. In 1995 SICHREM launched its core programme on Human Rights education. The organization has succeeded in creating a holistic approach to education, whereby issues of equality, dignity and Human Rights are discussed and addressed to a variety of audiences. The main activities and achievements of SICHREM are summarized below:
a. Human Rights Training (HRT): An average of 10 training workshops are organized each year. The courses target specific groups, including: women, dalits activists, child rights activists, NGO, teachers, lawyers, media professionals etc.
b. Monitoring Human Rights: SICHREM is involved in several fact-finding missions to ensure that victims are able to access and seek justice and compensation. Fact-finding reports are also used for lobbying. The fact-finding missions are mostly conducted on the following issues:
- Cases of child labour
- Police atrocities, torture and custodial deaths
- Communal violence and police firing
- Atrocities committed on Dalits.
c. Human Rights Clinics in Slums: SICHREM conducts a minimum of one Human Rights Clinic in a slum every month. A group of two-three lawyers spend four to five hours in a slum interacting with the community. This provides an opportunity for people to discuss their problems and receive counselling and assistance.
d. Human Rights Help-lines: The help-line service is available at the main office in Bangalore and in all the DHRC’s across the region. An average of 15 calls are received per day on Human Rights related cases.
e. District Human Rights Centers: In 2001, SICHREM set up the District Human Rights Centres in five districts in collaboration with local NGOs. All the centres have a telephone and a lawyer available between 3pm and 5pm on working days. On average, 15 phone calls are answered daily by the help-line staff and legal advice is given by the DHRC counselors. Cases can involve gross Human Rights violations, such as: torture, death in custody, illegal detention, dowry harassment, sexual violence but can also involve less serious legal matters such as issues related to employment and desertion. Fact-findings reports are compiled in cases involving violations and abuse.
f. Human Rights Education: The organization has been putting pressure on the state government to introduce human rights education as part of the official curriculum in schools. Thanks to this successful advocacy program, SICHREM has been able to implement human rights education in about 123 schools of Karnataka and 55 schools in Kerala. SICHREM is now also active in more than ten colleges in Bangalore. At St. Joseph’s College, the organization is responsible for imparting a Diploma Course in Human Rights.
g. National Project on Preventing Torture in India (NPPTI): Given SICHREM’ s expertise in fact-finding into human rights violations, especially in cases involving torture and death in custody, the organization was asked to implement the NPPT for the state of Karnataka. Thanks to this unique opportunity, more than 600 cases of police torture from six districts of Karnataka were investigated. A state level public hearing (People’s Tribunal on Torture) was organised, bringing to the public eye about 100 cases of police torture.
h. Advocacy, Lobbying and Campaigns: SICHREM throughout the years has been active in promoting new campaigns and has supported existing ones.
- Campaign for setting the State Human Rights Commission
- Advocacy for the victims of TADA and Special Task Force (STF)
- Campaign for setting up the Committee for relief and rehabilitation of TADA
- Lobbying with the 2nd National Commission on Labour (NCL)
- Lobbying for State Action Plan for Eliminating Child Labour
- Advocacy with Press Council of India (PCI)
- Advocacy for Tribal and Dalit Evacuees of Sea Bird Project
- Advocacy and Campaign against POTA
- Campaign Against Constitutional Review
- Campaign Against Death Penalty
- Campaign for the Implementation of the NPC’s Report
- South India Level Campaign Against Torture
- Campaign on the use of Right to Information Laws
- Campaign for Setting up the Complaints Committee on Sexual Harassment
- Campaign Against Child Labourvictims in M.M.Hills
i. Publications: SICHREM has created a “gadget” to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and a poster on the 55th and 60th Anniversary. The UDHR, the NSC Report, the Protection of Human Rights Act and the Guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have all been translated into kannada and published. A book on Police-Community Partnership was also published recently. In addition, SICHREM publishes a quarterly newsletter ‘Nyaya’ (justice), which carries information on the activities of the organisation.
Fund Utilisation Statement
The funds raised in the TCS world 10K Bangalore 2015 will be used for Human Rights Helpline and victims of Human Rights violations.