Tamil Nadu’s Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe populations continue to experience discrimination and incidences of crimes against their communities despite the laws that are in place to protect them.
How are we helping
Supporting our partners to build the capacity of Dalit and Adivasi Human Rights Defenders and civil society organisations to work with state government for more effective monitoring and implementation of anti-discrimination laws.
About the project
Tamil Nadu has a population of 72.1 million with 20 per cent from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities. This demographic experiences discrimination, while conviction rates for crimes against caste populations are generally low. The state level acquittal rate for crimes against these communities is 92 percent: 11 out of 32 districts in Tamil Nadu have zero per cent conviction rates.
The Government has enacted progressive legislation, programmes, and schemes for the development and empowerment of the SCs and STs, and to further protect these populations. The 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (POA) makes regular progress reports mandatory for each state, and requires district and state authorities to enforce and monitor implementation of legislation. Despite these legislative protections, there is low awareness of the POA’s provisions among Dalit Human Right Defenders (DHRDs) advocating for the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, and the monitoring mechanisms do not function adequately.
This project will see civil society work with the government for a more effective implementation and monitoring of the POA Act in Tamil Nadu. The project will achieve this by:
- gathering evidence of implementation of the POA Act at district and state levels for an annual status report
- building the capacity of DHRDs and civil society organisations (CSOs) to monitor the implementation of the POA Act and to engage with district and state processes and structures
- discussing the annual status report at district level multi-stakeholder round tables, and state level multi-stakeholder conventions to influence public opinion and generate support for the implementation of the POA Act
- creating Citizens Vigilance and Monitoring Committees (CVMCs) at the state and district levels to broaden engagement with governance institutions and the general public and contribute to multi-stakeholder meetings that will advocate for better implementation of the Act and the prevention of crimes
- creating 33 state level civil society networks to monitor the implementation of the POA Act using evidence from government sources and develop a database on the performance of special court judges and government officials involved with investigating or prosecuting caste crimes.
By the end of the project, it is expected that 66 DHRDs and 33 CSOs will be empowered with a new set of skills to hold government to account using an evidence-based approach. The creation of the CVMCs will also contribute to the improved implementation and monitoring of the POA Act.
Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation (HRF), established in 1993, works in India to protect and promote the human rights of socially excluded communities and vulnerable persons through training, research, and advocacy. HRF has conducted social campaigns for the promotion and protection of human rights and worked at the district, state, and national levels. It has been a pioneer in promoting and protecting the rights of the socially excluded communities and vulnerable persons in Tamil Nadu.
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