Women’s Justice … The violation of women’s fundamental rights through physical, mental, emotional, and sexual violence against women has become almost commonplace in the Indian context. Violence against women has taken particularly acute forms in circumstances where populations are already marginalized, such as in areas affected by armed conflict, areas undergoing mass displacement. Women in the Tribal belts and amongst Dalit populations are already vulnerable, and become even more so in areas affected by conflict. There is therefore a pressing need for the judiciary to recognize and address the particular forms of violence levied against women who are ‘doubly marginalised’ by caste, class, religion, or in situations conflict. Customary routinely laws discriminate against women, both by denying justice to victims of violence and by dispossessing women from their shares in land and property. A number of laws that protect women from discrimination have also either inadequate, or have not been properly implemented. HRLN has been intimately connected with the women’s movement for over two decades. The Women’s Justice Initiative (WJI) is our national network of lawyers and social activists, using the law to oppose all forms of gender-based discrimination and violence against women and to increase women’s access to the justice system as a vital means to their empowerment.             What We Do? The framework of ‘women’s justice’ involves not only the prevention of specific forms of violence and discrimination against women, but also encompasses all other human rights, including the right to food and health; disability, housing labour rights; dalit/ tribal/ adivasi rights; environmental justice; criminal justice, etc. With this holistic vision of equality and gender justice, WJI works directly with poor and marginalized women as well as through legal education, advocacy and policy analysis to continue the struggle for women’s rights. In order to achieve our objectives, the WJI adopts a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the various facets of women’s rights violations. The WJI engages in strategic litigation through PILs in the High Courts and the Supreme Court for systematic changes as well as the implementation of policy and women’s rights laws. Through legal aid and counseling we provide women with representation women in cases including divorce, domestic violence, matrimonial remedies, guardianship, custody, adoption, property rights, sexual harassment, etc. The WJI is also active in opposing bail of the accused in cases of violence against women, particularly in cases of rape, dowry harassment, domestic violence, and acid-attacks. Lawyers working with the WJI provide legal counseling to women at various women’s crime cells, and to women prisoners. We provide legal expertise as member of several committees, including as members of several sexual harassment complaint committees across the country. The WJI also runs a number of helplines throughout the country that provide legal counseling as well as some and psychosocial support to women. WJI responds to situations of crisis through emergency dispatch of legal teams for support in crisis-affected zones, through investigative missions and through legal fact-findings, which often become the basis for further litigation to address severe women’s rights violations. We also consistently monitor and review the implementation of laws and policies related to women. Through legal education and training for social activists, mahila panchayats, police personnel, lawyers, law students, paralegals, etc., we work to integrate women’s issues into the general discourse on justice and human rights. Judicial colloquia and legal consultations is a crucial aspect of our work, to sensitize judges and strategize the development of women’s rights law in India. The WJI also supports campaigns to influence public opinion, policies and legislation in support of a violence-free society for women. A core operational element of the WJI is the degree to which the team works in solidarity with other organizations. As such, WJI has nurtured deep partnerships with grassroots women’s NGOs, supporting them in the collective struggle to address the public denial of women’s rights.

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