What we do
Fact-findings are undertaken immediately following incidents of atrocities against Dalits and Tribals in order to establish the facts of an incident and compile the necessary documentary evidence enabling the victims/survivors to access formal justice through the law. We focus on taking on cases that have affected them Dalit and Tribal women and children, for instance through our Women Witness Program. Based on the fact-finding reports, interventions are made before the courts, various state mechanisms and human rights bodies. Further, incidents of atrocities and efforts towards ensuring justice for the victims/survivors are highlighted through the media in order to raise awareness. We have so far been successful in ensuring the due implementation of the law following all atrocity cases in which we have intervened. Further, in order to help the victims/survivors recover and move on with their lives, Evidence undertakes counselling and rehabilitation efforts when possible.
Advocacy, Campaigns & Social Mobilization
We have been encouraging various people's organizations and movements to form unified platforms in support of Dalit victims/survivors of human rights violations at their local levels. These are issue based efforts through which immediate interventions in cases of rights violations are made possible, affected victims/survivors are turned into activists deciding the nature of action, and solidarity is widened for both the victim/survivor and the issue. This involves joint actions in the form of protests, demonstrations, public meetings, small level campaigns to bring visibility and thereby generate support for the victims/survivors at the local level and increase pressure on local police and government officials to take effective action.
Capacity Building & Training Program
We conduct regular training programs for Dalit human rights activists on human rights intervention strategies. Dalit activists from small organizations and sociopolitical movements are the targets for such capacitation, in which we also share our experiences and learnings with each other in order to enable the transfer of ideas on best practices in the field of human rights intervention. Through our Women Justice Forums, where participants can meet, support and learn from each other, we have a special focus on capacitating and mobilizing women Dalit activists. Our contact with the training participants does not end with training; instead, we follow their progress, equip them further and provide support for their independent work in this field. Moreover, many become our collaborators in their local areas, involving themselves in rights monitoring and research, in mobilizing civil rights groups, undertaking fact-findings, and initiating local campaigns for justice on behalf of the victims.
To sensitize civil society on the situation of marginalized communities, to seek solidarity for the affected victims of rights violations and to widen the support for Dalit rights, Evidence conducts media interventions. These interventions also seek to motivate the media to strenghten their writing on the underlying causes of atrocities and untouchability practices, in order to pressurize government mechanisms to act to protect Dalit rights. Our sustained efforts to engage the media mean that today Evicence's activities and interventions are regularly covered in several state and national newspapers and TV-channels. Media has an important role in creating awareness on social issues and it is critical for us to be a part of that.
Studies & Monitoring
A systematic effort has been taken to produce concrete and irrefutable facts on various aspects of caste and gender based discrimination against Dalits in the social, economic and political spheres. Such research has been the basis for our advocacy and lobbying with the government, enabling us to press for change at the policy level and to ensure effective implementation of laws and policies. Efforts are also taken to ensure that the results of these studies are disseminated to the local and state media in order to create awareness of continuing forms of discrimination. Read our study reports here.
Round Table Discussions & Public Hearings
These discussions, or consultations, are platforms for victims/survivors of human rights violations and state and district government officials to interact in order to build understanding and dialogue, as well as to ensure legal action on specific cases where required. Through this process the victims/survivors learn about the legal process and the different avenues for pursuing redressal. Representatives from CSOs, people's movements, political parties and trade unions also participate in order to put forth valuable recommendations for the better implementation of government laws and policies. Consequent to these consultations, district officials and those from the State AdiDravida Welfare Department, including the Minister of this department, have intervened in certain issues and directed action in line with our recommendations; this includes calling for implementation of an action plan to eradicate child labour.
Caste discrimination and violence cannot be abolished through laws, policies and government schemes only; what is required is a comprehensive social, educational, economic and political change. Unfortunately, the State does not have the political will to bring about these changes and promote social equity. Instead, conflicting social/caste groups tend to become more divided and efforts towards bridging differences and peace building are not attempted. As an organization which strives for social justice and equality, we believe in not only acting once discrimination and atrocities occur. We also want to change the mindsets of people towards respecting and recognizing the equal rights of oppressed communities such as Dalits and Tribals. Only then will our vision become reality. Social Dialogue is an experimental program aiming to create peace building processes between conflicting communities in order to prevent further conflicts, atrocities and hatred, and to revive the spirit of solidarity among citizens. Starting with those cases in which we have intervened, possible conflicting groups are encouraged to share and understand the causes and consequences of their conflicts with the aim to facilitate acceptable solutions for all with the help of eminent social, political and cultural actors.