Every Mother Counts Staff
May 21, 2013
There are many ways to go about improving maternal healthcare and one organization we’ve recently become aware of is taking a really unique approach. Nazdeek (which means ‘to be close’ in Urdu) is a team of transnational lawyers, researchers and activists who are going about it through strategic public interest litigation – taking the organizations and individuals who stand in the way of women accessing their rights to healthcare in South Asia to court.
Nazdeek was co-founded by Sukti Dhital, a Nepalese-American human rights lawyer, Jayshree Satpute an Indian lawyer and human rights activist and Francesca Feruglio an Italian researcher and human rights activist. The three women met while working together at an NGO and despite language barriers and culture clashes they formed a bond and common passion for using the legal system to improve the lives of the poor. By strategically filing cases they’re bringing positive changes to communities who live with appalling human rights violations. They’ve been able to improve housing, healthcare and food security for some of the least supported and least represented people on earth.
In addition to filing (and winning) cases, Nazdeek works to make their efforts sustainable by working for 18 months in specific communities to teach citizens about their human rights and how to defend them. Nazdeek partners with grassroots organizations to train community members on all stages of strategic litigation. They build community-level networks that increase a community’s ability to engage in their own legal processes and demand accountability from local, health and government leaders.
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Brutal Beating of Woman by Delhi Police: Time to Demand More
On April 24, 2013, a mere two days after the Supreme Court of India remarked that “even an animal won’t do what the police officers are doing everyday in different parts of the country”, three community members, including one woman, living in a slum cluster in West Delhi were brutally beaten by the Delhi police. Bite marks, a fractured foot, and, intensive chest beatings caused severe physical and emotional harm, with one of the victims Preeti, rendered temporarily unconscious, and suffering from seizures, shortness of breath, and intense chest pain several days after the incident.
In harrowing testimony, we hear directly from affected community members and activists from Nazdeek and World Faith India (HAQ) on the brutality of the Delhi police. Victims speak on the state of lawlessness within the police system, with officers routinely extorting money from community members, and resorting to violence to harass and intimidate innocent citizens, including women. This illegality persists despite a global outpouring of anger on the issue of violence against women in India, and existing laws and policies targeted to address police brutality and gender-based violence. As the heartbreaking stories from Baljeet Nagar reveal, the aftermath fails to add up.
The time is now. Please share this video and join the fight to end police brutality. Together we’ll be working with the Baljeet Nagar community to demand a more accountable, gender-sensitive police force.
Nazdeek, meaning “to be close” in Urdu, is a human rights organization committed to bringing access to social and economic justice closer to marginalized communities in South Asia. Through on the ground legal support to grassroots organizations, we develop strategic litigation and build community-based networks to increase accountability. Leveraging the power of local and transnational networking, we work with communities in developing tools to demand and secure justice.