Our Work


While there are numerous ways to effectively address poverty, we believe that the rule of law is a powerful tool that communities can use to protect their rights. Our work fuses training, legal action and advocacy to increase accountability in the delivery of social and economic entitlements. We believe that communities who understand their rights and have the practical tools to identify, document and report violations are more empowered and in turn more effective in ensuring laws and court decisions are implemented.

What started as an idea for grassroots justice with limited resources only 4 years ago is today a thriving organization with a team of committed advocates and institutional support to address some of the world's most urgent crises: maternal mortality, starvation, forced labor, and illegal demolition.

Where We Work


Assam

The northeastern state of Assam is the world's largest tea growing region and accounts for more than 52% of India's tea. With more than 6 million people dependent on the Assam tea industry, tea workers are the largest organized sector in India. They are also the lowest paid, earning a meager Rs 126/day far below the state minimum wage of Rs 240/day.

Forcibly brought by the British from the tribal tracts of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh in the 1840's, Adivasi (indigenous) labourers began a journey marked by 'generational servitude.' Left with no option but to live and work on the plantations, they were isolated from Assam's mainstream in a system designed to maintain control and breed profit. Four generations later, the workers remain segregated, dependent on the tea management for livelihood, health, food, and education culminating in high maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, illiteracy and poverty.

Delhi

More than a third of the 20 million people living in the Nation's Capital survive on less than $1.25 a day. Millions are forced to live in slum areas and makeshift camps, struggling to access basic services such as health, nutrition, sanitation and housing entitlements. Many live under a constant threat of eviction from their homes, with little hope for safety and security of tenure. Women and children, particularly from dalit and muslim communities, are the most vulnerable to Delhi's shift towards a "World Class City."

Our Target Rights


Nazdeek's work focuses on four key human rights: adequate housing, health, food and labour rights. These rights, often referred to as economic and social rights, are fundamental guarantees necessary to live with dignity.

THE RIGHT TO ADEQUATE HOUSING

The right to adequate housing is a core component of the right to an adequate standard of living (Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, "ICESCR"). The right mandates a range of protections, such as (1) legal security of tenure, which encompasses protection against forced eviction, harassment and other threats, (2) availability of services, facilities, and infrastructure, (3) accessibility and (4) habitability. Thus, when a State forcibly evicts someone they are violating their obligation to respect that person's right to adequate housing.

In India, the Supreme Court has recognized the right to adequate housing as a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Central Government and various Indian States have enacted several schemes ensuring adequate housing for low and medial income strata of populations, such as the National Urban Housing & Habitat Policy, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal and the Indira Aawas Yojana.

THE RIGHT TO HEALTH

The right to health is recognized as the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The right is an inclusive right, extending not only to timely and appropriate health care, but also to the underlying determinants of health (Art. 12 of ICESCR). States are under an obligation to guarantee that the right to health is available, accessible and of high quality, and imposes specific obligations to protect the rights to maternal, child and reproductive health; healthy workplace and natural environments; the prevention, treatment and control of diseases, including access to essential medicines; access to safe and potable water.

By example, in India the Supreme Court has recognized the right to health as a core component of Article 21 (right to life) of the Indian Constitution. This reading has been possible in the backdrop of Art. 47 of the Directive Principles for State Policy (DPSP), which is not per se enforceable yet it mandates the State to "regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties." In light of the Supreme Court's interpretation of Art. 21, the Government has enacted several schemes guaranteeing universal access to public health services. For example, the National Rural Health Mission is an umbrella scheme providing for health services, financial assistance and nutritional supplements, with specific focus on measures to reduce maternal and infant mortality.

THE RIGHT TO FOOD

Viewed as a core component of 5the right to an adequate standard of living under Art. 11 IESCR, the right to food mandates that food be sufficiently available and accessible to people. This means that the availability of food in a quantity and quality is sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture. States are required to "proactively engage in activities intended to strengthen people's access to and utilization of resources" which includes food security and provide food or the means with which to access food when an individual or community "is unable, for reasons beyond their control, to enjoy the right to adequate food by the means at their disposal."

For example, the Supreme Court of India has held that the right to food is a fundamental right under Article 21 on the Right to Life. India has enacted numerous food schemes targeting below poverty line families, destitute women, children and the elderly. Through schemes such as the Public Distribution Scheme, food is distributed at highly discounted rate through a network of ration shops, varying for States and target groups. Comprehensive schemes are also in place to provide adequate nutrition for pregnant and lactating women (Janani Suraskha Yojana), children attending schools (Midday Meals Scheme), and pre-school programs (Integrated Child Development Scheme).