Creating a policy and protocol framework for protecting people's rights
The project is housed at the University of California at Berkeley, at the Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership at the Haas School of Business. It is supported by partners from other academic and advocacy institutions in India, United States, and elsewhere.
This project seeks to create a policy and protocol framework for protecting people’s rights in situations of internal armed conflict and mass violence, to facilitate psychosocial healing and the amelioration of abuses. India serves as a case in point, given that several diverse parts of the country are beset by armed conflict. Civilian populations—especially children, youth, women and minorities—suffer in the absence of adequate governance, access to responsible development, and the preservation of human rights.
The National Human Rights Commission of India, in its submission to the UN Human Rights Council for India’s Second Universal Periodic Review (2008), stated: “There are inordinate delays in the provision of justice... There is still no national action plan for human rights.”
Drawing on international, regional, and local expertise, the project aims to develop two inter-related but separate outputs: a Policy document and several Protocols.
Contemporary conflicts and transitional contexts will inform the development of this policy and the protocols. The regions of Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, and Chhattisgarh are differently but persistently affected by conflict, with conflict-related issues intermittently recurring in Punjab. Additionally, areas such as Gujarat and Odisha have been impacted by far-reaching violence on minority communities in recent history. These conflicts are spurred by a myriad of issues, including cultural and communal identity, religionization, self-determination, and economic empowerment. Such conflicts can have far-reaching human impact and lead to intense psychosocial and economic suffering of civilian populations in the affected areas, collapse of responsible governance, development, and social protection mechanisms, and can also have a broader disruptive effect impacting national, regional, and global security.
The importance of this project lies in the fact that nothing close to a policy framework with attendant protocols currently exists in India that protects civilians and their rights in areas of armed conflict and mass violence, in a way that is consistent with India’s legal, ethical, and constitutional obligations, even as brutal conflicts and suffering continue.
If such a policy framework is adopted in India, and appropriate technical protocols are implemented with the aid and participation of civil society and affected populations, it would serve as a model for other countries.
In the development of the Policy and Protocols, this project will focus on questions of transitional and transformative justice; governance and rule of law; people’s rights and humanitarian considerations during and after conflict; as well as multi-sectoral approaches, including involving education technology and social enterprise, toward inclusive development.
The key concerns include access to justice and conflict resolution; accountability and human rights; rule of law; minority rights; religious freedom; development inequity; gendered violence; memory and healing; and mechanisms for restitution and redressal.
Policy and Protocols
The Policy will be a document proposing a general course of action with the long-term goal of justice and stability across the country.
The Protocols -- blueprints of standards and steps for accountability and reparation pertaining to healing through transitional and transformative justice in areas of current conflict and post-conflict -- will be specific to the issues presented by various conflicts in India. Topics of the protocols will include:
In the course of producing these outputs, the project will involve those affected by conflict in conceiving redress; initiate cross-cultural dialogue; facilitate remembrance and documentation; and involve progressive civil society and the next generation in India, the Diaspora, and the global community in dialogue on peace, nonviolence, and transformative and transitional justice.
The project will draw on diverse and plural imaginations of rights and justice in local, customary, and global traditions, in creating a framework for acknowledgement and remorse, accountability and justice, and healing and restitution.
The project will avoid taking positions on political questions, focusing instead on human rights and humanitarian concerns.
The Project is Co-chaired by: Dr. Shashi Buluswar and Dr. Angana Chatterji.
The Project’s Working Group is comprised of two Sub-Groups; Dr. Buluswar will head the Policy Sub-Group and Dr. Chatterji will head the Protocol Sub-Group. The Working Group combines technical experts and scholars with individuals who have relevant experience with broad social issues in India, existing international frameworks, as well as current and recent incidents of unrest in India. The Working Group Members (the composition of which may change over the course of the endeavor, to include additional individuals with specific areas of expertise) are:
We are assisted by the following Partners:
We are assisted by the following:
Engagement: The Working Group will engage with affected communities, and periodically engage with members of the Government of India and the Parliament of India.
Opportunities for Students: The project is engaging exceptional graduate students and select undergraduate students from UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and other institutions, as well as from various impacted communities in India and the Indian Diaspora in the U.S. The project will also engage age-appropriate youth from affected communities in the work of creating archives, experimenting with photography and videography, and documenting remembrance.