Request for information on rape and sexual violence in BMER communities

Dr Aisha Gill (Roehampton University) would like to invite you to submit anonymised cases studies of rape and sexual violence in the BMER community that your organisation or you have dealt with in your work on issues related to violence against women (VAW) as advocates and support caseworkers. The findings will be used to build a case for the importance of specialist service provision for such women and young girls. The intended aim of this request for information of this kind is to also influence government policy across a range of VAW areas in the BMER sector. It is an opportunity for those of us working with violence against women’s issues to have an input into an important national debate about the need for specialist services that is long over due. This invitation is to also to ask you what you think are the big questions and issues for BMER women experiencing a range of abuses in their lives. For example I am interested in:

1. What are the particular issues facing BMER women in terms of reporting rape and sexual violence to the criminal justice system?
2. What are some of the main concerns for BMER women in terms of the experience of rape and sexual violence?
3. What challenges do BMER women face in relation to accessing specialist support related to rape and sexual violence?

I would like to know where gaps in knowledge and resources are and what evidence is missing to effectively lobby for change in this sector. In return for your time to send me case studies I intend to make available a policy briefing paper which can be used for lobbying purposes for the BMER VAW sector.

Please also feel free to pass this invitation on to others you think would be interested.
For more information about this piece of work contact me on a.gill@roehampton.ac.uk or call 0208 392 3893.

Your time is truly appreciated and I very much look forward to your
response. I do hope you will be able to input.

Aisha Gill

Dr Aisha Gill
Senior Lecturer in Criminology
School of Social Sciences,
Roehampton University, Roehampton Lane,
London, SW15 5SL
Tel: +44 (0)208 392 3893/ 07956 116278
Email: a.gill@roehampton.ac.uk


Gaia Von-Hatzfeldt

Gaia Von-Hatzfeldt is doing a masters in 'law and society' at the LSE. Gaia is currently working on a dissertation which is focusing on 'jan sunwais' as promulgated by MKSS, a social movement fighting corruption in rural areas of Rajasthan.


Geetanjoy Sahu

Geetanjoy Sahu is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development(CISED), Bangalore, India.
Geetanjoy recently completed Ph.D in Political Science at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore. Geetanjoy Sahu's doctoral research is on Environmental Governance and Role of Judiciary in India.

Wing Commander U C Jha (Retd)

Wing Commander U C Jha (Retd) worked in the Indian Air Force for 24 years. After taking pre-mature retirement Wing Commander Jha enrolled at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, JNU as Ph D student in July 2002. He submitted his thesis tilted "Military Justice System in India" in July 2007.

He has worked as Consultant (Legal) with National Human Rights Commission for three years. He has been visiting faculty at Indian Law Institute, the Indian Society for International Law, and the United Services Institute, New Delhi. He is also a resource person for the International Committee of the Red Cross on International Humanitarian Law.

Rohit De

Rohit De is a graduate student at the Department of History at Princeton. His primary interest is in South Asian legal history and he is particularly interested in studying the courtroom as a space where the relationship between the state and the citizen is mediated. His recent research focuses on Muslim family law, gender and the discourses of modernity in late colonial India. Rohit graduated with a B.A, LL.B (Hons) degree from the National Law School of India University and completed his LL.M at the Yale Law School in 2006. Before starting at Princeton, Rohit spent a year as the Fox International Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University

Swethaa Ballakrishnen

She is a '04 graduate of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research and a recent ('08) graduate of Harvard Law School (where she did an LL.M with a shared focus in international finance and the sociology of legal education).

Before coming to Harvard, she was a corporate lawyer with the Mumbai offices of Amarchand Mangaldas and a research associate and lecturer at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (where she taught parts of the legal methods and family law courses and offered for senior students a seminar in international finance). At HLS, she worked closely with the Harvard History Project (her graduate thesis was a paper on the history of South Asian law students at HLS) and was on the board of the South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA).



I am a recent graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, and have begun work as a Research Assistant to Prof. Madhava Menon at the Commission on Centre-State Relations, Government of India. My primary areas of interest and public law and human rights. Last year, I had the opportunity to work at the Fran├žois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University where I analyzed the operation of the right to health during the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH, 1993-1996) and the problems experienced as a result of the Mission's narrow mandate that privileged civil-political rights over socio-economic rights. I have also been a Junior Ethics Fellow at the World Health Organization, Geneva, where I researched on substantive equality and the allocation of scarce medical resources. In addition, I have clerked with Justice SB Sinha and Justice HS Bedi at the Supreme Court of India, as well as worked with organizations such as Lawyers Collective, Pratham and the World Bank. My published in journals such as the International Community Law Review, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Judicial Review, Economic & Political Weekly and so on.


B.A., Toronto (1967), Ph.D. (Warwick, 1976). Teaches legal and social history at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Department of History at York University, Toronto. Visiting appointments as Professor of Canadian Studies at Yale and as SSRC Professorial Fellow in Socio‑legal Studies at the University of Warwick; visiting scholar at Centre for Criminology University of Toronto and Columbia University Law School. Co‑edited and contributed to Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth‑Century England (1975), Labour, Law and Crime in Historical Perspective (1987), Policing and Prosecution in Britain 1750‑1850 (1989), Friends of the Chief Justice: The William Osgoode Correspondence (1990), Eighteenth‑Century English Society (1997) Masters, Servants, and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire (2004); articles and chapters on English and Canadian legal history appear in other collections and in history and law journals. Elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society for Legal History 1985‑88 and for the term beginning 2000, and member of the board of Law and History Review from 1983‑1992. Service on committees, boards, or journals of the Law and Society Association, the Canadian Historical Association, and the Social Science History Association. The Chorley Lecturer (London School of Economics), the Iredell Lecturer in Legal History (University of Lancaster), The Hugh Alan Maclean Lecturer (University of Victoria Faculty of Law), the Weir Memorial Lecturer (University of Alberta School of Law) the Annual Lecturer for the American Society of Legal History 2002, the Hugh Fitzpatrick Lecturer in Legal Bibliography. Co-director of the York International Master and Servant Project on employment law in what was the British Empire from the 16th to 20th centuries; current work also includes studies of the administration of English criminal law and of the court of King's Bench in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Courses taught include History of Canadian Law, Law and Social Change in an Age of Freedom of Contract, Western Legal Histories, Law Property and Freedom in Britain and its Empire, History of Criminal Law and its Administration, History of Canadian Legal Institutions, Law and Social Justice. On sabbatical leave 2008-2009.









SC blasts Gujarat on FIR against Nandy

"Nothing in the article is objectionable," a Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir said, while restraining the Narender Modi Government from arresting Nandy
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rebuked the Gujarat government for initiating criminal proceedings against political analyst Ashis Nandy for writing an article in a national daily allegedly having communal overtones.
"Nothing in the article is objectionable," a Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir said while restraining the Narender Modi Government from arresting Nandy.
"Concerned authorities and officials of the Gujarat Government will not take any steps to arrest Nandy in respect of the proceedings arising from the FIR registered in relation to the article," it said.
However, hours after the order was pronounced, Nandy's counsel Rakesh Khanna and Gaurang Kanth informed the bench that the scholar has been served with a summons notice by the Gujarat Police to appear before Satellite police station officials in Ahmedabad on July 8.
Taking their submission on record, the Bench cancelled the summons and said "Any further summons issued against Nandy in future relating to the case will stand quashed."
During the hearing, the Bench disapproved the prosecution of 71-year-old scholar for the article saying "there is no ground for harassing a journalist."
"Let him live in peace. You (Gujarat) are prosecuting this man for his article," the Bench said referring to the article on post-assembly election analysis.
"There are worst things happening in this country," it said expressing anguish over the state government's move to register an FIR on a private complaint.
The apex court was also critical of V K Saxena, President of the Ahmedabad-based NGO, National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), on whose complaint the FIR was registered under section 153A (promoting communal disharmony) and 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) of Indian Penal Code. "What is the grievance of the complainant. How does it (article) bother him. Is he a staunch nationalist," the Bench observed, questioning the motive behind filing the complaint.
"People coming from the land of Gandhiji have become so intolerant that they can't even tolerate an article," the Bench, also comprising Justice G S Singhvi observed.
"They look for a soft target to catch but not even a single politician or small municipal councilors are caught ...," the Bench further said refusing to consider the submission of Gujarat government counsel Hemantika Wahi that the investigation was in initial stages.
The apex court was hearing the petition filed by Nandy against the order of the Delhi High Court which had refused to provide him an interim protection against arrest.
The High Court will now hear his writ petition in which he has sought quashing of the FIR.
In the FIR, it was alleged that Nandy's article related to assembly election results disturbed communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims.
However, Nandy contended that the FIR was registered out of malafide intention. He said that the FIR was aimed at penalising and depriving him of expressing his bonafide views.
His counsel said that the state government has picked up a line from the article published in a national daily and accused him of promoting communal disharmony.


Recognize sexwork as legitimate work

Recognize sexwork as legitimate work
Criminalizing sexworkers or clients is counter productive
National Day of Action1st JULY 2008 (Tuesday),
Don't destroy the livelihood of Sexworkers by criminalizing their clients
Drop Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act amendment process Immediately
Karnataka State Coalition Against ITPA(Constituent Organizations: Aneka, Ashodaya Samithi, Jyothi Mahila Sangha,Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Karnataka Sexworkers Union, LesBiT,Samara, Sangama, Sangram, Suraksha, Swathi Mahila Sangha, Veshya AnyayMukthi Parishad, Vijaya Mahila Sangha) invites you to the 3 PM PUBLIC RALLY from Chikka Lalbagh (Majestic) to Mysore BankCircle 5 PM PUBLIC MEETING at Mysore Bank CircleSitamarhi, Bihar: Mob attacks sexworkers and burns down 250 houses infront of policeCalicut, Kerala: Sexworkers evicted from their homes and their housesburnt by the cadres of the ruling partyChannapattana, Karnataka: Goondas (supported by police) brutally attacksexworkers who had gathered to peacefully demonstrate for rightsDelhi: Police forcibly pick up 70 adult sexworkers in Delhi, in grossviolation of their basic rights and detain them in jails and protectivehomes of Andhra Pradesh, under the guise of rescuing/ helping/ reformingsexworkersThese are not isolated incidents but witness to the growing intoleranceand prejudice against sexworkers. Sexworkers face constant policeviolence, goonda violence and extreme social rejection. Hounded by thegoondas and constantly harassed by the police, sexworkers are in danger ofnot only getting marginalized but also becoming far more vulnerable toHIV-AIDS. As sexworkers are forced to run from street to street, adoptingsafer sex practices, accessing health care services or even using condomsbecomes almost impossible in spite of their best efforts to save theirlives. As a large part of their earnings go to police, goondas and theGovernment (as court fines), they are forced to work long hours, servemore clients and often put themselves at risk. Constantly they are coercedto compromise with everyone because of the fear of false cases beingfoisted on them, as well as being insulted and humiliated in public anddenied even basic dignity and respect.The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) criminalizes most aspects ofsexwork by equating 'voluntary adult sexwork' with trafficking.Trafficking - the business of forcing children and adults against theirwill into various forms of work including sexwork, is totally unacceptableto us. Sexworkers have been struggling against the unfairness in ITPA.Police make use of ITPA to harass, abuse and extort money from sexworkersmost of who are disadvantaged in many waysTo make matters worse the Central Government has proposed to amend theITPA to punish the clients of sexworkers. The logic behind the move issupposedly to prevent trafficking of people into sexwork by reducingdemand for sexwork. There is enough evidence from numerous countries thatcriminalizing clients of sexworkers doesn't help in combating traffickingbut only pushes sexwork underground making sexworkers more vulnerable toviolence and HIV infection. The Central Government is planning to go aheadwith this in spite of protests from sexworkers and human rights activistsfor the last few years. This process will deny sexworkers basic right forsurvival and livelihood. In a democracy, the government must duly consultall concerned and affected people before amending any law. But the Uniongovernment has been ignoring the voices of the sexworkers in the ITPAamendment process. The role of the government should be to enable sexworkers to access their social entitlements and rights.Sexworkers have broken their long silence. They have been forming theirown organizations, strengthening their communities, engaging with thesociety at large and supporting Governmental efforts in combatingHIV-AIDS. They have been extending solidarity and support to the strugglesof various marginalized people including women, dalits, adivasis,minorities, the poor, workers and others.We request all citizens to join hands with us to demand that thegovernment drop the ITPA amendment process immediately.