Work against discrimination

Supporting marginalized groups to take the lead in their fight against discrimination is a core component of NHRF’s work. Read more about our work against discrimination in the year that passed here.

The majority of our grantees work with groups that often face multiple forms of discrimination based on their gender, caste, sexual orientation, ethnicity and other diverse identities. In 2019, we increased our focus on land, environmental and workers’ rights and the connection between them with targeted calls for proposals and other activities.

Read more in our 2019 Annual Report.

Land and environmental rights

In 2019, the NHRF began supporting three new organizations in Mexico that are working on land and environmental rights. Consultoría Técnica Comunitaria, A.C. (CONTEC, see main photo) works in the defense of four indigenous communities in Chihuahua, Mexico – a region impacted by large development plans for tourism and organized crime, which have led to disputes over land. The security situation in Chihuahua is highly challenging for human rights defenders, and CONTEC provides security and self-protection training for its staff and network. The NHRF also started supporting two networks of indigenous women defenders, one of them being Red de Formadoras Kualinemilis A.C. (Kualinemilis) in Puebla. In a context where there are high levels of violence against women and prospective megaprojects posing a threat to the rights of indigenous communities, Kualinimelis is training 30 women and young men to defend their land.

After the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018, NHRF grantee, Jeeva, trained approximately 300 LGBTQI-workers for work life with knowledge on workers’ rights and grievance redressal mechanisms.

Marginalized communities in India and Pakistan continue to face neglect, discrimination, violence and severe difficulties in obtaining justice. In 2019, the NHRF increased its focus on workers’ rights, particularly on women and girl workers. Businesses and governments have increased their attention to the area of business and human rights, and some initiatives are bringing them together to implement measures to counteract modern forms of slavery.

According to The Global Slavery Index, nearly 8 million people (6/1000) were living in modern slavery in India in 2018, and approximately 3 million people (16/1000) in Pakistan. In response to this, the NHRF concluded a call for proposals in India and Pakistan with a focus on workers’ rights and decent working conditions. In India the theme for the call for proposals was “Women at work”, focusing on the experiences of women and girl workers.

NHRF’s support to the Hari Welfare Association has been important to the successful passing of the Women Agricultural Workers Act in the Sindh Provincial Assembly. The Act aims to end abuse and discrimination against women agricultural workers (Photo: Hari Welfare Association).

In Pakistan, the NHRF supported the Labour Education Foundation, who has contributed to setting up a workers’ committee to protect against bonded labor in the brick kiln industry, and provided training and legal education to over 100 brick kiln workers in Punjab. We also supported Women in Struggle for Empowerment to provide crucial outreach to vulnerable domestic workers in Punjab, helping them with social security registration, orientation around their rights, and advocating for the effective implementation of the newly passed Domestic Workers Act 2019.

Marpu Society in Andhra Pradesh, India, has secured legal papers for land ownership of 415 acres of land, that has been distributed to 326 landless Dalit agricultural workers. The picture shows tomatoes grown in the secured land. The NHRF Project Coordinator visited the land together with Fagforbundet and the Marpu team.

The NHRF is glad to have started a new partnership with the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), that works towards ending caste discrimination. The project the NHRF supports works with Dalit women and gender justice, equality and participation, and business and human rights – with a particular focus on vulnerable workers. Among their many activities in 2019, IDSN participated in the UN Business and Human Rights Forum.