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Defending the voiceless

sunil naliyath
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in aid ofA legal aid camp organised by HRLNPhoto: By special arrangement
in aid ofA legal aid camp organised by HRLNPhoto: By special arrangement

ORIGIN:Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) is a group of legal professionals, social workers and activists who have joined hands to fight against legal violations, social oppression and most importantly, spreading legal awareness among the general public. Founded in the early eighties, HRLN is a national organisation with as many as 25 chapters spread across the country. In Kerala, Human Rights Law Network has two units, one each at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi respectively. The Kochi unit of HRLN became functional in the year 2002 and ever since it has initiated numerous activities in close collaboration with lawyers, social workers, interns and organisations in close succession. The Kochi unit also has been doing law-related research in some specific areas.

ACTIVITIES:Advocating for the cause of the general public through Public Interest Litigations (PIL) and providing legal aid and counselling to the weaker sections of the society have always been the primary activities of Human Rights Law Network. “We have always been glued to the issues concerning the marginalised and deprived, for whom approaching a legal professional is in real terms a far-fetched proposition,” says Adv. Sandhya, who is one of the directors of HRLN. Providing free legal aid for the disabled has been one of HRLN’s predominant activities. Another specific area where they have been putting ample focus is the legal issues faced by HIV-infected individuals. However, providing legal aid, rendering legal awareness and moving litigations, if need be, to women and children always gets top priority at Human Rights Law Network.

“Too much persuasion is required to bring women to register a formal complaint against even the goriest domestic violence,” remarks Sandhya. “The problem with the society at large is the lack of legal literacy. As such, one of our primary objectives is to empower people at least to speak out for their own for which we provide constant counselling and sessions by legal experts,” she adds.

IMPACT:Through the intervention and support of Human Rights Law Network, many hapless individuals got a new lease of life who would otherwise have remained unheard and hopeless. The diverse and diligent set of programmes such as legal aid camps, workshops, seminars, counselling and legal proceedings targeting people at the grass-root level, have brought a world of difference in their life, most of whom have been suffering discrimination of all kinds in silence.

GETTING IN TOUCH:To know more about Human Rights Law Network, Kochi Unit and their varied legal activities, call 0484-2390680 or email them at hrln.cochin@gmail.com

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