Educating population against torture.
In India torture remains a deep rooted and accepted mechanism at many levels for elicitation of information and control despite India’s status as a democracy and a record number of human rights bodies for monitoring of torture.
While on the one hand it is the state institutions who engage in torture, on the other hand perpetrators do so on hapless victims in order to threaten them into submission and conformity.
Torture includes assault, physical abuse, rape, threats to life, psychological humiliation and deprivation of basic rights and dignity by perpetrators, both state and privately sponsored.
It leads to deep emotional scars on the victim and their families and creates a society that is fragmented and divisive. Swanchetan has worked with several organizations as to how to provide counseling to victims of torture.
A girl narrates stories from her village.
Documentation by human rights organization suggests that more than a million persons fall victim to torture every year in India. In most of these cases it is the most vulnerable sections of society – dalit women, religious minorities and the poor who are targeted in this.
Several human rights organizations in India and abroad have been asking Swanchetan for training of its staff and grass roots leaders working on human rights violations, we have been partnering with them on furthering the evaluation and monitoring mechanism used by them introducing psychological parameters.
Swanchetan has recently conducted a study on torture faced by dalit women in several large states. We plan to expand the study to all over India to document the psychological trauma of torture on the dalit community. This is at present a felt need by many representatives of the dalit community and their leaders as this can highlight their oppression by the upper caste in an evidence manner and the systems responsible for protecting them.
End of a workshop healing workshop—village youth celebrate.
Swanchetan hopes that:
-- The UN convention against torture and its optional protocol is ratified by
-- The victim impact statements to be made part of the criminal justice
-- Psychologists and psychiatrists be involved in investigations of child abuse
-- The legislation that makes torture a punishable offence thereby providing
for the protection of victims is enacted by our Government.