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Legal Hands-on Session II- Human Rights – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute

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Legal Hands-on Session II- Human Rights

Session Report
Divyansh Dwivedi

#IMPRI Centre for Human Dignity and Development IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi had organised “LPPYF Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship- Cohort 2.0 Winter’23 – Theme: Promoting Human Rights and Ending Gender-Based Violence”, Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship, an immersive legal awareness and action research certificate training course and internship program was organized by Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), to raise the legal awareness, and appreciate learning through the renowned experts in the field.

On Day 3, our second speaker, Adv. Dr. Shalu Nigam,Visiting Senior Fellow IMPRI; Advocate, Author, and Researcher, Gender and Human Rights, fellowship lead advisor, and visiting senior fellow IMPRI, took an insightful session on Legal Hands-on Session II- Human Rights. The session was mainly focused on Dowry Violence. Ma’am during the whole session covered various aspects of dowry violence, and how it has been a menace for women in today’s world. Ma’am initiated the session by making participants understand the nuances of dowry violence through various presentations, and case studies.

Dowry Violence- Need for a Socio-Cultural Transformation

Dowry Violence has seen a major surge in recent times and has been an avid example of economic violence, ma’am added. In addition to this, the session was taken forward by making participants about a case study based out of Kerela. In a matrimonial ceremony in Kerela, the groom demanded a BMW, and 50,000 gold coins as dowry. On refusal by the bride’s family for the BMW, owing to their financial constraints, the groom got furious and as a result, physically assaulted the bride. In another case in Mumbai, the bride was compelled to commit suicide, whereas Lucknow saw a case where a bride was murdered due to dowry. Similar cases have been reported all over the country.

There is a sharp need to make society understand that what is considered as a ritual i.e. dowry is now being converted into a painful process, and endless violence cases, ma’am said. According to a report published by NCRB, every hour, 51 cases of dowry violence have been reported. In 2022 alone, more than 2 lakhs cases of the dowry violence were reported. With the surge in cases of dowry violence, it is now the time we, as a society transform ourselves in a better version, that is more aware of the practicality, rather than following something that has been an avid example of violence by giving it a term of ritual.

Countering the Dowry Violence: Human Rights Perspective

Combating dowry violence requires a comprehensive approach that addresses cultural, legal, and economic aspects while promoting gender equality and individual rights. It is crucial to involve various stakeholders and work collaboratively to bring about lasting change. Some ways were discussed by ma’am, they have been listed below:

  • Legal Measures- Strengthen and enforce anti-dowry laws, ensuring strict punishment for offenders. Implement and monitor the effective implementation of laws against dowry-related violence. It is also necessary to conduct public awareness campaigns to educate people about the illegality and harmful consequences of dowry. Usage of media platforms to challenge cultural norms and stereotypes that contribute to dowry violence.
  • Education Programs- Integrate education on dowry-related issues into school curricula, promoting gender equality, and emphasizing the value of individuals irrespective of their economic status. Provide training for teachers, community leaders, and religious figures to challenge and change harmful cultural practices. Establishment of community groups and organizations that actively work against dowry violence will prove as a game changer in combating the issue. Encourage community members to report instances of dowry violence and provide support for victims.
  • Support Services- Establishment of counseling centers and helplines for victims of dowry violence. Providing legal aid and support for victims seeking justice. Implement economic empowerment programs for women, enabling them to be financially independent. Promote vocational training and entrepreneurship opportunities for women to enhance their economic prospects.
  • Men’s Involvement- One of the most important aspects is to engage men and boys in awareness campaigns to challenge traditional gender roles and eliminate the expectation of dowry. Encouraging men to actively support and promote gender equality within their communities will lead to their mental as well as social development when it comes down to cases of dowry violence. It would be better for them to understand that what women have to go through when victimized by such instances.

Ma’am laid emphasis on each combat measure, and encouraged the participants to be the face of change, and make this society a better place to live in.

Conclusion

Countering dowry violence is a multifaceted endeavor that demands a concerted effort from individuals, communities, and societies at large. At its core, the battle against dowry violence necessitates a shift in societal attitudes and norms, replacing tolerance with zero tolerance for abuse within intimate relationships. Public awareness campaigns play a pivotal role in this transformation, shedding light on the signs, consequences, and available resources related to dowry violence. Education programs, both in schools and workplaces, are indispensable in cultivating a culture of respect, communication, and conflict resolution. Legal measures must be robustly enforced to hold perpetrators accountable, ensuring that the legal system becomes a shield for victims rather than an obstacle. Support services, such as shelters and counseling, provide crucial

lifelines for those seeking refuge from abusive situations. Beyond individual interventions, fostering a sense of community engagement, where neighbors and friends actively speak out against dowry violence, contributes to building a network of support. In essence, countering dowry violence requires a holistic approach, combining legal, educational, and societal efforts to create a culture where every individual can live free from the scourge of abuse.

Read more at IMPRI:

Ending Gender Based Violence in India, issues and challenges

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IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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