India - Lok Manch: social campaigns in defense of human rights

India is still experiencing the instability of a situation in which Covid-19 continues to circulate especially in the big cities, the economy is struggling to recover and the high unemployment rate is affecting especially the informal sector that employs the poorest and most marginalized people. In recent months, the country has been hit by a wave of protests and demonstrations by small farmers and agricultural producers, who challenge the recent agricultural laws adopted by the central government; the fear is that they will favor large farms, creating conditions of even greater inequality, with further impoverishment for small farmers.

In this scenario, Lok Manch, the people’s forum, continues to promote and protect the rights of the most vulnerable groups through the organization of local campaigns in the 13 Indian states, where they try to respond to the needs and problems of the most vulnerable communities.

The local campaigns for the promotion of rights are prepared and implemented on the basis of the existing situation, analyzing the most common problems, injustices and recurrent abuses, so that they are the starting point for a mobilization aimed at change. The referents of the campaigns know the problem, prepare the strategy, prepare the resources, spread awareness and activate campaigns for a mobilization that starts from the bottom, with the direct involvement of the village communities and the 92 organizations of the Lok Manch network. The primary purpose is to attract the attention of policy makers in order to influence institutional level and political decisions. Therefore, the individual state campaigns are all linked and coordinated at the national level so that the message is stronger and more effective.

The campaigns carried out in the 13 states have different objectives and specific topics according to the context: the right to food, the right to land, the right to settle in forests for tribal people, the right to clean water, health and hygiene, protection of maternity and old age, the right to public employment for reserved categories, protection of fishermen’s rights.

In Jharkhand, where Lok Manch works with the adivasi populations, the primary needs are related to food, so they are asking for a greater implementation of the Food Security Act, but also for the document of land ownership, where it will be possible to start cultivating.

At the central level, Lok Manch is in charge of mapping the various campaigns, disseminating them among the press and making them visible among rulers, institutions, representatives of the people and existing networks to start a dialogue and share all the information that will be necessary to create a more just and equitable society.

MAGIS continues its commitment with Lok Manch in support of those who have no voice, those who are excluded and marginalized, because only together we can make a difference.