Speech

Remarks by Beena Sebastian at UK-supported workshops in Kerala to end violence against women

Inaugural event was held on 5 Dec 2015 at St. Teresa’s College Ernakulam, Kerala.

Kerala is a model state and a pioneer in many ways – State Nirbhaya, Gender Park, Kudumbasree, Women’s Commission, Child Rights Commission, women’s participation in the political process whether panchayats and local bodies or as MLAs or MPs. But regressive and patriarchal mindsets remain, reflected in the attitudes and behaviours seen day to day. Gender sensitisation can go a long way in changing this landscape, even if the steps are small, they are steps forward – and on a long and necessary road to progress, to equality.

You already have the broad background to the workshops in the programme sheet in your hand so I will spend a bit of time explaining the detail. The 1-day workshop on 6 Dec is for 30 public prosecutors is convened and delivered in partnership with Kerala’s Directorate of Public Prosecutors. Many in key positions of influence in their districts and some covering more than a district. The DPP have a long-standing and very effective methodology to reach out to these groups from across Kerala and we’re delighted to have their support in delivery of this workshop. Our thanks to Advocate Asaf Ali, Director General Prosecutions, Kerala High Court.

The 2-day workshop on 7 and 8 Dec is for 55 police officers and is convened and delivered in partnership with Kerala’s Police Academy in Thrissur. This group includes Sub- Inspector, Circle Inspectors, DYSPs and the trainer of the police academy training centres. The Police Academy has a well-established platform to update the knowledge and practice of officers across Kerala and we are really pleased to have their support in delivery of this workshop. Our thanks to the Kerala DGP and the Kochi City Police Commissioner and IG for their encouragement and support and thanks to Mr Suresh Purohit, IG Training at the Police Academy Thrissur.

The 2-day workshop on 9 and 10 Dec is for 45 including lawyers KELSA, protection officers from the respective districts, regional coordinators, the state coordinator – Social Welfare Board and lawyers from the service providing centres. This is convened and delivered in partnership with the Kerala State Legal Services Authority. KELSA is one of the unique LSAs in India and has a reputation for delivering a range of legal services to the entire state whether these are Lok Adalats or a range of district and taluk level services. We are happy to have their support for delivery of this workshop. Our thanks to Hon’ble Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan, KELSA’s Executive Chairman Justice Thottathil Radhakrishnan and KELSA’s Member Secretary District Judge Mr C Jayachandran and to Mr Shajahan Additional Secretary, the Director Mr Jigendran, Kerala State Social Justice Department.

That is a total of 130 legal, judicial and police officers from across Kerala. Many are themselves trainers and mentors to others in their districts. So, the potential impact in coming years in Kerala, we hope will be transformative. We are grateful to Hon’ble Minister for Social Justice Dr M K Muneer. We know that right from the day we started discussing this project with him, he was extremely supportive. Thanks to his support and the interest shown by Kerala’s Social Justice Department that the UK-supported booklets, newly translated into Malayalam, will soon be more widely available across Kerala as the Department has kindly agreed to mass print and disseminate these Malayalam booklets to the right target groups.

Legal, judicial and police delegates attending these workshops will benefit from input offered by experts from New Delhi, Mumbai and Indore who will offer the national context. Other resource persons and senior speakers will offer the Kerala context. These include senior judges, advocates, police officers, psychologist and civil servants. There will also be experts from Kerala State Child Rights Commission.

Now, a word about the project implementers: HRLN is a nationwide collective of lawyers and social activists, strongly committed to address issues of violence against women. CAP is a network organisation standing for Peace, Justice and for the rights of women and children. CAP has closely collaborated with the Kerala State Social Justice dept in delivering justice to survivors, Kerala govt’s Police Committee on Prevention of Atrocities Against Women & an official service provider under India’s Domestic Violence Act. Delhi-based Lawyers Collective is a leading provider in human rights advocacy, legal and litigation and has played a key role in important legislation including PWDVA, POCSO and Sexual Harrassment of Women at Workplace. And we are very grateful to the British Deputy High Commission, Chennai for all their support to this project.

Stuart Adam, Head,
Press and Communications
British High Commission, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi 110021
Tel: 44192100; Fax: 24192411

Mail to: R Fernandez

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Published 5 December 2015