Two Day Training On Documentation Of Human Rights Violations Against LGBT Persons

Place: Ashir Bhavan, Cochin

Date: 25/06/2015 and 26/06/2015

The two day session was facilitated by Gowthaman Ranganathan from the Alternative Law Forum (ALF), Bangalore. ALF is a collective of young human rights lawyers and has worked on the rights of LGBT persons since 2000. The expected outcome of the session was that the participants would be able to identify human rights violation and will be informed of the various documents that needs to be gathered and possible strategies to be employed when a human rights violation happens against LGBT persons. The participants were across various districts in Kerala who were already working on issues concerning LGBT persons.

The session began with a round of introductions and the participants articulating their learning expectation from the session. Expectation ranged from wanting to know constitutional rights, criminal procedure, identifying and attending to human rights violations and the ability to document the same.

A word mapping exercise was conducted wherein the participants were asked to mention words and images that they associated with law. A wide range of words and images were put on the board that set the context to the sessions that would follow.

The next session was a group exercise. Participants were divided into groups and were asked to put down the laws that they are aware of and also the law making process. The exercise was followed by a presentation by each group. The facilitator explained the constitution, fundamental laws and spoke about how certain laws affirm human rights whereas the other laws curtail rights.

The final session on the first day asked the participants to discuss a few crisis situations that they have attended to and use elements from these cases to do a role play. Subsequent to the role play, each of the skits were discussed at length and the facilitator provided legal information for the same.

The following day, the criminal procedure code was explained in detail. Procedure to file an FIR and the rights of an accused on arrest as provided in the criminal procedure code. The D.K. Basu guidelines prescribing safeguards to protect the rights of an accused were also discussed. Some of the concerns raised by the participants were that: i) provision of the police act and IPC provision on nuisance are often used against members of the community, ii) police take members of the community to the police station for no rhyme or reason and often the alleged officers are in civil clothes, iii) members of the community are illegally detained at the police station for hours at length for no reason. There were many queries regarding on complaints against police officers. Through the discussion one need was felt that is for documentation of each of the instances of violence and violation of human rights against LGBT persons which can then be collectively taken and presented before the State Human Rights Commission or the Higher Courts.

The session concluded with discussing a possible format to documents instances of violence in a way that no details are missed out. Documentation becomes very important so that a larger claim before the higher courts or the human rights commission may be made and we can ask for compensation from the State for the violation of rights.