In South Asia, Human Rights come under constant attacks. Discrimination based on gender, caste, class and ethnicity in India and Nepal has further pushed the marginalised people of the two countries to the bottom of the development paradigm. Working in close collaboration with the underprivileged groups and grassroots organisations, IM has emerged as a key developmental organisation in the region working with a human rights-based approach to address the crucial challenges of rights and entitlements access for the youth and women.
Increasing attacks on press freedom, frequent internet shutdowns and inequality or exclusion of women and youth in decision making indicates a trend in human rights violations witnessed in India and Nepal. The crackdowns mostly affect the people who are unable to voice their conditions. Many of the marginalized groups are not aware of their rights and are unable to hold duty-bearers such as governments accountable, even though there are laws in place that should protect them.
The living conditions remains poor for the most marginalized and vulnerable in South Asia even when economy is growing. One of the root causes is rigid social structures and hierarchies within the caste system and a tradition of discriminating marginalised groups. Furthermore, South Asia is projected as one of the worst affected regions from global warming and climate change due to its geo-physical conditions and socio-economic-demographic situation.
IM’s support to South Asia started in the 1970s in India and in the 1980s in Nepal, mainly focused on supporting the Tibetan refugee groups. Today IM has emerged as a key organisation working with a human rights-based approach to address the growing and changing needs of the rural and urban communities in both the countries.
IM in South Asia is working for social and economic inclusion by strengthening the capacity of civil society and working for an environment where civil society organisations can work freely and effectively. The two country programs focus on all these areas, whereas the regional program emphasis on supporting enabling environment and strengthening capacity of civil society.
Given the severe gender inequalities in India and Nepal, IM South Asia as a feminist change agent focuses on gender perspective across all its work. This includes in-depth gender analysis and assessment of partner intervention and organisation to understand gaps, power relations and stereotypes.
With its focus on promoting women-centred sustainable livelihood practices, IM is committed to improving the livelihoods of economically marginalised producers. Marking their presence in the fair trade market, our partners like Sasha Association for Craft Producers (India) and Fair Trade Nepal are instrumental in supporting and strengthening our partners in promoting product development and business skills.
IM South Asia supports partners to better plan and implement realistic environmental policies.