Established in 1993, the Centre for Social Justice (“CSJ”) is a human rights organisation fighting for the rights of the marginalised and the vulnerable, principally in the sphere of access to justice. Inspired by Freirean thought, CSJ has been active in more than ten States across India creating human rights interventions using law as a key strategy through an intimate engagement with grassroot realities. Over the last 25 years, CSJ’s experience in the access to justice field has led to the development of a unique conceptualisation of vulnerability founded in the interface between individual and collective identities. This has meant that CSJ not only assists in the empowerment of vulnerable communities through the enforcement of socio-economic and civil-political rights, but also (within a broadly restorative view of justice), more crucially, engages with reordering social relations that perpetrate discrimination and violence with a view towards a long-term re-alignment of intra- and inter-community dynamics of power.
Central to CSJ’s efforts are its institutional interventions in legal reform and research which bridge and symbiotically combine grassroots activism, law and policy-making on a wide gamut of issues concerning the rights of women, Dalits, Adivasis, minorities and other socially vulnerable groups. This has only been possible because of the Centre’s tireless efforts – through its wide network of law centres – in training and strengthening community lawyers and paralegals; thus, building capacities for paradigm-altering leadership within their communities. The law centres – consisting of a team of lawyers, paralegals and researchers – not only provide litigative support and outreach to communities but become nodes for the propagation of a more holistic conception of Human Rights that incorporates a vision for peace and justice beyond the confines of the rights-framework.
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