Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) has evolved after years of struggle against atrocities meted out to underprivileged and marginalized communities in the region. It began its work in the late 1970s amongst tribal communities. Systemic inequities and injustices deprived these communities of their fundamental human rights. The young group’s main thrust was on empowerment and emancipation of bonded labour, with special focus on women. This was crucial in their effort for restoration of legal rights of these marginalised communities.
RLEK’s most pertinent weapon to deal with the powerful cartel’s who don’t believe in ‘Rule of Law’. The institution does lot of research work before knocking the doors of the court. RLEK fought for communities as well as individuals in the courts of justice. Subsequently, the Government was forced to pass new Acts in accordance with the various decisions of the courts. The Acts were merely the starting point. People had to be organised and mobilised. Persistent advocacy efforts brought about a country–wide exposure to widespread violation of fundamental rights. RLEK initiatives led to the promulgation of: Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976; Environment Protection Act, 1986; and Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
RLEK builds on the strength and ability of marginalised people to learn and to grow, and their ability to solve problems that affect their lives. Education (including knowledge of laws); legal aid; organisational, technical and other skills – are seen as essential to give people the “power of knowledge” needed to address the root causes of poverty, deprivation, inequality and exploitation.
RLEK has extensive experience in addressing plethora of issues germane for human development and human rights progression. That is, RLEK has been working on issues of literacy (adult as well as children’s), poverty reduction (through vocational training, establishing market linkages, forming federations), sustainable development, environment protection & sustainability, legal literacy (trainings, preparation of IEC material in local language and dialect, awareness generation), strengthening institutions of local-self governance at the grass-root level (community mobilization, capacity building, advocacy and lobbying), SHG (linkages, training), advocacy & lobbying (for people centred policies and laws), research (primary, secondary, empirical, field as well as desk), documentation, monitoring & evaluation (pre as well as post funding). RLEK has also prepared Legal Literacy material in Braille.
RLEK works with the VISION of achieving a just and sustainable society, MISSION to empower indigenous groups, marginalised populations, women and children to claim their rights and entitlements under the Constitution of India and aims to “reach the unreached and include the excluded”
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