Sahyog is a registered trust under ‘The Bombay Public Trust Act and The Societies Registration Act’. The Trust is basically a humanistic pro-active organization, which believes in the holistic growth and all-round development of all sections of the global humanity that works towards:
- A participatory, rights-based and people-centered policy of education,
- A classless and casteless society through togetherness and neighborhood concept,
- Through the dynamics of non-violence, the advancement of human rights, equitable social change, and distributive justice.
SAHYOG TRUST is a non – profit organization based in Pune, Maharashtra. Sahyog Trust is a classless and casteless society through togetherness and neighborhood concept. It has a unique feature of non-violence, the advancement of human rights, equitable social change, and distributive justice. Sahyog is engaged in several social and legal issues and has various units working under its banner. One of Sahyog trust’s guiding principles is to promote cooperation and networking between NGOs. To the end, we would like to establish cooperation with human rights organizations in the various states/countries pursuing the same goals as Sahyog Trust.
Human Rights and Law Defenders (HRLD)
In 2002 the legal wing of the Sahyog Trust, ‘Human Rights and Law Defenders’ (HRLD), was established to intensify the work on issues related to Human Rights. HRLD has been set up in Pune as an independent unit and intervenes legally when there is a human rights violation. HRLD defends human rights by opposing violations, strengthening enforcement mechanisms, sensitizing the public, and campaigning for constitutional and legal reforms. Since its initiation, it is the mission of HRLD to fight abroad battle against gross Human Rights violations.
HRLD in Pune
HRLD is working under the guidance of Adv. Asim Sarode and the team consists of Mr. Asim and Mrs. Rama Sarode, a few other lawyers, volunteers, and office assistants. To date, they are the only organization working on socio-legal issues in Pune. However, like-minded law students and lawyers have gradually come forward to assist and HRLD are encouraging other colleagues to provide a portion of their services pro-bono to the needy.
People we Help
We have so far taken every case which has sought remedy and assisted them in the most suitable and possible way. In most cases we provided free legal aid to those people, who are not living in Pune, and were assisted through legal guidance and/or were referred to a competent lawyer from the responsible organization – ‘Public Legal Aid Committee’. The only exemption HRLD makes is that they do not take up cases from men accused of rape. On average, HRLD handles 20-30 cases a month.
Areas of work
- Legal aid to prisoners under trial
- Women’s rights
- Children’s rights
- Rights of the disabled
- Dalit Rights
- HIV/AIDS and Law
- Environmental Law, especially “Forum Against Noise Pollution”
HRLD has developed effective and innovative solutions to achieve its aims and has been building specialized initiatives around issues. Recognizing the potential of effective partnerships, HRLD works closely with other human rights and development organizations. HRLD uses the following strategies:
- Legal Aid – providing access to justice for the vulnerable through:
- Legal intervention and representation for individuals, as in filing suits for victims and defending their cases in front of the court (mostly pro-bono)
- Filing complaints to the various commissions set up for better protection of human rights, like the National Human Rights Commission, the State Human Rights Commission, and the National Commission for Women, etc.
- Empowerment of the peer group through:
- The creation of law literacy among potential or actual victims of rights violations and their stakeholders via campaigns and workshops
- The provision of legal consultations and guidance: in direct dialogue, via phone or different forms of media
- Conducting and Raising Legal Awareness by:
- Specific training for the potential/actual rights violators (police staff, personnel of other official institutions) or persons whose jobs are dealing with rights violations (e.g. protection officers, lawyers, doctors)
- Campaigning publically to promote Human Rights education in the civil society and official institutions: in the form of hearings/audits, media advocacy, demonstrations, etc.
- Capacity Building and Expanding Access to Justice by:
- Building up a network of local NGOs that are dealing with various rights-related issues and lawyers who are willing to provide a part of their services pro-bono (to provide help for people outside Pune)
- Interacting with the media and sensitizing them about human rights violations
- By educating and raising up an own cadre of social lawyers
- Promoting legislative changes by:
- Reviewing existing laws that pose a threat to respecting human rights.
- Taking actions and filing Public Interest Litigations (PIL’s) when there are rights violations that concern the public interest
- Campaigning for constitutional and legal reforms and participating in drafts and re-designing of legislation
- Research and Documentation:
- Documenting case studies and Human Rights-related developments, as well as paper clipping of concerned issues.