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In the past decade, the discourse and legal advocacy around sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) has developed rapidly in India. While mobilising and developing action around maternal mortality, domestic violence, and sex-selective abortion has been rapid, it has been negligible around other key SRR issues such as the right to abortion, and adolescent sexuality, which continue to be at the margins of activist and legal SRR concerns. Similarly, the perspectives and needs of persons with disabilities or LGBTI+ persons tend to be overlooked in mainstream SRR advocacy.
Through this conference, we aim to bring together prominent SRR activists, academics and lawyers to evaluate the past, present and future of SRR work in India. Our objective is not only to learn from past actions, taking into account the contemporary responses to SRR but to draw attention to the issues that are often implicitly or explicitly excluded from the ambit of SRR. The conference will also serve as a space to deliberate on litigation and other strategies and tools to mobilise around these concerns.
|10:00AM – 10:30AM||Tea and Registration|
|10:30AM – 11:30AM||I. Introduction: Framing Legal Approaches to Sexual & Reproductive Rights|
|11:30AM – 11:45AM||Tea|
|11:45AM – 1:00PM||II. Sexual & Reproductive Rights & the Courts|
Comparative perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Rights Litigation
Is the Indian Supreme Court Recognizing Reproductive Rights?
Reimagining Reproductive Rights in India: The Role of Equality and Non-Discrimination
|1:00PM – 2:00PM||Lunch|
|2:00PM – 3:30PM||III. Sexual & Reproductive Rights of LGBTI+ Persons|
Community Experiences of Discrimination in Healthcare
Rights In Transition: A Trans Perspective From Within The Medical Fraternity
|3:30PM – 4:30PM||IV. Sexual & Reproductive Rights & Health|
SRH Rights and Justice: Reflection on the (dis)connections
Director of the Sussex Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies & Health (CORTH), University of Sussex
Rights, Claims and Negotiations: SRHR stories from the back of beyond
Head, National Foundation for India
Integrating SRR in Medical Education: Gains and Challenges
|9:00AM – 9:30AM||Tea and Registration|
|9:30AM – 11:00AM||I. Adolescent Sexuality & Child Marriage|
Impact of Child Marriage on the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Girl Child
Director, Centre of Women’s Studies Centre, Vice Principal (retd.) ILS Law College, Pune
Criminalisation of Adolescent Sexuality and its Impact on SRHR
Director, Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy, & Governance, National Law University Delhi
Treatment of “Romantic Cases” by Special Courts under the POCSO Act
Consultant Restorative Justice & Legal Affairs, Enfold Proactive Health Trust
|11:00AM – 11:15AM||Tea|
|11:15AM – 12:30PM||II. The Right to Abortion|
Are we ready for safe abortion as a woman’s right in India?
Coordinator, Asia Safe Abortion Partnership
The Right to Abortion and the Indian Judiciary
|12:30PM – 2:00PM||III. Reproductive Rights and Disability|
Rethinking about Prenatal selection and Disability
Professor, Human Studies, Ambedkar University, DelhiIntersections of Disability, Sexuality, and Reproductive Rights
Centre for Women’s Development Studies
Standing at the Intersection: Disability, Sex, Gender, and Violence
|2:00PM – 2:30PM||Lunch|
|2:30PM – 4:00PM||III. Reproductive Labour and Reproductive Justice|
Banning a Select Few: Conversations on Reproductive Justice and Reproductive Labour in Commercial Surrogacy in India
|4:00PM – 5:00PM||IV. Moving Forward: The Present and Future of SRR Advocacy in India|
Director, Centre on Law and Social Transformation, University of Bergen, Norway
Maya Unnithan is Professor of Social and Medical Anthropology and Director of the interdisciplinary research Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health (CORTH). Following on from her initial work on caste, kinship and gender politics in India (published as a monograph in 1997), her research interests have expanded to include the politics of childbearing, infertility, selective reproduction (abortion, surrogacy), blood disorders and sexual reproductive health rights. Her research projects include work on civil society understandings of human rights as applied to sexual, maternal and reproductive health in India (ESRC funded; 2009-2012). She is currently the qualitative research lead on an interdisciplinary project exploring family-making decisions, childbearing dynamics, and son preference among British South Asians (also funded by the ESRC).
Siri Gloppen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Bergen in Norway and founding director of the CMI-UoB Centre on Law & Social Transformation. She has broad experience from research in the intersection of law and politics, with particular focus on legal mobilization around social and economic rights. She currently directs two international and interdisciplinary projects on sexual and reproductive rights: Sexual and Reproductive Rights—Global Battles; and Political Determinants of Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa.
Jayna Kothari is a co-founder of CLPR. She is a Senior Advocate and practices in the Supreme Court of India. She graduated from University Law College with a B.A. LL.B degree and read the BCL at Oxford University. Jayna was awarded the Wrangler D.C. Pavate Fellowship in Cambridge University. Jayna’s research and practice interests include constitutional law, gender and sexuality law, disability rights and discrimination law. She had argued in the Supreme Court in the recent constitutional challenges to Section 377 and adultery which were both decriminalized. She also argued the Independent Thought case in which the Supreme Court recognized child marital rape as a criminal offence. Her book, “The Future of Disability Law in India” was published in 2012 by Oxford University Press.
Jashodhara Dasgupta a public health researcher and activist, is Senior Adviser of SAHAYOG, an NGO that she co-founded in 1992 to work on women’s health and rights in Uttar Pradesh. She has worked for over 30 years in the voluntary sector and is an expert on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has served on various academic and government committees on health, has received many fellowships to develop her work, both in India and abroad. She is currently a member of the Core Group on Health with National Human Rights Commission, and has been earlier Member of the High-level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage of the Government of India (2010-2011). She was part of setting up several civil society advocacy platforms, and anchored the National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR) from 2010-16.
Padma Bhate-Deosthali has for more than 20 years been engaged in research, training, and policy advocacy in the areas of gender based violence, gender in medical education, health policy research, regulation of the private health sector and women and work with a focus on health and human rights. She was Director of the Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes (CEHAT) for 11 years. She was member of the Steering Group of the GDG-WHO for developing Policy and Clinical practice guidelines for responding to violence against women in low and middle income countries, the National Committee under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for drafting the “Guidelines and Protocols for medico-legal care for victims/survivors of sexual violence”, 2014. She also coordinated the setting up of a public hospital based crisis centre on domestic violence, Dilaasa in Mumbai.
Vinay Chandran is Executive Director of Swabhava Trust (estd. 1999), an NGO in Bangalore offering support services to LGBT people. He is also a peer counsellor on the Sahaya Helpline (estd. 2000), a trainer on gender, sexuality and sexual health issues and a researcher. He has written on mental health concerns of LGBT people and is co-editor of the book Nothing to Fix: Medicalisation of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Sage/Yoda Press, 2016). He is currently writing up his research on healthcare discrimination experienced by non-normative genders and sexualities in Southern India.
Gauri Pillai is a first year DPhil (Law) student at the University of Oxford. She completed her B.A. LLB (Hons.) at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in 2017. She then read for the Bachelor of Civil Law at the University Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship. She is currently Chairperson of the Oxford Pro Bono Publico (2018-19). She is also a member of the ‘Shaping the Future’ project, a collaborative partnership between the World Health Organisation and the Oxford Human Rights Hub, seeking to develop a human rights approach to sexual and reproductive health rights, and utilise online training tools to empower local organizations, litigators and women to achieve these rights. Her interests revolve around human rights and equality law, medical law, and feminist theory and jurisprudence.
Trinetra Gummuraju is a fourth year MBBS student at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal. As a transgender woman belonging to the medical fraternity, she documents her life in transition through writing, art and video on social media. She is also currently initiating research to establish the lacunae in medical education with respect to gender affirming healthcare.
Saumya Dadoo is a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Law and Policy Research. She completed a B.A in Human Rights & Gender and Sexuality Studies from Bard College, New York (2015) and an M.A in Human Rights Law from SOAS, University of London (2018). Previously, Saumya worked at the Majlis Legal Centre, Mumbai, and v-shesh, Chennai. She has been involved in feminist advocacy efforts as a coordinator for ‘Account for This’ at SOAS and ‘I Will Go Out India’. She runs ‘The Prison Project’, a social media platform for dialogue and action around prisons and detention in India. Her research interests include gender and sexuality studies, feminist and critical human rights theories, carceral studies, and access to justice.
Jaya Sagade is Director of Women’s Studies Centre at ILS Law College, Pune, where she was the vice-principal and taught ‘Women and the Law’ and ‘Family Law’ for 32 years. Her areas of research are violence against women, gender equality, women’s human rights and CEDAW. She has a range of publications in these areas.
Aparna Chandra is an Assistant Professor of Law and Research Director, Centre for Constitutional Law, Policy and Governance, National Law University, Delhi. She works on issues of constitutional law and human rights with a specific focus on the intersection between gender and the law. Aparna is currently working on a field study across 4 Indian states on Legal Barriers to Accessing Safe and Comprehensive Abortion Services. Aparna holds a BA LLB (Hons.) degree from NLS, Bangalore and LL.M and JSD degrees from Yale Law School, USA.
Swagata Raha is a legal researcher with 14 years of experience. She earned Mst in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University and B.A.LLB (Hons.) from W.B. National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. She has researched and published extensively on laws related to sexual offences against children juvenile justice, and human rights institutions. She was part of a team at the Centre for Child and the Law, NLSIU Bangalore that provided technical assistance to the Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice from 2014-2018. At CCL-NLSIU, she led empirical studies on the working of Special Courts under the POCSO Act in three States. She currently consults with Enfold Proactive Health Trust, Bangalore.
Suchitra Dalvie is MD, MRCOG is a highly motivated women’s health expert, with over 24 years of clinical experience and over 18 years of development work experience. She is a practicing gynaecologist who is passionate about women’s human rights and gender issues along with issues of social justice and equality. Currently working as the Coordinator of the Asia Safe Abortion Partnership, she leads the safe abortion advocacy work of the network in the Asia region with capacity building, strategizing and implementing the online and off line programs and mentoring of the Youth Champions and the Country Advocacy Networks to create a movement for social change.
Sarita Barpanda has been working in the development sector for the last twenty five years, and has wide ranging experience in the field Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, HIV/AIDS, Public Health Population Development, Gender Justice, Human Rights at State, national and international level. She has worked as an advisor to the State Government of Orissa and Government of India in the expansion of HIV&AIDS programme implemented through NACPII&III. Sarita has also provided her technical support and knowledge to European Union Programmes implemented by state partners and DFID. Sarita is currently leading the reproductive rights initiative in Human Rights Law Network, a network of activists, lawyers and researcher and combines strong micro research with macro policy and programmes to address violations in reproductive health and rights.
Meenaz Kakalia joined Human Rights Law Network, Mumbai in May, 2015. Practicing primarily in the Bombay High Court, she fights for causes ranging from accessibility for persons with disabilities, sexual and gender based violence, reproductive rights, and environmental justice. She has filed a number of petitions in the Bombay High Court on behalf of women seeking abortions beyond the 20 week ceiling stipulated under the MTP Act.
Anita Ghai is Professor at the School of Human Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi since 2015. Before this Anita was an Associate Professor in Department of Psychology in Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. Her interest lie at the intersections of disability, sexuality, psychology and gender. As a Former Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum Library, Teen Murti Bhawan, Anita’s researched on issues of care of disabled women recipients i.e., their daughters & providers of care i.e. the mothers with leanings towards feminist and disability theory. Anita has been the former President of the Indian Association for Women’s Studies. She has authored Re-thinking disability in India, Routledge, New Delhi (2015) (Dis)Embodied Form: Issues of Disabled Women (2003) and co-authored The Mentally Handicapped – Prediction of the Work Performance with Anima Sen. Her latest edited book is Disability in South Asia: Knowledge and Experience.
Renu Addlakha is a Professor at the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, an Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)-supported autonomous research institute. She is the Project Director for a Women’s Fund Asia Sponsored study: ‘Violence against Women and Girls with Physical Disabilities in India: Understanding the Issues and Promoting Legal Empowerment’. Renu did her masters in social work, M.Phil in sociology, and a doctorate in sociology from Delhi University. Her doctoral thesis focused on gender issues in the psychiatric profession in India. She has published widely in national and international peer-reviewed journals. She has trained in medical anthropology and her areas of specialisation include mental illness and the psychiatric profession, public health systems, bioethics, gender and the family.
Nidhi Goyal is a disabled feminist activist from India working on disability rights and gender justice. In her eight years of activism, Nidhi has worked with a range of national and global women’s rights, disability rights, and human rights organizations, including Point of View, Human Rights Watch, Sight Savers, and CREA. Nidhi has been appointed to the UN Women Executive Director’s Civil Society Advisory Group, sits on the advisory board of VOICE, and has been globally elected to the Board ofAssociation for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), where she is currently the President-Elect. In India, Nidhi has been invited to be a member of the core group on persons with disabilities and elderly persons by the National Human Rights Commission.
Anindita Majumdar is Assistant Professor, Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. She has been researching commercial surrogacy and assisted reproductive technologies since 2009. The book Transnational Commercial Surrogacy and the (Un)Making of Kin in India (2017) is based on her doctoral research which was awarded the ‘Distinction in Doctoral Research Award’ by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2016. In 2019 as part of the series Oxford India Short Introductions, Anindita published the monograph titled Surrogacy. She is currently researching the conceptualisation of ageing in assisted reproduction, which has been awarded the Welcome Trust UK funding for the year 2018, and a concurrent research project on postmenopausal conception which was awarded the Indian Council of Social Science Research Minor Grant for 2018. She writes on gender and social inequity in The Hindu, Deccan Herald and Mail Today.
Mohan Rao was, till recently, a Professor at the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health (CSMCH), School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A medical doctor specialised in public health, he has written extensively on health and population policy, and on the history and politics of health and family planning. His latest work is the edited volume The Lineaments of Population Policy in India: Women and Family Planning (Routledge, 2018). He has been a member of the National Population Commission, and several Working Groups of the National Rural Health Mission of the Government of India. He has worked on the Committee established by the National Human Rights Commission to examine the two-child norm in population policy. He is on the Executive Committee of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies. He is also actively involved in the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (People’s Health Movement).