Left picture: Right Livelihood Award Laureate Colin Consalves (left) and RLC scholarship fellow Fabien Major (right)
In May 2019, RLC Mumbai student Fabien Major successfully completed his two-month internship with RLA Laureate Colin Gonsalves’ Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) in New Delhi, India. He received the 2019 internship stipend provided by the RLC Global Secretariat to support his action research on a collective of tribal farmers in Maharashtra.
The HRLN is a collective of more than 250 lawyers and social activists in 26 states in India, dedicated to the use of the legal system to advance human rights, struggle against violations, and ensure access to justice for all. Fabien joined the team at the HRLN Delhi office.
During his internship with HRLN, Fabien was assigned to a number of legal and non-legal activities, such as supporting the Mahul slum rehabilitation case; Back in 2009, 15.000 hutments were demolished due to threats of terrorism. Hutment dwellers were relocated to Mahul village in Mumbai, infamous for its polluted soil, water and air. HRLN advocates for the immediate rehabilitation to another place as well as compensation for the severe difficulties inflicted on the people. In order to support the progress of the case, Fabien studied related files in detail to provide a concise list of important dates, events and important facts of the case. Apart from other legal cases such as the “Petition Forest Rights Act”, Fabien was also involved in the everyday interaction with people from vulnerable groups who visited HRLN at a daily basis.
Additionally, Fabien worked on improving the quality of fact-finding reports on manual scavenging, assisted social activists working on issues of bonded labourers and functioned as a mediator in the dispute between to families.
For Fabien, the internship at HRLN was not only interesting, challenging and inspiring on a sole professional level, but also emphasised the importance of activism: “It has also helped me to understand the judicial system in India in a more intricate manner and also sharpened my awareness that any work contributing to human rights, is a step forward towards making society more humane and compassionate.”