SWASTI calls for Joint Action To Protect the Rights of Women, People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Sexual Minorities

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On this Human Rights Day, this is a call to create a a plural, diverse and supportive work environment and to unite in the fight against discrimination

8 December 2016, New Delhi:  On the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2016, Swasti, a health resource centre, is rallying people to end all discrimination against women, sexual minorities and PLHIV at the workplace – by developing a progressive employment policy and plural outlook.

Human Rights Day 2016 has the global slogan “Stand-up for someone’s rights today”. Celebrated to commemorate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the widely quoted Article 1 of the Declaration has been the bedrock of human progress.

It states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

However, women and girls, sexual minorities, and PLHIV even today, live marginalized and oppressed  lives. They struggle to actualise basic rights experiencing considerably high violence and violation of rights, suffer financial insecurity and are often overlooked during promotions and incentives at the workplace.

A plethora of upcoming legislations in India- the HIV/AIDS Bill, Anti-Trafficking Bill, the Transgender Bill, Maternity Benefits Amendment Bill, 2016 – promise to provide a framework for the protection of rights. The implementation of these on a day to day basis falls upon each of us, especially employers and corporates. In the light of these new legal developments, it is essential to take certain steps today.

Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we urge employers to:

●        Embrace inclusivity by welcoming women, sexual minorities and PLHIVs into their workplace and proactively creating supportive environments

●        Say no discrimination and stigma within their work environments

●        Disengage from coercing/obliging to disclose personal information, including coercion to  perform HIV/AIDS screening

●        Give a voice to LGBTQI employees – make employment procedures more inclusive and gender-secure  

●        Ensure women, PLHIV and LGBTQI employees are free from violence and abuse

●        Raise your voice and resources to step forward and change the human rights dialogue at workplaces.

Speaking on the occasion of Human Rights Day 2016, Shiv Kumar, Founder and President, Swasti added, “Today, opportunities are numerous for any business entity or organization that wants to promote diversity. Taking steps towards an inclusive, diverse workplace will send a positive message that the company represents and stands for progress, not just for its own shareholders but for society at large and the country.”