Was wir tun HEKS
Christian Bobst
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HEKS/EPER is making a difference in the «Advocacy for the socially disadvantaged» in India

India's economic upswing is benefiting only a small part of the population, and some 30 per cent the people continue to live below the poverty line. Development is stagnating in rural areas, while conflicts over land and natural resources are intensifying. The government's pro-business policy promotes land acquisition by large investors and this is leading to ever greater marginalization of smallholders and day labourers. The Indian caste system further accentuates social differences. People who belong to no caste – called Dalits – as well as indigenous groups such as the Adivasis are systematically excluded from society. HEKS/EPER supports these minorities in obtaining land titles, securing their food supply and improving their income.

HEKS/EPER in India

Facts

In 2019, altogether 4850 peasant families received land titles to 3100 hectares, of which 74 per cent received collective rights of use over roughly 2800 hectares. Agro-ecological farming is practised on 96 per cent of the land, and 73 per cent of the peasant families increased their income over the year before. Some 10’280 people who had been affected by extensive flooding the year before continued to receive financial support enabling them to buy food or repair their houses.

HEKS provides pro bono legal advice for people in emergency situations in the areas of social insurance, social welfare, family matters, children and guardianship, tenancy and foreign nationals. Those affected by poverty as well as undocumented persons should have the possibility of receiving legal advice. The legal advice offices for socially disadvantaged people in the Cantons of Aargau and Geneva provide professional advice to those in need of help. Legal experts and/or lawyers help those needing advice to understand legal situations, and also point them towards possibilities for self-help. In selected cases, the legal advice office undertakes the legal representation of a needy person.