Defenders in India: Examining the Elgar Parishad Case

A webinar presented by the American Bar Association International Criminal Law Committee

March 2, 2023 at 11:00 am EDT/10:00 am CST/8:00 am Pacific

Watch a recording of the event on YouTube.

The Declaration on human rights defenders was adopted by consensus by the General Assembly in 1998 after 14 years of negotiations. Despite the Declaration, human rights and environmental defenders all over the world continue to suffer significant harm as a result of their efforts to raise awareness on significant issues in their communities and within their states. This webinar will present the significant challenges that human rights defenders face in India, specifically focusing on the arrest of 16 activists, which included lawyers, sometimes referred to as the “BK 16.”

The panelists will discuss the events leading up to the criminal charges, the criminal charges, and the significant evidentiary issues that have already been discovered, and why these cases are critical in India at this time and how they could become critical for the rights of defenders everywhere around the world.


Waris Hussain, Legal Advisor for South and Southeast Asia with the ABA Justice Defenders Program at the ABA Center for Human Rights.

Suchitra Vijayan, author of Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India

Father Joe Xavier, Director of Indian Social Institute, Bengaluru

Dr. Jenny Rowena, Assistant Professor, Dept of English, Miranda House College, University of Delhi.

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