Tura girl, who once hauled up govt in court, awarded for human rights work

TURA: A Tura-based young female researcher, who has been performing extensive work on human rights-related issues in Nagaland and Assam, has been honoured with the Under 30 Young Achievers Award in the field of human rights.
The researcher, Monalisa Barman, was selected for the young achievers award recently by the Human Rights Law Network — a pan-India organisation headquartered in New Delhi, which takes up human rights violation cases.
“I was informed about the award a few days back and I am happy that my work has been recognised. I am yet to collect the award due to the ongoing lockdown caused by the pandemic,” an elated Monalisa told The Shillong Times.
A researcher of human rights issues, Monalisa’s work took her to Nagaland where she hauled up the state government in court for human rights violation cases. Her background in law became an important aspect to her work.
“We took the government to court in 20 different cases. In one of the cases, we got the government hospital to pay compensation to a family who lost their child due to a medical negligence,” recalled Monalisa.
She pointed out that in most cases of medical negligence, patients are unaware about the violation of their rights which allows hospitals and erring doctors to escape accountability.
“There are glaring violations of human rights in every aspect of our lives but we either don’t notice it or have no idea how to fight it. That is why awareness is very important and we want more and more people to get to know this,” advises Monalisa.
An alumna of Tura’s Sherwood School and Don Bosco College, she took up law at KLE Bangalore and pursued her Master’s Degree on Dalits and Tribal Action from the Tata Institute for Social Sciences in Mumbai.
Monalisa is currently working on the burning issue of abortion rights in Assam’s tribal tea plantations. Funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), her research into the issue has already taken off.
“Having reproductive rights is a burning issue all across the North East and at all-India level. Although it is a legalised right, there are a lot of unsafe abortions which result in the death of the mother as well. The biggest problems are social dynamics and taboos associated with abortion rights, especially in the tribal belts,” believes Monalisa Barman.
Narrating her work experience on the issue, she revealed that women in our country seldom have any right over their own bodies.
“They have no say over their own bodies, whether to abort or keep the child. The social dynamics quickly come into play because abortion, as a taboo, still exists in our country,” she lamented.
As she prepares to take up more and more matters related to social issues and constitutional rights, this young awardee will soon open a branch in Tura to disseminate awareness about human rights and provide cost-free legal aid.

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