National Center for Advocacy Studies in South Asia

The National Center for Advocacy Studies (NCAS) is a social change center working with social action groups, public professionals, and people from all India and South Asia. It was founded in 1992 as a result of the vision and effort of social activists who felt the need for a resource center to facilitate advocacy for issues of public concern, specifically the rights of marginalized people. The center serves as a national resource center for social action groups and activists from all over India who fight for human rights.

Human Rights situation in India is complex as a result of its particularities. It has a large size, 3.300 km2, almost a third the size of Europe or a third of the United States; with a high population of 1.2 billion people. The population density is of 364 persons/km2, that’s five times Europe’s density or 11 times United States’ density.

India has a tremendously divers cultures, including four of the world’s major religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism—originated here, while Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam arrived in the first millennium.

India was “colonized” by the United Kingdom between 1858 and 1947. It became independent in 1947 with a remarkable non-violent resistance leaded by Mahatma Gandhi. It has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and is considered a newly industrialized country; however, it still have problems of poverty, illiteracy, corruption and inadequate public health. It has the third-largest standing army in the world

One of the major problems of human rights in India and South Asia is the caste system, a social stratification which assign people to a group from the moment of birth, according to their parents group. Each group have certain rights. The lowest of the groups are the Dalits or Untouchables, which suffer of extreme discrimination. The caste system was abolished under the Indian constitution, but there is still discrimination against Dalits in South Asia. Women suffer discrimination too.

The NCAS seeks to strengthen the capacities of marginalized communities to claim Human Rights and Social Justice, promoting people’s access, influence and participation in institutions of democracy.