Aug, 2012 Brainstorm meeting

A group of 6 South Asian religious freedom and peacebuilding campaigners (from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) met to identify common themes in their advocacy work to promote religious freedom in these countries, and to consider next steps in creating a network; strengthening each in their own domestic advocacy and exploring regional and international advocacy avenues.

Also proposed to hold a conference in 2013 and to include input from different South Asian nations and provision of advocacy training, with the participation of the UN Special Rapporteur on FORB.

May, 2013, First regional conference

A South Asia regional conference on FORB was held, bringing together human rights defenders from across the region to allow for wider input from the different SAARC nations, with seminars and advocacy training. Representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan attended this conference.

August, 2013, India-Bangladesh civil society exchange

A civil society delegation from Bangladesh met with their Indian counterparts to discuss the issue of justice for victims of communal and targeted violence.

January, 2014, Tri Nation conference

A conference on the theme ‘Countering communal violence’ was held in Nepal. This was attended by civil society from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

For the last session, participants broke down into groups depending on their field of work (i.e. journalists, lawyers and grass roots activists) to discuss best practice and specific situations/problems. One piece of key feedback from this was the need for tailored gatherings where experts tackling FORB violations from different angles of work could meet to address the difficulties they face together and build stronger, united networks; sharing best practice and strategies on FORB within their work and countries.

August 2014, Journalists consultation

Journalists from across South Asia came together to attend a consultation we organised to discuss how communal violence and issues of hate speech can be best reported in a sensitive manner by the media. The participants of this consultation jointly drafted the ‘Kathmandu recommendations’ for South Asian media on this issue.

December 2014, Saakshi youth training programme

We facilitated the training and network building of a group of South Asian youth who have a passion for campaigning for social justice for religious minorities. This group received training on the use of new technology as a tool for advocacy, activism and documentation.

February 2015, Saakshi lawyers gathering

In February 2015, a group of 25 South Asian human rights lawyers working on FORB cases came together at a gathering we facilitated. There, they shared their experience and expertise with each other.

September 2015, Saakshi website launched

Members of the SAAKSHI network had a vision for this website to be launched to share resources that will benefit South Asians who campaign for FORB. This is now a reality!

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