Alumnus Rahul Choudhary

Role: 
Alumni

RAHUL CHOUDHARY, INDIA

 

Rahul Choudhary is a lawyer with the Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) in India. He took part in the 2008 DTP Program on Human Rights Advocacy and Business in the Philippines. He works on environmental rights and communities affected by projects.  In 2009 the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was established where one can challenge big and small projects affecting humans and the environment. It also takes cases of individuals or groups seeking compensation because of damage done because of pollution or industrial activities. This work is especially important given that the Government is now diluting environmental laws in order to protect the corporates. When Rahul took part in the DTP training human rights violations were very prevalent but the forums to raise such issues were limited.

 

Rahul and his organization now works with several communities, NGOs and individual across India on such issues as villages affected by coal mining, projects affecting elephant corridors, Indigenous peoples affected diversion of forest land and taking these issues to the national green Tribunal. The work also covers air and water pollution, people affected by asbestosis and the impacts of dam building. 

 

“Working with the communities we work on the ground level doing capacity building and also taking legal recourse by taking issues before court. At ground level in Raipur we imparted training to communities about seeking information through use of the Right to Information Act, understanding the process of granting approval of projects and when and how one can intervene in these projects.  After training, some of the members of the communities started sending applications to seek information themselves, started approaching officials about their rights and managed to get positive results without going for litigation.

 

[We also work on] legal intervention and we have a huge number of legal interventions. Last year we got orders in some 50 cases and some of them have substantial impact on the environment.”

 

Rahul says of the DTP training he attended,

 

“It was a great learning experience for me to get to know the issues in other parts of world. It was good to know how others approach these issues. Also getting to know various declarations and international approaches to the issue of human rights is of great help ...

learning is a constant process and sharing experiences from others cannot be possible unless we have interaction with the people from different parts of world.”