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Bengaluru-born lawyer heading NY Bar rights panel defends farmers’ right to protest

Bengaluru-born lawyer heading NY Bar rights panel defends farmers' right to protest

A Bengaluru-based lawyer Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu has been appointed as the Chairperson of New York City Bar’s International Human Rights Committee.

The 32-year-old lawyer is the youngest and first woman of colour to hold the distinguished post and was appointed on September 18 for a term of three years.

“I am the first woman of colour to hold this honorary role. As chair of the Committee, I help set the agenda for the work of the committee and collaborate with other committees within the New York City Bar on different intersections of law and justice. It is a three-year tenure and I am really looking forward to working with the community of human rights practitioners committed to the promotion and protection of human rights,” Kudekallu told News9 in an email response.

Her new responsibility also includes seeing how the committee can intervene on issues of the oppressed. It also includes working on the application of human rights laws and publishing reports.

Ramya was born in Bengaluru. She did her schooling in Bengaluru, Ooty and Dubai. In 2012, she completed her Law degree in Bishop Cotton Women’s Christian Law College of Bengaluru.

After completing her Law degree, Ramya interned at World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) at Geneva for over a year. She was also associated with the United Nations where she worked on women and children issues with a special focus on violence against women.

Ramya has also worked with Alternative Law Forum (ALF) for the rights of LGBT community, sex workers. She was also an active member of YWCA, Bengaluru since 2010. She has also written extensively for various publications in India on the rights of LGBT community.

The ambitious woman shifted to the US in 2017 and studied masters in International Law and Human Rights in Fordham University, New York. She currently teaches at Cardozo Law School in New York.

Speaking about what inspired her to take up the role, she said she enjoys teaching human rights law.

“Inequality and discrimination are a constant feature in our communities, and I believe those of us in locations privilege must commit ourselves to addressing these disparities in whatever we can. I also enjoy teaching human rights law and developing pedagogy that questions hegemonies that marginalize vulnerable groups,” Ramya added.

Speaking about the ongoing farmers’ protest and their rights, Ramya said she was deeply troubled by the human rights violation in India.

“The human rights framework and India’s own international obligations protect the rights of farmers to protest reforms to agriculture laws that are against their interest and more importantly and detrimentally to their livelihood. Further, their freedom to assemble and express their agitation is safeguarded within our own Constitution. So, when acts of violence are perpetrated against these nonviolent protesters go unchecked, the government is granting the latitude for further rights violations. To me, that is deeply troubling,” Ramya said.

Ramya’s father, who was also a practicing lawyer in Bengaluru passed away in July this year. Her mother Dr Amitha Malaki is a gynecologist and is practicing in Kushalnagar of Kodagu district.

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