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Suneeta Pottam

HRD, Founder
Mulwasi Bachao Manch

Suneeta Pottam is a woman human rights defender who has campaigned tirelessly against systemic violations against the Adivasi community and to promote the rights of women and girls in Chhattisgargh. She is a member of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Chhattisgarh, and has been involved with the Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) since 2015. Along with other Adivasi leaders, Suneeta Pottam founded the Mulwasi Bachao Manch, an Adivasi Youth Forum which documents human rights violations by the State and campaigns peacefully for rights and justice for the local community.

The woman human rights defender has also been at the forefront of ongoing peaceful protests in several districts of Chhattisgarh, demanding constitutionally guaranteed rights of Adivasis and opposing the human rights implications of corporate mining and militarization in the region. In 2016, she filed a petition at the Chhattisgarh High Court against extrajudicial executions of civilians by armed forced in Bijapur District. The woman human rights defender has faced repeated threats from the police and state authorities due to her work.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment from state and non-state actors alike, including killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, threats and judicial harassment. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs, which is usually carried out with impunity. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by radical nationalists.