India Committee of the Netherlands
+++ In solidarity with the oppressed in India +++


INDIA COMMITTEE OF THE NETHERLANDS - HISTORY

The India Committee of the Netherlands was established in 1976 in response to the State of Emergency in India, declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. During the Emergency many civil rights were suspended. The idea was that problems of poverty could be tackled vigorously, but the newly formed ICN strongly disagreed and protested against this curtailment of human rights.

Also after the withdrawal of the Emergency two years later, the founders of the ICN were of the opinion that, given the structural poverty and the deprivation of large sections of the Indian population, there continued to be a need for information and action in the Netherlands on social issues and movements and organisations in India.

Until the early eighties the ICN consisted of a number of local voluntary groups, with a small secretariat in the city of Utrecht, also staffed by volunteers. In 1981 the Association ICN was established. From then on, the first paid staff members were recruited.

During the period 1980-1995, attention was mainly focused on development assistance of the Dutch to the Indian government, the rights of Indian women, environmental issues affecting the poorest groups, and the human rights of indigenous people.

In the early nineties the ICN also became an active member of the newly founded Clean Clothes Campaign that fights for the rights of in majority female - workers in the garment industry. From the mid-nineties, the ICN increasingly focused on human rights, particularly rights of children, Dalits and labourers in informal sectors deprived of labour rights. We also looked into the role of trade and investments affecting them and the changes needed. This resulted in activities and campaigns aimed at companies and political decision makers.