Children’s Role in Humanizing Forced Evictions and Resettlements in Delhi

Sudeshna ChatterjeeNew Delhi, India


This paper evaluates the process of children’s participation in resisting forced evictions in Delhi, securing basic human rights in off-site resettlements, and promoting active citizenship in the new settlements. Methodologically, this is a longitudinal case study looking at advocacy efforts, projects and programs undertaken by a group of individuals and organizations in collaboration with hundreds of directly affected children over a five-year period. The initial process was child-centered, with facilitating adults initiating projects and sharing decisions with children. Gradually, children themselves initiated and led projects in collaboration with adults. This long process fulfilled several of the conditions of effective participatory projects with children. There was also expansion of the democratic space in which children’s struggles gained wide societal legitimacy and limited official acceptance. However, this process did not affect policy change at a broader social structural level.

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