Sanjoy Hazarika appointed Director of CHRI

Sanjoy Hazarika appointed Director of CHRI

Sanjoy Hazarika appointed Director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)

New Delhi, October 4 -- Mr Sanjoy Hazarika, a human rights activist recognised internationally for designing and developing innovative strategies for inclusive health and governance who is also a scholar, author, journalist and film maker, is the new Director of CHRI. He takes over from Ms Maja Daruwala who has led the NGO for nearly 20 years. Ms Daruwala remains at CHRI as Senior Advisor, handling the Access to Justice Programme.

“Sanjoy brings a wealth of experience to CHRI and I see him  broadening and deepening the scope and scale of its work and mentoring its energetic and marvelous young team,” Ms Daruwala said. “He’s not a newcomer to CHRI having been on the Executive Board for more than a decade and has been involved in all aspects of our advocacy,” she added.

Until last month, Mr Hazarika was the founder Director, Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and held the Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew Chair.

A native of Shillong, Mr Hazarika is widely acknowledged as an expert on the North East of India, He is known as a specialist on migration and issues in the region and his books include: Writing on the Wall, Reflections on the North-East; Strangers of the Mist; Tales of War and Peace from India’s North East; Rites of Passage: border crossings, imagined homelands – India’s East and Bangladesh and Bhopal, the lesson of a tragedy. He has edited the series, Fighters Against the Raj (Meghalaya and Manipur in 2014 and 2015), The Eastern Himalaya, Climate Change, Poverty and Livelihood (2015). He also co-authored The State Strikes Back: India and the Naga Insurgency (with Charles Chasie) (2009) published by the East West Centre in Washington DC. He has contributed chapters and essays to several books, including edited volumes and Anthologies published by Oxford University Press, Sage, MacMillan and Penguin.  

His latest documentary Rambuai, Mizoram’s ‘Trouble’ Years, premiered last month.

He reported from South Asia for The New York Times and is a contributing columnist to The Times of India, The Indian Express, Hindustan Times, The Tribune (Chandigarh) and The Assam Tribune. He was a Consulting Editor with The Statesman and The Sunday Guardian.  His essays have been published in a range of journals and magazines including Outlook, Tehelka,  Seminar, and the research journal Elsevier. He appears frequently on television programmes to address issues of rights, advocacy and the environment relating to the North East of India and the region on channels such as the BBC, NDTV, India Today TV, CNN, WION and Al-Jazeera.

A builder of institutions, Mr. Hazarika founded C-NES ( in 2000; C-nes’ major initiative, with long-term policy applications and national and international significance, is the specially designed Boat Clinics that take health care to marginalized island communities through the year, including times of flood, on the Brahmaputra River in Assam, North East India. The service reaches about 350,000 every year in 13 districts and has helped over two million people since the program began in 2005.

“I am looking forward to working with a hugely talented and resourceful group of young people who have done truly courageous and amazing work in their areas of specialization.” Mr. Hazarika said.   “I hope to learn from their experiences as well as the powerful and rich leadership that Maja Daruwala has provided to CHRI over the years of her stewardship. I'm delighted that Maja will stay to help run the Access to Justice Program, which is at the heart of CHRI's work.”

Mr Hazarika said he hoped to build on his own experiences in the North East and the university arena to expand CHRI's basket of concerns to issues of gender equity, trafficking, child protection, health rights and discrimination as well as media advocacy which have a universal resonance.