Maja Daruwala has for the past ten years been the executive director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). An international non-governmental organization, it is headquartered in New Delhi with offices in London, UK and Accra, Ghana.
CHRI promotes the practical realization of human rights in the Commonwealth’s 53 countries and focuses particularly on issues relating to accountability, transparency, and participation. Its present areas of specialization are access to justice and access to information. CHRI promotes police and prison reform and seeks to ensure citizens are guaranteed the right to access government-held information.
Daruwala sits on several governing boards and advisory councils, including at the Justice Initiative of the Open Society Foundations and the Voluntary Action Network, an umbrella organization aimed at strengthening civil society in India. From 1992 to 1996, Daruwala was a program officer for human rights, women’s rights, and social justice at the Ford Foundation in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
A barrister by training, Daruwala has conceptualized and edited reports targeted at the Commonwealth Heads of Government on poverty and the status of the right to information, and most recently police accountability. She continues to produce a body of journalistic work, including a television documentary on prisoners and rights and governance issues in the region.