These past months have seen a flurry of activity to support the struggle to end the abhorrent practice of Dalits being employed to remove human waste from dry latrines manually which persists despite having been officially abolished by law in India since 1993. In India, the ILO has organised a conference to address this problem, a National Public Hearing has been held by the National Campaign for Dignity and Eradication of Manual Scavenging, reports have been released and media have reported widely about the persistence of the practice.
The ILO and Manual Scavengers in India: Paving the way towards the elimination of caste discrimination
ILO: For millions of people, contemporary India has become a land of opportunities, and the largest democracy in the world has experienced a remarkable economic growth during the last decade. Yet, as India accelerates its pace towards development, many are left behind due to long standing caste-based discrimination in employment. ILO Online reports from Rajasthan, India.
India’s Prime Minister pledges to eliminate manual scavenging from every corner of India in 6 months
In a bold speech on the 17 June at the Conference of the State Welfare and Social Justice Ministers in New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged ministers to be more vigilant and do everything in their power to implement the SC/ST act that is meant to protect the human rights of Dalits and Adivasis. The PM paid particular attention to the on-going issue of manual scavenging which he called, “One of the darkest blots on our development process” saying,
IDSN have launched a YouTube Channel on www.youtube.com/IDSNVideo
The issue of caste discrimination is receiving welcome and significant international attention in a number of places. The IDSN November newsletter is reflecting this trend.
Manual scavengers from across India gathered at a mass rally in New Delhi Monday 1 November and demanded immediate government action to end manual scavenging once and for all, rehabilitate former manual scavengers and apologise for decades of suffering imposed on this group.
A march – or ‘yatra’ - for the eradication of manual scavenging in India was launched on 29 September. During the next few weeks, buses will carry campaigners from five different corners of India to the capital.
More than 100,000 viewers have watched the powerful short documentary ‘I’m Dalit how are you?’ on Youtube.
Dalit children in Gujarat will protest against being forced to clean toilets and septic tanks at the upcoming rally against manual scavenging, organized by Grassroots Dalit organization Navsarjan.
The campaign to end manual scavenging by the 2010 Commonwealth Games just got a push from a recent Supreme Court Decision, holding Government appointed District Collectors responsible for not eradicating the demeaning and hazardous practice.