As IDSN celebrates its tenth anniversary on 10 March, the struggle for Dalit rights is gaining increasing international momentum, including an endorsement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Much, however, remains to be done if one of the world’s most serious human rights issues, which affects 260 million people, is to be eliminated.
A new opinion poll shows an increase in awareness of caste discrimination as a serious human rights issue among the population of the Netherlands.
Two Dalit representatives from India and one from Nepal joined their IDSN colleagues in Brussels last week to inform European Union officials about the nature and scale of caste discrimination in South Asia.
The European Commission conducted a 3 day regional workshop on Indigenous People, Minorities and Dalits in Dhaka, 15-17 June, 2009.
Read the May newsletter here with all the latest news on caste-based discrimination from the IDSN network.
In a report on the EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) the European Parliament (EP) calls on the European Council and Commission to work together with the Indian Government to move towards ending caste based discrimination, which affects more than 166 million Dalits in India. It urges the EU to ensure that the FTA is not harmful to Dalits and that the potential benefits reach all members of society. According to the EP, this should be part of an ‘ambitious sustainable development chapter’ in the FTA.
At a hearing entitled “Dalits and Caste Discrimination” in the Danish parliament on 24 September 2008, the Vice Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Karsten Lauritzen rejected the claim that caste discrimination is an “internal matter.