Following February’s European Parliament hearing on caste discrimination a hard hitting opinion piece on caste discrimination by MEP Peter van Dalen was yesterday published in New Europe and several other MEPs have taken up the issue on their website and in press releases.
PRESS RELEASE: Brussels, March 1, 2011 (IDSN) --- MEPs stated that EU action must be taken to help end caste discrimination, affecting 260 million people worldwide. The statements came during a hearing on caste discrimination in South Asia, at the European Parliament Monday afternoon. This was also the message delivered by Dalit rights advocators at the hearing, who informed MEPs that concerted action to combat caste discrimination through EU development work, trade agreements and political dialogues, must be taken if development goals in caste-affected countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, are to be achieved and human rights respected.
The IDSN 2010 Annual Report is now published and ready for download.
The IDSN January 2011 newsletter includes news that: Campaigners for Dalit rights finished 2010 on a strong note with lots of activities around Human Rights Day on 10 December and participation in various international events. In India, terrible atrocities against Dalits continued to make headlines, and in Nepal, the efforts to include strong provisions against caste discrimination in the constitution gained further momentum. The United Kingdom move closer to making caste discrimination illegal, as government commissioned research provided evidence of this form of discrimination in British society.
This month's IDSN newsletter features information on Dalit issues from several caste-affected countries, including India, Bangladesh and Nigeria, as well as numerous stories with an international perspective.
IDSN urges Catherine Ashton to address caste discrimination in upcoming EU dialogues with India, ensure that the issue is given proper attention in EU cooperation with caste affected countries and pursue an EU policy on the issue.
A Dalit Solidarity Network has been established in Finland. It has been widely welcomed by IDSN members.
Two new reports on child labour in the Indian seed industry have prompted a Dutch member of the European Parliament to ask questions about the EU’s relations with India - including the issue of Dalits.
The Dutch Government is addressing caste discrimination in its bilateral dialogues with India and through EU channels. Foreign Minister M.J.M. Verhagen recently answered questions on the issue in Parliament.
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.