The EU-NGO Human Rights Forum took place in Brussels from 5-6 December with the participation of Dalit human rights defenders, who formed part of an IDSN delegation to the forum. The theme of the forum was “Human rights under threat: Exploring new approaches in a challenging global context.”

Forum participants and speakers included human rights defenders, EU officials and NGO representatives. The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini addressed the forum.

“I know there are powers in the world that are saying that human rights are not the basis for their foreign policy anymore; it is not going to be the case for us. But there are things we cannot do and there are places where we cannot go to.  This is why it is so important to partner with you and to learn from you,” said Ms. Mogherini addressing the Forum.

The Forum was organised by the European Union’s External Action Service and the European Commission together with the NGO umbrella Human Rights Democracy Network (HRDN), of which IDSN is a member. It brought together over 200 civil society actors from around the world.

Dalit defenders participated in discussions on how to move forward and how to ensure more action to fight caste discrimination, also at the EU level. Among recommendations put forward were the need for the EU to ensure that caste discrimination is addressed in all bilateral dealings with caste-affected countries and for EU member states to raise the issue of caste-related human rights violations at the United Nations. Ankita, representing the Feminist Dalit Organisation – Nepal, also discussed the multiple discrimination faced by Dalit women in caste-affected countries and continued discrimination in Nepal.

For caste-related tweets from the forum check @idsnupdates from 5-6 December.