260 million people worldwide suffer from caste discrimination and are being silenced by the Durban Review Conference, which claims to aim at protecting all victims affected by discrimination and contemporary forms of racism. To break this silence, Human Rights Watch, IDSN, NCDHR and other human rights organizations, have issued a joint position paper calling on the conference to address this crucial issue.

Caste discrimination constitutes one of the most serious and widespread global human rights challenges today. Victims of caste discrimination suffer a hidden apartheid of segregation, modern-day slavery and other forms of severe discrimination as a result of having been born into a marginalized and stigmatised social group or caste. It is therefore deeply concerning that the Durban Review Conference is failing to tackle this type of discrimination and thereby silencing much needed debate on one of the most brutal and systematic forms of discrimination in the world today.

The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) and other human rights organisations, are challenging this silence in a joint position paper urging UN member states to address caste-based discrimination at the Durban Review Conference, taking place in Geneva from the 20-24 April.

With the pending failure to address this issue at the UN conference, it is crucial that the problem is addressed in the public arena and through the media. This global human rights issue, affecting 260 million people worldwide, is currently being exemplified in the electoral process in India, where it is being reported that Dalit (or “low caste”) citizens are being threatened, assaulted, and physically prevented from voting in the ongoing election campaign. The website dalitvotes.in offers up to date insight into this problem, which is eroding the very roots of the world’s largest democracy.

A press conference about caste discrimination and the Durban Review Conference has been organised at the UN premises in Geneva on the 20th April at 5:30pm. A panel of Dalit representatives and NGO speakers will be available for questions and further information. Journalists must be accredited to the conference to attend. More information on the conference will be posted underevents on idsn.org.

A number of events are also being organised in Geneva from the 19-24th April, to bring visibility to the issue of caste based discrimination and its crucial relevance to the Durban Review Conference.

IDSN offers a comprehensive press kit including an overview of the issues, a list of relevant events and interview profiles for the many Dalit representatives travelling to Geneva to raise their voices on behalf of the millions of victims of caste based discrimination. Most of these representatives are also available at the UN premises for interviews during the conference, as well as telephone or national interviews following the conference.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on mb@idsn.org or +45 61701218 for further information on the topic, relevant documents, case studies or interviews with Dalit representatives.

Press kit for journalists

Full press advisory issued by IDSN, NCDHR and Human Rights Watch includingbackground notes for editors

Programme of Dalit solidarity events at the Durban Review Conference and the Civil Society Forum

Joint position paper prepared by IDSN, Human Rights Watch, NCDHR and other organisations

More information about the Durban Review Conference