The IDSN Annual Report 2012 sums up last year’s many significant developments in the struggle against caste discrimination.
Dalit human rights campaigners in South Asia were highly visible in 2012. They marched and demonstrated for their rights, and their lobby work with governments led to results in the legislative field in India and Bangladesh where steps may soon be be taken to increase protection of Dalits.
The importance of their struggle was, sadly, underlined by numerous atrocities against Dalits, including gang-rapes of Dalit women and girls and the looting and burning of villages. Such atrocities are, as ever, committed with a high degree of impunity.
IDSN continued its advocacy work with EU institutions and UN agencies, urging them to become more active in the struggle against caste discrimination. Significantly, the European Parliament adopted a strongly worded resolution on caste discrimination in India. UN Universal Periodic Reviews of the human rights records of three caste-affected countries – India, Pakistan and the UK – included caste-related recommendations.
These and other developments are described in the IDSN Annual Report 2012. Among the highlights of the year were:
- UN Universal Periodic Reviews of India, UK and Pakistan – recommendations on caste discrimination
- Campaign to mobilise MEPs to support the struggle to end caste discrimination
- European Parliament Resolution on caste discrimination in India
- New IDSN films ‘We are not Untouchable’ and ‘Dalit women’
- New facebook campaign group and campaign website
- Campaign in India to strengthen legislation protecting Dalits
- Maila Mukti Yatra – a march to end manual scavenging in India
- South Asian regional consultation in Dhaka on Social, Economic and Legal protection for Dalits
- National institutions in Bangladesh commit to work for Dalit rights
- Launch of Dalit Solidarity Network in Norway
- New Dalit Solidarity Network websites
The report is illustrated with numerous photographs many of which depict Dalit human rights defenders campaigning for their rights. The cover photograph shows the burning of baskets, a symbol of the struggle against manual scavenging. This inhuman practice continues to force mainly Dalit women to clean dry latrines with their bare hands. The burning took place on the first day of the Maila Mukti Yatra, a nationwide march to end manual scavenging in India.