IDSN has issued the following statements including key recommendations in connection with the situation following the global Covid-19 pandemic:
IDSN Statement – 27 March 2020
As Covid-19 sweeps across the world it is crucial that we ensure that relief, health services and awareness raising efforts are inclusive and accessible to all irrespective of caste, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other factors. While time is of the essence in the response to Covid-19, taking a moment to ensure that high risk communities such as Dalits are included and addressed in global, national and local responses to Covid-19, can save millions of lives.
IDSN Statement – 3 April 2020
We strongly urge governments and companies with supply chains in South Asia, to take measures to urgently protect migrant and informal workers, including Dalits, against a loss of income, social benefits, shelter and a means to feed themselves and their families, as Covid-19 measures and repercussions threaten their lives and livelihoods.
IDSN members in South Asia and international associates have been quick to offer immediate response and assistance, as the ramifications for Dalits of Covid-19 measures have become clear. While IDSN has issued two general statements above on the situation for Dalits, below you will find a collection of publicly available information, appeals and initiatives from our members and associates.
All IDSN members in South Asia are engaged with supporting Dalit communities through the Covid-19 crisis within their areas of expertise. Some are providing relief materials and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families who have lost their income overnight, some are raising awareness and providing protective equipment and all are advocating for Government attention and support to Dalits who are struggling to cope. Below we have linked to some of the public appeals and campaigns made available online by our members:
A web portal by Jagaran Media Centre documenting the situation in Nepal (JMC) – JMC also plan to make the site available in English.
Jan Sahas in India has launched a comprehensive web portal with updated information on Government efforts in all the states, solutions, status reports and innovations as well as a telephone helpline offering toll free support and advice. They are also offering humanitarian support and rapid situational assessments.
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) in India has issues an Appeal by Dalits and Adivasis to the Central Government in the view of Covid-19 and is launching an App entitled C.L.A.I.M. (Community Live Access to Inclusive Measures) designed to support Dalits and other marginalised groups in accessing relief and claiming their rights.
IDSN’s international associates have also been quick to respond to the situation. Below are some of the statements and initiatives relevant to Dalits.
Anti-Slavery International has published Guidance for policymakers, donors and business leaders to ensure that responses to Covid-19 reach victims of modern slavery and people vulnerable to slavery with several clear references to caste.
The International Movement Against all forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) has developed a Covid-19 related database of national human rights institutions (NHRIs), equality bodies, NGOs and other bodies that can receive complaints on incidents of racism and discrimination – including caste discrimination. The list is also available in a PDF version
COVID-19: A Human Rights Checklist (Human Rights Watch)
Other useful resources from friends of IDSN
COVID-19 l State action must be human rights compliant and protect human rights defenders – a compilation of all the UN recommendations and guidance on human rights (International Service for Human Rights – ISHR)
India’s COVID-19 Lockdown: Human Rights Assessment and Compilation of State Relief Measures (Housing and Land Rights Network)
Tracking tool – Impact of States of emergencies on civil and political rights – the Centre for Civil and Political Rights has launched a tracking tool related to states of emergencies declared after the COVID-19 pandemic (CCPR)