Most of India's trafficking problem is internal, and those from the most disadvantaged social strata – lowest caste Dalits, members of tribal communities, religious minorities, and women and girls from excluded groups – are most vulnerable. Within India, some are subjected to forced labor in sectors such as construction, steel, garment, and textile industries, wire manufacturing for underground cables, biscuit factories, pickling, floriculture, fish farms, and ship breaking. Workers within India who mine for sand are potentially vulnerable to human trafficking. Thousands of unregulated work placement agencies reportedly lure adults and children under false promises of employment into sex trafficking or forced labor, including domestic servitude.
Approximately 70 percent of trafficking victims in India belong to Scheduled Castes or Tribes – also called ‘Dalit’ classes – and are among the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India.
“The Cost of Cleanliness” is based on the deaths of Dalit workers engaged in cleaning sewers and septic tanks and was release to coincide with the report Justice Denied – Death of workers engaged in manual scavenging by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan
Report by NGO Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, looking at the caste inequities underpinning manual scavenging in India and the many Dalits dying while cleaning septic tanks and sewers with no proper equipment. The findings, outlined in this summary, point to an urgent need for action to end this practice. Read the full report here. An event was held to release the report where the documentary “The Cost of Cleanliness” based on the deaths of workers engaged in cleaning sewers and septic tanks was also released.Read the summary of the report findings here.
This new paper presents findings on the evolution of wealth inequality in India between 1961 and 2012. The article underlines the role of the Indian caste system in wealth inequality, as it shows that past unequal distribution of wealth along caste lines has not been corrected yet. The situation of every caste has improved over time, but there has been no convergence between dominant and lower castes.
The UN OHCHR have released a news piece stating that, “Many speakers highlighted the "emblematic" case of the International Dalit Solidarity Network, whose application for accreditation has been deferred by the NGO Committee for 10 years now. The organization advocates for non-discrimination of Dalits. Over the 10 years, its application has received some 83 questions, all from India, in some cases the same question several times over, resulting in its application being repeatedly postponed for consideration until the following year. Read the full news article by the OHCHR.
IDSN participated actively in the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues from the 29-30 November, under the theme "Statelessness: A Minority Issue". IDSN members from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan presented on how Dalits in reality often suffer de facto statelessness, due to extreme marginalization and lack of access to rights. Read the IDSN news article on the forum here.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Šimonović made a preliminary assessment on violence against women in Nepal, after her official visit to the country, which took place from the 19 to the 29 November. On the same occasion, she released an urgent appeal for the Nepalese State to step up efforts to fight against impunity and to secure access to justice for victims of gender-based violence. Read the IDSN article on the assessment here.
An IDSN delegation consisting of Bhakta Bishwakarma, Dalit NGO Federation/IDSN member, and Judith Anne Laal, NDMJ- NCDHR, participated in the 20th EU-NGO Human Rights Forum in Brussels that took place November 20-22. The Forum, organized by the EEAS and the European Commission, together with the European Parliament for the first time, gathered more than 200 civil society representatives from all over the globe. The Forum was also organised in partnership with the NGO umbrella Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), of which IDSN is a member. Read the IDSN article on the NGO Forum here.
The European Parliamentary Hearing on contemporary forms of slavery featured a presentation on caste and slavery in the supply chains of global companies by Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary of the National Dalit Movement For Justice-NCDHR, India. Ramesh pointed out the strong correlation between caste and slavery in India and urged the EU to step up action to address this in the supply chains of European companies. Read the IDSN article on the hearing here >>
IDSN welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The report specifically asks the EU to step up action to address caste-based discrimination at the UN and delegation levels. “It’s time for the EU and its member states to fully heed the European Parliament’s recommendations. In particular, IDSN would like to see the EU use every opportunity in its trade, development and foreign policy to address caste-based discrimination. The EU should also actively support applications for UN consultative status submitted by NGOs, such as IDSN, which would enable the voices of Dalit advocates to be heard at the UN level”, said Meena Varma, Executive Chair, IDSN following the adoption of the report. Read the IDSN press release on the report here >>
Henri Tiphagne has won the prestigious Nani A. Palkhiwala Award for Civil Liberties. A huge congratulations to Henri for this well-deserved recognition of his tireless work to end caste-based discrimination and pursue justice, equality and human rights for all. Upon winning the award Henri commented, "The award is a boost for continuing the fight for dissent, democracy and human rights not only in the courts of law, but also on the streets." Read a full article in The Wire on the award >>
IDSN founding member, NCDHR, celebrated its 20th anniversary in New Delhi on UN Human Rights Day. The event gathered rights activists from across the country together in celebration. A huge congratulations to NCDHR for the tremendous achievements over the past 20 years. A Dalit Manifesto was also released at the event, ahead of the 2019 Parliamentary Elections in India. Read the Dalit Manifesto here.
In IDSN’s 10th December statement on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we share our dream that one day love and respect for human rights will prevail over brutal caste oppression and injustice.
IDSN members and associates from across the globe met in Geneva in November for the IDSN General Assembly. The assembly spread over two days brimming with energy, new ideas, and a determination to strengthen the fight for human rights, justice and equality for all, irrespective of caste.
Download the factsheet on the IDSN application for ECOSOC Status – the longest pending NGO application