The report covers key developments and activities within IDSN’s work under the thematic areas Dalit women and gender justice, business and human rights and equality and participation, within the United Nations, European Union, and communications and networking programmes.
“Low-grade, unskilled sanitation workers often face social stigma and discrimination. This is especially true when sanitation is linked to a caste-based structure and often allocated to castes perceived to be lower in the caste hierarchy, such as in India and Bangladesh, where sanitation work is perceived to belong to the Dalit caste. This stigma compounds the social ostracizing and limitations on social mobility that workers face and often results in intergenerational discrimination, where children of sanitation workers often struggle to escape the vicious cycle of limited opportunities and sanitation work.” “[In Bangladesh] Many live in segregated sweeper colonies, which are unhygienic slumlike areas offering poor and overcrowded living conditions. Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and Christian and Muslim Bengalis” "challenges include combating the systemic discrimination Dalits face, which affects their education and real opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and the multiple layers of subcontracting that enable manual scavenging to continue without oversight or enforcement of laws by local authorities"
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.
Moni Rani Das, born and raised in a “cleaners’ colony”—poor and segregated settlements where street cleaners and domestic workers live—in Dhaka, Bangladesh, never imagined that she would be advocating for her rights and those of nearly 3 million Dalit  women of her country. Today, she is the first Dalit person to be part of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh.
IDSN, the Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and Nagorik Uddyog submitted a joint report to the UPR process and distributed a factsheet with recommendations on protecting the human rights of Dalits in Bangladesh.
Despite ample information provided by the UN system itself and civil society groups working on Dalit rights in Bangladesh, only one recommendation addressing the rights abuses faced by Dalits was brought forward at the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh was reviewed by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 15-16 March 2018. An IDSN delegation, including Dalit representatives from Bangladesh, took part in the review where several issues relating to caste-based discrimination were discussed. Ahead of the review IDSN and its members in Bangladesh - BDERM and NNMC submitted a joint report for the consideration of the committee. BDERM also issued a press release on the review.
Bangladesh is scheduled for consideration by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women during its 65th session, on 8 November. Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and IDSN has jointly submitted an alternative report focusing on the situation for Dalit women in Bangladesh, who face discrimination at multiple levels as they are discriminated by the dominant caste and other groups in society. While other groups of women and some Dalit men are moving forward in education, economic empowerment, access to justice and government services, Dalit women are left behind.
IDSN members the Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and Network of Non-Mainstreamed Marginalized Communities (NNMC), took part in the UN Human Rights Committee (CCPR) review of Bangladesh in March, 2017.
On 7 and 8 November, Bangladesh was reviewed under the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Prior to the review thirteen civil society organisations submitted alternative reports, outlining various issues that women and girls face in Bangladesh. Two of them highlighted concerns about the intersecting discrimination affecting women and girls, including caste-based discrimination.
During the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council, Dalit human rights campaigners met the high-ranking UN human rights official, Kate Gilmore.
The report examines the current situation of Dalit children and provides information about the implementation gaps in the enforcement of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, and makes recommendations for the Committee’s examination. The observations are based on independent studies and reports, case documentation, and recommendations by other UN human rights bodies.
When the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convenes to discuss challenges that affect the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women at its 59th session in March 2015, there is an urgent need to address the link between caste and the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence faced by Dalit women.
IDSN overview of references to caste-based discrimination in Bangladesh in reviews and reports of UN human rights mechanisms (Treaty Bodies, Universal Periodic Review, Special Procedures). The Treaty Bodies section contains a thematic overview of issues and recommendations from treaty body reviews of Bangladesh on caste-based discrimination. The UPR section contains an overview of recommendations made on caste-based discrimination and the government’s response. And the Special Procedures section contains extracts on caste-based discrimination from the reports of the four Special Rapporteurs who have addressed the issue. The overview also includes a list of relevant upcoming UN reviews of Bangladesh
“The intergenerational nature of caste-based discrimination condemns women to a life of exclusion, marginalization and disadvantage in every sphere of life. Many of those women are denied an education and economic opportunities, and perform dangerous and unprotected work, including … modern forms of slavery,” stated the SR on Violence against Women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, in her report following her mission to India.