Press Release – Ethical Trading Initiative – UK - Remaining silent about caste discrimination in global supply chains is fueling modern slavery, child labour and the exploitation of workers in South Asia, according to new ETI Base Code guidance for companies published today.
Focus on land, higher education, employable skills.
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.
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.
Lawmakers and human rights campaigners on Monday called for taking collective efforts by all concerned to root out all sorts of discriminations against downtrodden (Dalit) people in the subcontinent.
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.
By Sally Hayden. "There is no future for us here," Ratan Basfur says angrily. Basfur is an "untouchable," a member of one of Bangladesh's lowest castes, and his surname cements it. The Basfurs are part of the "sweeper class" that live in Horijon Polli, a densely packed slum in Mymensingh District that contains 1,200 households, with an average of five inhabitants in each. unni Basfur works three cleaning jobs. She wakes at 4am to clean the street, employed casually by the city government. Then she moves on to a pharmaceutical company to do a two-hour cleaning shift, and does another half an hour's work in a store. She spoke about one of the biggest concerns of the sweeper class — the fact that they've condemned their offspring to a life in the lowest caste. There have even been reports of untouchables sending their children away and encouraging them to change their names, in the hopes that the next generation can escape the stigma that has plagued their parents.
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.
BDEWF has been fighting against the work and descent based discrimination, working in building leadership within Dalit women community, providing organizational capacity & professional skill training and organizing awareness activities along with taking existence principles in national and international level to eliminating the discrimination practices to Dalits and working for effective implementation of those.
Dalit women from Nepal, India and Bangladesh joined hands to assert their rights at a rally in Kathmandu, at the fringes of the people’s SAARC meeting. Hundreds of Dalit women from across Nepal gathered at the FEDO National Dalit Women conference, to put Dalit women’s rights on the agenda and In India several long marches and mass gatherings of Dalit women took place throughout November and December.
“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.
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