The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2018 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The European Parliament’s report notes “with great concern the scale and consequences of caste hierarchies, caste-based discrimination and the perpetuation of caste-based human rights violations, including the denial of access to the legal system or employment, continued segregation, poverty and stigmatisation, and caste-related barriers to the exercise of basic human rights and facilitation of human development”.
MEPs ask EU to act to end the unjust blocking of IDSN’s UN accreditation Several high-profile members of the European Parliament have sent a letter to the EU High-Representative for Foreign Affairs, Frederica Mogherini, asking the EU to take action to support IDSN’s 10-year quest for UN accreditation, at the UN NGO Committee.
Twenty members of the European Parliament have written to Central Government ministers in India, expressing concern about “worrying signs of shrinking civil society space in India,” calling for the government to “take urgent steps to change course, release all detained human rights defenders in the country, drop all charges against them, and allow them to carry out their work free from risk or impediment.” Dalit activists were among those mentioned in the letter.
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 >>
EU high-representative calls the UN NGO Committee “hostile to civil society interests, particularly … caste discrimination.” In her answer to Member of the European Parliament, Jean Lambert’s, question, on what the EU were doing to support IDSN’s application for UN consultative status, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, stated that, “A critical mass of members of the NGO Committee is hostile to civil society interests, particularly in sensitive areas such as caste discrimination.” Read the IDSN article on the reply by the EU high-representative here >>
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has been asked by a Member of the European Parliament, Jean Lambert, to outline any specific steps that the EU has taken to proactively support IDSN’s Consultative Status at the UN to date and what plans exist for future support.
Nine Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have issued a letter to the EU High Representative, Frederica Mogherini, urging for the EU to cancel all agreements with India until human rights activists, that have been unjustly arrested, have been released and “the hunt against the Adivasis, Dalits, religious minorities and Kashmir, Manipuri people is stopped.”
The EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs has reiterated the EU’s commitment to fighting caste-based discrimination and gender-based violence, following the rape of five female anti-trafficking activists in India, earlier this summer. The women were performing a play against human trafficking in Jharkhand state when they were abducted and gang-raped.
Question by MEP: Did the VP/HR express concern during the 14th Summit to the Indian representatives about the persistent discrimination against the Dalit community, and Dalit women in particular, urging India to take steps to put an end to all abuses against Dalits? 2. Does the VP/HR accept that progress in negotiating any future free trade agreement with India should be conditional on India taking steps to effectively tackle discrimination against Dalits? Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini on behalf of the Commission
In its 2017 Report on the “Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter” the European Parliament (EP) calls for an EU policy on caste discrimination and urges the EU and its Member States to, “intensify efforts and support related initiatives at UN and delegation level by implementing and monitoring the 2030 SDGs, monitoring the new UN Guidance Tool on descent-based discrimination and supporting states’ implementation of recommendations by UN human rights mechanisms on the topic of caste discrimination”.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Frederica Mogherini, responds to the letter from Members of the European Parliament regarding EU action to fight caste-based discrimination.
A cross-party group of prominent Members of the European Parliament has sent an open letter to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, calling on them to address caste discrimination directly at the October EU-India Summit.
In its 2016 Report on the “Annual Report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter” the European Parliament (EP) raises deep concern over grave violations of Dalit human rights. The report calls for an EU policy development on caste discrimination.
A cross-party group of Members of the European Parliament have asked the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to ensure that EU action to address caste discrimination is prioritised at the highest levels.