In connection with their participation in the 45th Human Rights Council session, states are encouraged to consider the ongoing and systemic practice of discrimination based on work and descent, also known as caste-based discrimination, affecting more than 260 million people globally.
IDSN issued recommendations to States, contributed to statements and observed and noted caste-relevant issues presented at the UN Human Rights Council 45th Session held in Geneva.
IDSN has contributed to the UN Human Rights Council’s 42nd Session with two joint statements with Minority Rights Group International (MRG) on slavery and on safe drinking water and sanitation. IDSN also issued specific recommendations aimed at states and circulated by IDSN.
Dalit human rights defenders and UN experts raise concerns over intersectional caste and gender discrimination and its adverse impact on access to human rights, at the Dalit Women and Gender Justice side-event at the UN Human Rights Council’s 41st Session in Geneva. On 25 June 2019, IDSN International Associate IMADR, and others organised a side-event during the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council, on Dalit women and gender justice. The panel was composed of Dubravka Simonovic, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Renu Sijapati, General Secretary of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO-Nepal) and Abirami Jotheeswaran, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NDMJ-NCDHR). The event was moderated by Henri Tiphagne, from Peoples’ Watch, in India.
Renu Sijapati, from the Feminist Dalit Organisation – FEDO Nepal, delivered an oral statement at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019, encouraging Nepal to implement the recommendations in the UN Nepal visit report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The visit took place in October 2018.
On Friday 8 March, Ruth Manorama, a Dalit human rights defender, delivered a statement, co-sponsored by the International Movement Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination and by the Right Livelihood Award (in solidarity with IDSN), during the 40th regular session of the Human Rights Council. She also spoke on the panel at the Right Livelihood side-event on Women Human Rights Defenders.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, raises concern over increasing marginalisation and discrimination in India, in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in March. Speaking about the situation in India, the High Commissioner shows concern over the fact that, despite significant poverty reduction in general terms, there has been, “increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – in particular Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis”. She points out to narrow political agendas in that country lead to further marginalisation of vulnerable people.
IDSN engaged with the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), held in the Palais des Nations from the 10th to the 28th of September 2018. IDSN delivered statements, lobbied Member States and OHCHR staff and met with the High Commissioner and the NGO Committee. Read a summary of IDSN's interventions in this IDSN news piece.
On 3 March CIVICUS held a side event to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on “Backsliding on Civic Space in Democracies”, in advance of India, Brazil, Poland and South Africa examinations under the Universal Periodic Review in May 2017. The event was co-sponsored by IDSN, Amnesty International, CIVICUS, Forum Asia, ISHR, HRW, HRDA and OBS. IDSN was represented by its board member Henri Tiphagne from Human Rights Defenders Association in India.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) and IDSN have issued a joint written statement to the 31th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, calling for global action to end caste discrimination.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) commenced its 33rd session on 13 September. This year the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences has a thematic focus on debt bondage. The rapporteur notes that “the majority of those in debt bondage are reported to be in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, despite the specific prohibition on such practices within the legal frameworks of these countries”, underlining that those who are trapped in debt bondage in South Asia are predominantly Dalits.
The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, has chosen caste discrimination as the theme of her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council. The report has been welcomed by IDSN and Human Rights Watch.
Report and press release on HRC26 side-event on ‘caste-based violence against women’ Calls came from top UN officials for a coherent and coordinated approach from the UN in tackling caste-based violence and discrimination, with a particular focus on women and girls. Ms. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed great concern for the issue of caste-based violence and discrimination and UN Women Policy Director, Saraswathi Menon, summed up the sentiments of the speakers in her statement, “Words and legislation is not enough we need concrete action.The UN has an important role to play and must step up to the plate to help stop caste-based violence against women.” The event had a high attendance and good state representation. Read IDSN’s joint press release, the report from the side-event and the IDSN recommendations to the UN on caste-based discrimination and violence against women.
On Tuesday 17th June the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, will give the opening statement at a side-event on caste-based violence against women, at the UN Human Rights Council. The event comes following a series of brutal rape cases against Dalit women and the rape and hanging of two teenage cousins in India.
IDSN’s fight for UN consultative status – a case of reprisal against a human rights NGO For seven years IDSN’s application for UN ECOSOC consultative status has been blocked on spurious grounds. IDSN's application is now the application that has been deferred the longest by the ECOSOC committee.
The European Parliament are urging EU member states to address caste discrimination at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC25), currently underway. IDSN has issued recommendations for the HRC25 and Navi Pillay and Ban Ki-moon mention caste in their contributions to the council session.