IDSN Members respond to the extremely vulnerable situation of Dalits during the Covid-19 lockdown and pandemic. We have collated some examples of reports, relief and other initiatives undertaken by IDSN members over the past two months. Read the IDSN round-up of Member initiatives
IDSN members in South Asia and international associates have been quick to offer immediate response and assistance, as the ramifications for Dalits of Covid-19 measures have become clear. While IDSN has issued two general statements on the situation for Dalits, below you will find a collection of publicly available information, appeals and initiatives from our members and associates.
DSN Statement – We strongly urge governments and companies with supply chains in South Asia, to take measures to urgently protect migrant and informal workers, including Dalits, against a loss of income, social benefits, shelter and a means to feed themselves and their families, as Covid-19 measures and repercussions threaten their lives and livelihoods.
IDSN was represented by Innasimuthu Pandiyan, from IDSN Associate the Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY), at the Annual Meeting of ALNAP, a global network of NGOs, UN agencies, members of the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, donors, academics, and networks - dedicated to learning how to improve the response to humanitarian crises.
The Concluding Observations of the May 2018 review of Nepal, by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), includes dozens of remarks relating to caste-based discrimination and several strongly worded recommendations on fighting it. Read the full IDSN analysis
Following the devastating floods in South Asia serious concern for Dalit communities affected by the disaster is being reported. IDSN’s members are on the ground responding and monitoring the situation as it unfolds. Nepal, Bangladesh and India have experienced severe flooding over the past weeks and many Dalit communities are hard hit. In this article we will share some of the reports we have received from members in Nepal. We will be following up on this once more reports have come in from the rest of the region.
Dalit rights organisation, National Dalit Watch – NCDHR, has issued a press release pushing for action to directly address the issue of caste discrimination in disaster response and prevention, in India’s coming Disaster Risk Reduction Plan.
Dalit communities are among the poorest in Nepal. So when disaster strikes, such as the immensely destructive earthquake in May 2015, they are inevitably one of the worst affected communities.
A new Minority Rights Group (MRG) report on Yemen focuses on the extreme situation faced by the minorities in the war torn country. The report finds that the Muhamasheen, discriminated against on the basis of caste, reside in some of the worst hit areas of Yemen but face exclusion in access to shelter, relief articles and health facilities. The report states that the Muhamasheen are at risk of death, disease, hunger and further violence and humanitarian actors and the international community must step up efforts to offer relief to these communities.
IDSN appeals to stakeholders providing humanitarian assistance in Nepal to: Involve local Dalit civil society representatives and organisations in their planning and provision of relief and rehabilitation, following the Nepal Earthquakes, including regular consultations. Ensure that mechanisms are established for assessing equitable access to aid for Dalits and other discriminated groups. Collect disaggregated data along caste lines, to monitor relief and rehabilitation services. Use affirmative policies to ensure Dalit organisations are also involved in implementation. Engage with the recommendations laid out by the Dalit Civil Society Massive Earthquake Victim Support and Coordination Committee in their report of May 2015. Follow the recommendations and guidelines in the IDSN Equality in Aid – Addressing caste discrimination in humanitarian response report and call upon international level policy and standard settings groupings in the field of humanitarian assistance to take due account of these aspects in their future work.
As aid agencies and NGOs fight to deliver aid and help victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, IDSN wish to draw attention to the importance of considering caste discrimination in relation to aid delivery in Nepal.
1.2 million people and five million livestock in district Tharparkar are once again in the grip of a severe drought and efforts to prevent future human catastrophies must be stepped up.
Over 100 children have died in this last drought and the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network have issued a press release calling for action to address the cause of these humanitarian catastrophes in Thar and find sustainable solutions to protect Dalits in future.
Key humanitarian actors including UNDP, ECHO, the Asian Disaster Reduction & Response Network, USAID and DFID gathered in New Delhi for the launch of the report “Equality in Aid – Addressing Caste Discrimination in Humanitarian Response” and the “Inclusive Vulnerability Mapping & Monitoring of Post Disaster Response” manual. Reuters published an article on the report and the report is also referenced in the January report of the UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues.