Following his visit to Nepal that started on 29 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Olivier De Schutter, released a statement highlighting the persistent interconnections between caste and poverty in Nepal. The Rapporteur also raised issues of caste violence and the need to do more to ensure meaningful political representation of Dalit women in Nepal.
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.
In February, the IDSN Membership Coordinator took part in the National Stakeholder Consultation on the UN UPR in Nepal, organised by IDSN members the Dalit NGO Federation, Feminist Dalit Organization & Jagaran Media Centre together with IDSN Affiliate the Dalit Welfare Organisation and over thirty other Dalit NGOs in Nepal. The Consultation highlighted the need to act to end caste discrimination and promote caste gender justice. Over 70 participants from CSOs, media, academia, and Government took part in the consultation.
On 28 August 2018, five prominent Indian human rights activists were arrested during simultaneous police raids conducted across India. The raids were part of an investigation into events that occurred earlier this year during a Dalit commemoration of an 1818 battle in Bhima Koregaon in which many Dalits lost their lives, and they follow a wider crackdown on Indian activists in recent months.
When a record number of Dalit women now take their seat in local Government across the country it is indeed a dream come true. IDSN members in Nepal have been working for decades to increase the political participation of Dalit women, resulting in the 2017 Local Level Election Act stipulating that at least one of the four members of each Ward Committee should be a woman from the Dalit community. As a result of this over 7000 Dalit women stood for election and thousands will be set to take their seat in local Government this autumn.
In connection with their participation at the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals in New York, IDSN member in Nepal, FEDO, has produced a valuable briefing paper on the Sustainable Development Goals and how they are directly related to the situation of Dalits, and in particular of Dalit women. The paper offers key insight into the relevance of the SDGs and their implication at the national and local level.
A scheduled and broadcasted protest rally on August 4 2015 in Kathmandu, organized by the Joint Dalit Struggle Committee including the Coalition of Dalit Constituent Assembly (CA) Members, Dalit civil society and the Joint Political Dalit Struggle Committee, ended in a violent altercation with police. The Dalit activists were calling for Dalit rights to be secured in the new draft Constitution and demanding proportionate representation with additional compensation in the central and provincial governments and legislature.
Parliamentarians from India, Nepal and Bangladesh have formed the ‘South Asian Parliamentary Forum’ (SAPF) to combat caste discrimination, at the historic ‘South Asia Parliamentarians' Conference on Dalit Concerns’ in Kathmandu 8-9th December.