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.
IDSN participated actively in the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues from the 29-30 November, under the theme "Statelessness: A Minority Issue". IDSN members from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan presented on how Dalits in reality often suffer de facto statelessness, due to extreme marginalization and lack of access to rights. Read the IDSN news article on the forum here.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Šimonović made a preliminary assessment on violence against women in Nepal, after her official visit to the country, which took place from the 19 to the 29 November. On the same occasion, she released an urgent appeal for the Nepalese State to step up efforts to fight against impunity and to secure access to justice for victims of gender-based violence. Read the IDSN article on the assessment here.
Many Dalits were among the protesters when police opened fire and shot and killed 10 people protesting in India. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reacted by calling for a probe and condemning what is seen as an unwarranted use of force by the police.
A group of UN human rights experts have expressed grave concerns about the continued detention of Mauritanian blogger Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’kheitir on charges that violate his human rights. Mr. M’kheitir was arrested in January 2014 and sentenced to death for apostasy in after publishing an article online questioning the use of religious justification to legitimise caste discrimination.
Young Dalit activists played an active role at the 2017 Forum on Minority Issues, which took place in Geneva from 30 November to 1 December. Dalit women from Nepal and India, forming part of an IDSN delegation, gave powerful presentations under the theme of Minority youth: towards diverse and inclusive societies. They explained to participants how deeply ingrained caste-based discrimination continues to pose severe obstacles to equal participation in most aspects of life and how social media offers both new opportunities for change and new challenges.
The UN Expert on Water and Sanitation, Léo Heller, has stated that the failure to end the practice of manual scavenging in India coupled with the construction of more non-flush toilets, is contributing to an increase in the discriminatory practice of manual scavenging, where the lowest castes are made to undertake the duty of cleaning excrements from non-flush toilets by hand. The statement forms part of Mr. Heller’s official statement on his November 2017 mission in India.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, has released a report on housing in India. The report draws attention to the alarming state of Dalit houses and the need for Government action to improve housing and end discrimination.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing has completed a 12-day visit to India during which she expressed concern about India’s legacy of discrimination against Dalits and other marginalised groups.
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.
Three Dalit human rights defenders spoke at the UN Forum on Minority Issues. Durga Sob, from Nepal, and Manjula Pradeep and Ramesh Nathan from India, delivered strong statements on the dismal state of access to justice for Dalits and the mistreatment of Dalits in the criminal justice system.