Contribution by the International Dalit Solidarity Network The nature of poverty and inequality in Nepal, including how poverty is or should be defined and measured, its prevalence, and its distribution. In the specific context of Dalits, poverty walks hand in hand with the practice of untouchability, affecting access to work and meaningful income possibilities. Caste based discrimination affects 13.8% of the total population of Nepal,i comprised of seven Hill Dalit castes and 19 Madhesi Dalit castes. Caste based discrimination and untouchability (CBDU) continue to be deeply entrenched in Nepalese society.
In a European Union Statement delivered by Mr. Christophe Forax, First Counsellor, at the 75th United Nations General Assembly Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations 2021 Resumed Session, the EU called for ending the unjust deferrals of applications for UN ECOSOC status, naming five organisations, including the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN)
Documenting key cases where caste discrimination impacts negatively on the freedom of association and assembly in Nepal and India. Submission made jointly by: International Dalit Solidarity Network - IDSN Feminist Dalit Organization - FEDO Nepal Dalit NGO Federation - DNF National Dalit Movement for Justice - NDMJ National Campaign on Dalit Rights - NCDR Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network - DHRDN
In connection with their participation in the 44th 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.
A petition by DHRD to call for the the United Nations to Build Forward Better on Descent and Caste-Based Discrimination.
IDSN delivered strong statements at the UN Forum on Minority Issues on the theme “Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities” highlighting the need to address caste-hate speech. The Forum was held in Geneva and virtually from 19-20 November 2020.
IMADR delivered the oral statement on “Human rights to water and sanitation for Dalits in India” at the 45th session of the Human Rights Council. ID with the Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation. Whole text can be read below or download here.
"Nothing can justify the persistence of the practice of slavery," said Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali and Tomoya Obokata, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences. “We condemn these barbaric and criminal acts that violate the right to life, physical integrity and human dignity, and too often go unpunished.”
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.
IDSN, in a joint statement with Minority Rights Group (MRG), delivered a strong statement in response welcoming the report and highlighting the issues faced by Dalit women who are discriminated against, not only because of their caste, but because of their gender. These women are “particularly subject to bonded debt in the area of domestic work”. It is a practice that is prevalent in many countries in Asia and one that needs to urgently be addressed. IDSN and MRG urged the Rapporteur to continue monitoring those who are discriminated against on the basis of their caste, specifically those who are subject to servitude and modern slavery.
The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Ms. Urmila Bhoola, made a special reference to caste-affected groups in the context of discriminatory attitudes in domestic work in her report to the HRC. She urged states to increase their efforts “in addressing and preventing domestic servitude”.
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.
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.