In most of the countries of South Asia, hate speech is increasingly used by majority groups against minorities on the basis of religion, ethnicity or linguistic difference. Some of the groups under attack, in turn, are found to be victimising others at the same time. The common denominator driving hate speech in the region currently are the ubiquitous online platforms, primarily social media.
Survey by the SR on contemporary forms of slavery
A three-part report examining the challenges and opportunities available for the Dalit justice defenders’ community across South Asia in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.
UNITED NATIONS: Five out of six multidimensionally poor people in India are from lower tribes or castes, according to a new analysis on global multidimensional poverty released by the United Nations on Thursday.
The Bangladesh authorities should exercise caution and restraint in containing the deadliest spate of sectarian violence in Bangladesh in years, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should take immediate steps to protect Hindu religious minorities and prosecute those responsible, including members of law enforcement agencies, for unlawful violence.
IDSN strongly supports the statements by our International Associates, Minority Rights Group and Human Rights Watch, condemning the deadly attacks on Dalits and other Hindu’s in Bangladesh that took place during the Durga Puja
The Dalit Women Conclave on caste and gender justice and a subsequent road rally to demand the long-overdue enactment of the anti-discrimination act in Bangladesh called for action to ensure the rights of Dalits in Bangladesh.
Need and objectives for EU intervention on sustainable corporate governance
Manual pit-emptying – the removal of faecal sludge from pits and tanks using hands or basic tools – is a widespread practice in Bangladesh, and in other low- and middle-income countries. Despite this, little is known about the livelihoods of pit-emptiers. This paper analyses data from six cases of pit-emptying in three cities in Bangladesh, across three different operational modes: private cooperatives, government employees and self-employed workers.
Amnesty International, WaterAid and the International Dalit Solidarity Network call on authorities in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan to take immediate action to protect sanitation workers who are risking their lives on the COVID-19 frontlines.
Sanitation workers’ vital roles put them on the frontline – often forgotten – during COVID-19 lockdowns. Already marginalised in many societies, how has the pandemic affected their safety and wellbeing? Shahrukh Mirza and Andrés Hueso discuss our research with sanitation workers across South Asia, highlighting how to support them through the pandemic and beyond.
Sanitation workers have long been marginalised across South Asia because of stigma around the nature of their work and discrimination based on caste, ethnicity and religion. The COVID-19 pandemic magnified the considerable occupational and health hazards they already faced, leaving many working with limited protection and almost no formal guidance or support. To understand the nature and extent of the challenges sanitation workers have faced during lockdowns, we facilitated studies in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, through telephone interviews with sanitation workers and key informants. The study revealed common insights
“Key national priorities to improve the situation of Dalits in Bangladesh should be set in a comprehensive national action plan to eliminate caste, work and descent based discrimination.”
“Social distancing also has a dark and ominous side. In South Asia, where it has unfurled into a spider’s web of practices, it also directs violence, exclusion and bigotry upon marginalised people whose only ‘sin’ is caste, occupation or descent.”
Indian waste pickers are struggling to obtain information or equipment to inform and protect them during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomson Reuters has run this article by IDSN Ambassador Aidan McQuade and IDSN’s Ritwajit Das, looking at the current challenges faced by Dalit waste pickers in India. While this article looks at India, similar situations are found in other South Asian countries.
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.
The report covers key developments and activities within IDSN’s work under the thematic areas Dalit women and gender justice, business and human rights and equality and participation, within the United Nations, European Union, and communications and networking programmes.
As COVID-19 sweeps across the world it is crucial that we ensure that relief, health services and awareness raising efforts are inclusive and accessible to all irrespective of caste, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other factors. While time is of the essence in the response to COVID-19, taking a moment to ensure that high risk communities such as Dalits are included and addressed in global, national and local responses to COVID-19, can save millions of lives. IDSN and its members have documented discrimination in relief in relation to numerous disasters in the past including flooding, droughts and earthquakes, where Dalits have been left behind, not provided relief materials on an equitable basis and not given equal access to healthcare, shelter or rehabilitation due to ingrained stigma and discrimination. There is a high risk that COVID-19 will also be widespread in caste-affected countries and it is therefore crucial that the unique nature of caste discrimination and the discriminatory practice of untouchability are taken into account. Therefore, Dalit communities and civil society organisations must be consulted and included in planning and implementation efforts to mitigate the serious repercussions of COVID-19. The statement issued by IDSN outlines eight key factors that make Dalits a particularly high-risk group and offers eight key recommendations for state and non-state actors.
“Low-grade, unskilled sanitation workers often face social stigma and discrimination. This is especially true when sanitation is linked to a caste-based structure and often allocated to castes perceived to be lower in the caste hierarchy, such as in India and Bangladesh, where sanitation work is perceived to belong to the Dalit caste. This stigma compounds the social ostracizing and limitations on social mobility that workers face and often results in intergenerational discrimination, where children of sanitation workers often struggle to escape the vicious cycle of limited opportunities and sanitation work.” “[In Bangladesh] Many live in segregated sweeper colonies, which are unhygienic slumlike areas offering poor and overcrowded living conditions. Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and Christian and Muslim Bengalis” "challenges include combating the systemic discrimination Dalits face, which affects their education and real opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and the multiple layers of subcontracting that enable manual scavenging to continue without oversight or enforcement of laws by local authorities"
Press Release – Ethical Trading Initiative – UK - Remaining silent about caste discrimination in global supply chains is fueling modern slavery, child labour and the exploitation of workers in South Asia, according to new ETI Base Code guidance for companies published today.