The impact on women of caste-based hate speech in the internet, so- cial media, and technology spheres
At the 51st Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, Mr Tomoya Obokata, the Special Rapporteur on Slavery, will present his report focusing on the Contemporary forms of slavery affecting persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minority communities. Child labour and caste-based discrimination are closely interlinked alongside severe discrimination against Dalit women.
An unprecedented collaboration between apparel manufacturer Eastman Exports and labour stakeholders TTCU, AFWA and GLJ-ILRF led to the historic reversal of a decision by the US government, thereby protecting both businesses and thousands of jobs for women workers. This framework of cooperation and goodwill between industry and labour organisations is a harbinger of what is possible when the two parties come together constructively.
Background: In April 2022, Indian women- and Dalit-worker led union TTCU signed a historic agreement with clothing and textile manufacturer Eastman Exports to end gender-based violence and harassment at Eastman factories in Dindigul, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India. TTCU, GLJ-ILRF, and AFWA also signed a legally binding agreement, subject to arbitration, with multinational fashion company H&M, which has an ongoing business relationship with Eastman Exports. This agreement requires H&M to support and enforce the TTCU-Eastman Exports agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, if Eastman Exports violates its commitments, H&M is obligated to impose business consequences on Eastman Exports until Eastman comes into compliance.
On 14 November the Alderbugh Cinema DocFest invited the IDSN Executive Director to speak about Dalit women human rights defenders and caste in South Asia at the screening of the award winning documentary Writing with Fire.
Recommendations for the prevention of sexual violence against Dalit women and girls (August 2021)
“COVID-19 has impacted lives of Dalit women and girls much more than anyone in India. Especially those Dalit women engaging in the sanitation work are risking their lives in the pandemic as frontline workers without any social security.”
INDIA, July 19, 2021: Working in collaboration with Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRD-Net), Equality Labs, and Equality Now, NCWL is launching a national campaign running from July 19th to August 31st 2021, which will draw much-needed public attention to how Dalit women and girls are being deliberatly subjected to widespread sexual violence and harrassment stemming from severe, pervasive and intersectional discrimination tied to their gender, caste and class. Vulnerably positioned at the bottom of these social structures, the socio-economic vulnerability and low political status of Dalit women and girls increases their exposure to human rights violations, while simultaneously reducing their ability to escape harm or access justice.
The report focuses on the current status of Dalit women in India, the nature and extent of crimes committed against them and the existing gaps in the system which create barriers in accessing justice. It also highlights a detailed analysis of the NCRB data on crimes committed against Dalit women from 2014-19 and the current socio-economic and political status of Dalit women in the country.
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.
In connection with their participation in the 43rd 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.
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.
IDSN strongly condemns the rapes and murders of Dalit girls and women in South Asia. The recent case of gang rape and murder of a 19-year old Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, has highlighted the ongoing brutality against Dalit women and the impunity with which it is administered. We stand in solidarity with Dalit women, their families and human rights defenders taking action on the ground to ensure that justice is served.
“Dalit women who carry the double burden of gender and caste, and are one of the most socially undervalued in India, are therefore under constant pressure to project an acceptable version that mimics the savarna ideal. In a romantic pursuit or a partnership, we are expected to operate along a behavioural band that is far narrower than what is required of a non-Dalit woman.” From the excerpt of ‘Swipe Me Left, I’m Dalit’, by Christina Dhanaraj in the book 'Love is not a word: The culture and politics of desire' edited by Debotri Dhar.
“Abirami Jotheeswaran, director, All India Dalit Women Adhikar Manch, says due to negligence of police, many rape cases against Dalit women go unreported. This is a problem not restricted to Tamil Nadu alone, it is the same story all over the country”.
“Nepal has laws against caste-based crimes but they are rarely applied, and often the police refuse to even register cases – such as rape – when the victim is a Dalit … The alleged role of local politicians in these cases can lead to obstruction of justice, which means that an independent investigation is essential.” - Statement by Human Rights Watch
A comprehensive report on the status of Dalit women in Nepal has been released by IDSN member the Feminist Dalit Organization Nepal (FEDO) with support from IDSN and Womankind. The report details the situation, challenges and recommendations within poverty, education, health, safety, political participation, Dalit women in the media and Dalit girl children in Nepal. It is clear from the report that while progress has been made, immediate and sustained action targeted at Dalit women in Nepal is crucial.
Dalit women in Pakistan are at high risk of human rights abuses due to intersecting caste, religious and gender discrimination. In the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) review of Pakistan, the Committee recommends that the state addresses intersecting discrimination directly and note concern over the persistence of abductions and forced conversions, stereotypes and insufficient disaggregated data.
"Before, I was not aware of my rights. Now, I am aware of all of them. I have the courage to stand up for myself and to ask for my rights when I am denied them," says Premalatha Tamilselvan, a Dalit woman who took part in a human rights training programme offered by IDSN member People’s Watch as a child and is now defending human rights and fighting to end caste discrimination. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights documents her story.