Economic, social and labour rights were the thematic headlines of this year’s EU-NGO Human Rights Forum, where three Dalit human rights defenders were featured as panellists, facilitated by IDSN. Caste-related barriers to healthcare in Pakistan, post-covid economic and social recovery for Dalit workers in South Asia and building corporate accountability to respect human rights were among the key topics covered by the panellists.
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)
Need and objectives for EU intervention on sustainable corporate governance
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.
The EU should take a strong stand and press India to immediately end systemic human rights violations, seven organizations said today, ahead of the European Union-India Human Rights Dialogue scheduled for January 12, 2021. India should also free all detained human rights defenders and others arrested on politically motivated charges.
22nd EU NGO Human Rights Forum - The Impact of New Technologies on Human Rights
EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore and India and Nepal desk representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) met with IDSN and Dalit women activists from the Feminist Dalit Organisation – Nepal (FEDO) and All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch (AIDMAM-NCDHR) to discuss caste-based violence against Dalit women in their respective countries. The meeting was held online on 24 November and Mr. Gilmore assured the women that the EU remained committed to working to end caste-based violence and discrimination.
An initiative to bring together various important resources on the issues of manual scavenging and sanitation work
Women engaged in manual scavenging face the double burden of caste and gender-based discrimination. Let us pledge to support their dignity, health and rights. A film by Nirman Chowdhury, produced by Sudharak Olwe, for WaterAid India. The first part of a series.
“Maria Arena, the chief of the panel, said that protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act have led to “arbitrary detentions and an unnecessary loss of life”. She said that journalists and peaceful critics were being arrested under “draconian counter-terrorism and sedition laws”
Amnesty International (AI), Front Line Defenders (FLD), Human Rights Watch (HRW), IDSN, Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) issued a joint letter calling on the EU to specifically address serious concerns for the safety and rights of human rights defenders in India.
A joint statement by the EU Delegation and EU Member States represented in Kathmandu was issued on 3 June deploring the tragic loss of life in Rukum, condemning violence based on caste and other grounds and expressing the EU’s support to efforts undertaken to conduct a fair investigation leading to action to ensure justice and reparations for the victims and their families. The EU Ambassador to Nepal, Veronica Cody, also tweeted on the killings in Rukum on 30 May expressing the EU’s heartfelt condolences to the families and love ones of those killed , condemning such caste-based acts of violence and standing together with all those calling for justice for the victims.
"Let me also comment on the IDSN's application to an ECOSOC consultative status. The EU is fully aware of the repeated and unjustified defenals of IDSN by the UN NGO Committee, due to the opposition of one member state in the Committee. The EU has publicly expressed its concern regarding both the ill-functioning NGO Committee in general and the new deferral of IDSN during the last session of the Committee in January 2020."
Call on the European Commission to human rights and environmental due diligence. Signed by IDSN in October 2019
The EU Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, has announced that the EU Commission will introduce a legislative initiative next year on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence for EU based companies. If this legislation is introduced, EU companies can be held responsible for human rights violations in their supply chains. This is very good news for Dalits, Adivasis and other vulnerable workers. These workers often bear the brunt of serious human rights violations in supply chains, including forced and bonded labour, child labour, exploitative and dangerous working conditions and hostile and abusive work environments – as documented in the Ethical Trading Initiative’s guidance Caste in Global Supply Chains. These workers are often found far down in the supply chains as agricultural workers, construction or stone workers or working in spinning mills or leather tanneries supplying the global garment industry.
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.
The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2018 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The European Parliament’s report notes “with great concern the scale and consequences of caste hierarchies, caste-based discrimination and the perpetuation of caste-based human rights violations, including the denial of access to the legal system or employment, continued segregation, poverty and stigmatisation, and caste-related barriers to the exercise of basic human rights and facilitation of human development”.
From the streets of South Asia, activists fighting for justice, human rights and freedom from caste apartheid are now bringing the campaign #NoCasteLeftBehind to Europe. The activists will be in Brussels to take part in the European Development Days from 18-19 June.
An IDSN delegation with Dalit human rights defenders from Nepal, India and Bangladesh made its mark on the European Development Days 2019, with a stand in the Global Village and participation in key sessions. The event also saw the launch of IDSN’s #NoCasteLeftBehind initiative with participants joining hands to fight caste discrimination. After the European Development Days, the delegation also met with key EU officials, including the new EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore.
IDSN welcomes the new EU Human Rights Guidelines on Non-discrimination in External Action, where caste is mentioned several times as a form of discrimination that must be addressed. It is specified in the guidelines that the term ‘descent’, “includes discrimination against members of communities based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status”, and that the EU should, “Participate actively in UN mechanisms and processes dedicated to general and specific discrimination related issues such as … discrimination based on caste (work and descent)”. The guidelines also state the EU must encourage and support active participation of civil society in multilateral fora and mechanisms in relation to discrimination based on caste (work and descent).