Collection of various anti-caste books for children - including links to where to find the books.
India's "untouchable" Catholics have threatened to split from the Indian hierarchy and establish a separate church if the Holy See continues to discriminate against low-caste clergy in the appointment of bishops and cardinals.
IDSN Members respond to the extremely vulnerable situation of Dalits during the Covid-19 lockdown and pandemic. We have collated some examples of reports, relief and other initiatives undertaken by IDSN members over the past two months. Read the IDSN round-up of Member initiatives
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.
”I have seen the men of my neighbourhood die doing this. They have slowly vanished in the sewer one after the other. One goes and the other follows. I saw Ravi die in front of me.”
“Qualified and deserving Dalit candidates are ignored due to the compulsions of caste-mindedness and are purposely neglected. There is only one person from the Dalit community among 17 Catholic bishops in Tamil Nadu.”
Thought provoking photo feature depicting some of the reasons Dalits have been killed in India.
“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”.
“The sudden enforcement of the strict lockdown led to chaos, fear and loss of livelihood of the daily wage earners, mainly Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim community members … There have been cases where the Dalit and other marginalized communities have had very less or no access to rations … the situation has further pushed the Dalit and Adivasi communities into vulnerability due to “non-availability or accessibility of essentials.”
“Exclusion of caste from discrimination policies makes companies caste-blind. Emerging research suggests caste-based losses to companies are similar to those due to a lack of gender and race diversity.”
“The Oxfam-News laundry report shows how upper castes dominate Indian newsrooms. But journalists like Rajat Sharma, Sudhir Chaudhary and Rahul Kanwal have also emerged as influencers on digital space.”
“To truly overcome anti-black racism, we must also challenge South Asia’s caste system. The history of colourism can be traced back to the ideology of the Indian caste system, an occupational division of people, which still exists in South Asian communities today.”
The need for more attention to be paid to intersectional caste and gender discrimination and for transforming mindsets through human rights education and awareness raising, was highlighted at the UN multi-stakeholder hearing ‘Accelerating the Realization of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls’ on 21 July.
IDSN fully endorses the Call to action on Labour Law changes in India, issued by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The statement calls on businesses sourcing in India to respond to the news that several Indian states will suspend key fundamental labour rights for a period of up to three years, under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis.
A new report published by the human rights NGO Arisa has found that children under 14 years account for over 18% of the workforce in the cottonseed farms surveyed, with over 50% of the child labourers in the sector being Dalits or Adivasis. The majority of the child labourers were not attending school. IDSN welcomes ‘Sowing Hope’ and urges companies looking to address child labour and the working conditions in the seed sector to address caste discrimination directly, as it is a key root cause of child labour, also evidenced by the large percentage of Dalits engaged in this work as documented.
IDSN member the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR) has issued a press release detailing a wide range of atrocities against Dalits over the past months under the Covid-19 lockdown. NDMJ highlights that the lockdown has led to a surge in caste-based violence and atrocities and that access to justice for Dalits remains deeply flawed. The organisation has collected a wide range of case reports and has made interventions in these. NDMJ has also collated media reports documenting examples of the violations.
DSN-UK has issued an appeal to the public, governments and companies to raise concern about the plight of Dalits during Covid-19 - "We have the opportunity to reshape the world – so raise your voice and make sure that our government is reminded that equality does not exist for all."
“This neglect always existed, even historically, because we are Dalits … No one is bothered about the unhygienic and undignified working conditions we have to bear… We should never have to touch waste with our hands. However, while earlier we had to fight for gloves, raincoats, gumboots, today, we have to fight for PPE kits.” Amnesty India has launched an appeal for signatures to urge the government to ensure the dignity and protection of India’s sanitation workers – who are predominantly Dalits.
“This online public event is designed to take a pledge against discrimination based on caste, religion and race, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement in the US, condemning the brutal murder of the Afro American, George Floyd at the racist white American Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25th May. We stand united with the black and other coloured people of the US who have been suffering racial discrimination for more than four centuries. We from India have special interest in the Black Lives Matter Movement, as we are ourselves up against caste discrimination, which is another form of racial discrimination.” A signature campaign and joint letter has also been organised.
By undermining the reservation system in health education, the government may undo the public healthcare system.