IDSN participated actively in the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council, highlighting the need to tackle caste discrimination through participation at key events, interactive dialogues and oral statements.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, Olivier de Schutter, presented to the Human Rights Council his visit report to Nepal, which took place from 29 November to 9 December 2021.
Following his visit to Nepal that started on 29 November, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, Olivier De Schutter, released a statement highlighting the persistent interconnections between caste and poverty in Nepal. The Rapporteur also raised issues of caste violence and the need to do more to ensure meaningful political representation of Dalit women in Nepal.
In the present case of gang rape and murder of 19 years old girl of Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, every statutory provision prescribed by law of the land (especially PoA Act) to ensure relief and justice to the victim’s family was set aside by the police and administration of the State.
Minority Rights Group (MRG) strongly condemns the widespread attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh over the past week. Violent attacks began sweeping Bangladesh as its Hindu minority community was celebrating its biggest annual festival, the Durga Puja, starting on 13 October. The violence commenced after a video went viral on social media apparently showing the Qur’an being placed on the knee of a statue of the Hindu god Hanuman, in a shrine for the festival in the eastern district of Cumilla.
International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) echo the call by National Campaign on DalitHuman Rights (NCDHR) and Tamil Nadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU) on garment brands to negotiate a binding agreement to end systemic gender-based violence that leverages caste discrimination at global supplier factory Natchi Apparels (SF. No:470/2 Kaithayan Kottai, Vedasandur 624711, Dindigul), after a 21-year-old Dalit garment worker was murdered by her dominant caste factory supervisor earlier this year.
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.
The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), delivered a general statement about racial discrimination in the United States.
IDSN issued recommendations to States, contributed to statements and observed and noted caste-relevant issues presented at the UN Human Rights Council 45th Session held in Geneva.
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.
“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 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.
IDSN strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd. Our hearts go out to his loved ones and the loved ones of all those killed because of systemic inequality, racism and discrimination every day across the globe. We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the fight for justice and a world free of racism and discrimination.
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.
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.
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.
The statement from CIVICUS highlights the 10-year deferral of IDSN’s application for UN consultative status and calls for all members of the committee to immediately discontinue any arbitrary actions to block applications from non-governmental organisations and strongly encourages governments that are committed to promoting an enabling environment for civil society to nominate themselves for future seats on the Committee.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, raises concern over increasing marginalisation and discrimination in India, in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in March. Speaking about the situation in India, the High Commissioner shows concern over the fact that, despite significant poverty reduction in general terms, there has been, “increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – in particular Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis”. She points out to narrow political agendas in that country lead to further marginalisation of vulnerable people.
In IDSN’s 10th December statement on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we share our dream that one day love and respect for human rights will prevail over brutal caste oppression and injustice.
IDSN and 257 other NGOs issued a statement for the meeting between the ECOSOC NGO Committee and accredited NGOS, raising concern over the “practices of the Committee that have inappropriately blocked the participation of some NGOs, in particular human rights NGOs, through procedural tactics including perpetual and repetitive questioning of applicants."