In February, the IDSN Membership Coordinator took part in the National Stakeholder Consultation on the UN UPR in Nepal, organised by IDSN members the Dalit NGO Federation, Feminist Dalit Organization & Jagaran Media Centre together with IDSN Affiliate the Dalit Welfare Organisation and over thirty other Dalit NGOs in Nepal. The Consultation highlighted the need to act to end caste discrimination and promote caste gender justice. Over 70 participants from CSOs, media, academia, and Government took part in the consultation.
IDSN, the Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement (BDERM) and Nagorik Uddyog submitted a joint report to the UPR process and distributed a factsheet with recommendations on protecting the human rights of Dalits in Bangladesh.
The Concluding Observations of the May 2018 review of Nepal, by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), includes dozens of remarks relating to caste-based discrimination and several strongly worded recommendations on fighting it. Read the full IDSN analysis
Despite ample information provided by the UN system itself and civil society groups working on Dalit rights in Bangladesh, only one recommendation addressing the rights abuses faced by Dalits was brought forward at the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
In advance of the UN HRC 37 IDSN distributed its recommendations, referring to the High Commissioner on Human Rights reports, the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan. IDSN board member Henri Tiphagne also spoke at key side-events and the situation of Dalits was noted in several debates.
Joint statement by the International Dalit Solidarity Network, Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network, International Movement Against All Forms of Racism and Discrimination (IMADR), Minority Rights Group International, Anti-Slavery International and FORUM-ASIA. As the UN review Pakistan’s human rights record on 13 November, we urge the Government to commit with time bound action plans to end ongoing serious human rights violations against Dalits in Pakistan. Despite general commitments made to this effect at previous UN UPR reviews of Pakistan these have not been implemented and violations such as bonded labour, forced conversions and disappearances, murder and persecution of Dalit rights defenders continue unabated. As a newly elected member of the UN Human Rights Council, Pakistan must ensure that commitments to protect the rights of Dalits are urgently and duly implemented.
13 states mentioned caste and/ or Dalits, resulting in 13 targeted recommendations 9 targeted recommendation (on caste and Dalits) out of 13 were accepted.
In response to the 250 recommendations, which India received during its third review of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the Human Rights Council on 4 May 2017, the Government of India (GoI) accepted nine recommendations related to caste-based discrimination.i The accepted recommendations, were made by a cross-regional group of states: USA, Peru, Argentina, France, Germany, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, and two from the Holy See (see the recommendations in the document).
Factsheet for the UPR of Pakistan (28th session, 13 November 2017)
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Pakistan 2017 - Discrimination against Dalits in Pakistan
Despite ample evidence that caste-discrimination in UK is a human rights issue, and a submission made by the Dalit Solidarity Network-UK and IDSN detailing the problem, not a single state mentioned caste discrimination at the UN UPR review of the UK. Human rights campaigners are disappointed at the negligence of the international community when it comes to addressing caste in the UK context. DSN-UK have summarised the review on their website.
At the UN review of the human rights situation in India, more than a dozen UN Member States recommended actions to ensure the rights of Dalits. The recommendations come following reports and statements from civil society, including Dalit rights organisations, documenting the lack of enforcement and protection of the human rights of Dalits in India.
Joint alternative report on caste-based discrimination in the UK – ALTERNATIVE REPORT for the 3rd review cycle under the Universal Period Review of the United Kingdom
Key facts and recommendations on caste-based discrimination for the UK UPR 2017 – prepared by the Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK)
Alternative report by The Working Group on Human Rights in India including concerns over Dalit rights on page 24
UPR fact sheet on caste based discrimination including follow up from the last review and recommendations – prepared by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)
Ahead of the reviews fact sheets and UPR submissions concerning the situation of Dalits in the two countries have been prepared. The reviews are in place to examine the extent to which the two countries are upholding their international commitments on human rights. Dalit rights activists and organisations are urging states to act on holding both governments accountable to their obligations to combat caste discrimination.
On 3 March CIVICUS held a side event to the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on “Backsliding on Civic Space in Democracies”, in advance of India, Brazil, Poland and South Africa examinations under the Universal Periodic Review in May 2017. The event was co-sponsored by IDSN, Amnesty International, CIVICUS, Forum Asia, ISHR, HRW, HRDA and OBS. IDSN was represented by its board member Henri Tiphagne from Human Rights Defenders Association in India.