“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”.
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.
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.
Manjula Pradeep, human rights activist and founder of Wayve Foundation on caste and women's labour speaks about the unique situtation of Dalit women in relation to labour and modern slavery.
"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.
“Living in India and being a Dalit woman myself, I have always been exposed to Dalit literature, activism and everyday life discrimination. To find instances of transnational solidarities of India with its neighbouring country of Nepal, where Nepali Dalit women’s lives too are intertwined with gender roles, casteism and patriarchal subordination, startled me.” Pragya Roy takes a look at the status of Dalit women in India and Nepal and the bonds that join them together in solidarity.
IDSN submitted a report detailing the challenges faced by Dalit women and girls in Pakistan, for the review of the government’s report on compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW review), which took place Tuesday 11th February.
Participants and presenters shared stories, ideas and strategies at the workshop Minority Women: 25 Years as Agents of Change Together, organised by IDSN and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) at the Beijing+25 Regional CSO Forum in Bangkok, on 26 November. The presenters included Judith Anne Lal, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-NCDHR and the event was moderated by IDSN board member, Megumi Komori from IMADR. A video from the event was also shared.
A new report by Homeworkers Worldwide finds Dalit women working in global leather supply chains being subjected to discrimination, insecure work, low wages and labour rights abuses, including sexual harassment.
Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a survivor centric forum with more than 12,000 survivors of sexual violence and their families, have submitted a letter to the Supreme Court of India asking that it treats commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children as serial rape under the under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POSCO’). Dalit children are especially at risk of rape and sexual exploitation as they are marginalised and offered little protection and recourse to justice in highly caste-stratified societies. IDSN ‘s member organisation in India, Jan Sahas is a part of Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan and has issued the following release.
Dalit human rights defenders and UN experts raise concerns over intersectional caste and gender discrimination and its adverse impact on access to human rights, at the Dalit Women and Gender Justice side-event at the UN Human Rights Council’s 41st Session in Geneva. On 25 June 2019, IDSN International Associate IMADR, and others organised a side-event during the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council, on Dalit women and gender justice. The panel was composed of Dubravka Simonovic, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Renu Sijapati, General Secretary of the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO-Nepal) and Abirami Jotheeswaran, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NDMJ-NCDHR). The event was moderated by Henri Tiphagne, from Peoples’ Watch, in India.
Renu Sijapati, from the Feminist Dalit Organisation – FEDO Nepal, delivered an oral statement at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019, encouraging Nepal to implement the recommendations in the UN Nepal visit report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women. The visit took place in October 2018.
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.
Press Release – Ethical Trading Initiative – UK - Remaining silent about caste discrimination in global supply chains is fueling modern slavery, child labour and the exploitation of workers in South Asia, according to new ETI Base Code guidance for companies published today.