“Low-grade, unskilled sanitation workers often face social stigma and discrimination. This is especially true when sanitation is linked to a caste-based structure and often allocated to castes perceived to be lower in the caste hierarchy, such as in India and Bangladesh, where sanitation work is perceived to belong to the Dalit caste. This stigma compounds the social ostracizing and limitations on social mobility that workers face and often results in intergenerational discrimination, where children of sanitation workers often struggle to escape the vicious cycle of limited opportunities and sanitation work.” “[In Bangladesh] Many live in segregated sweeper colonies, which are unhygienic slumlike areas offering poor and overcrowded living conditions. Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and Christian and Muslim Bengalis” "challenges include combating the systemic discrimination Dalits face, which affects their education and real opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and the multiple layers of subcontracting that enable manual scavenging to continue without oversight or enforcement of laws by local authorities"
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.
DSN leaves its mark on the UN Business and human rights forum with a very popular stand, highlighting the links between caste and human rights violations in global supply chains. At the stand Dalit human rights defender Ankita Paudel from IDSN member organization, Feminist Dalit Organisation – Nepal (FEDO), and IDSN staff, spoke with participants to improve their understanding and urge them to take action. Ms. Paudel also took part in key events at the forum and made connections with other relevant stakeholders. The IDSN Director, Meena Varma, also gave a snapshot presentation on what Governments can do to start addressing these issues with businesses and IDSN Ambassador, Gerard Oonk, made important new connections and raised awareness of key stakeholders.
Human rights issues related to caste in global supply chains was a key theme at the seminar on vulnerable workers, held in Copenhagen on 12 November, organised by IDSN, the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in the UK. ETI Director, Peter McAllister launched the ETI Caste in Global Supply Chains guidance at the seminar saying. “I am proud and honoured to be here to launch the ETI Base Code Guidance on Caste in Global Supply Chains today … caste underpins so many elements of vulnerability that we must engage with caste issues if we want to address vulnerability,” Mr. McCallister stated.
Henri Tiphagne, member of the IDSN board, represented IDSN in the Global Consultation on National Human Rights Institutions and access to remedy (Project on the Role of NHRIs in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses), on the 10 and 11 October. This consultation is part of an ongoing project of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) about accountability for human rights. violations and abuses committed by corporations.
IDSN was represented by Innasimuthu Pandiyan, from IDSN Associate the Social Awareness Society for Youths (SASY), at the Annual Meeting of ALNAP, a global network of NGOs, UN agencies, members of the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, donors, academics, and networks - dedicated to learning how to improve the response to humanitarian crises.
This documentary examines the ways in which caste discrimination manifests itself in the UK within Asian diaspora communities and the impact of caste-based exclusion on members of these communities. The video follows Parle Patel, a young British Hindu and popular YouTuber, as he interviews members of his community to get to the bottom of whether the UK has a caste problem.
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.
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 IDSN Executive Director and the Dalit Solidarity Network in Norway, met with Norway’s Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, who confirmed Norway’s long-standing support to IDSN and eliminating caste-based discrimination.
Indian media is dominated by ‘upper’ castes and media organisations have failed to diversify their newsroom and news coverage, reveals a new report released by Oxfam India and Newslaundry.
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.