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The newly released Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 and the Amnesty International 2014-15 report find that caste discrimination persists with adverse effects to human rights on multiple levels. Serious obstacles to access to justice, discrimination in education and access to services and caste-based violence, including rape of Dalit women, are among the key themes addressed in the reports. These concerns are also noted in the latest India and Nepal reports of the US State Department.
Dalits marched in Bangladesh to demand that the Government enact anti-discrimination legislation. The Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement also organised a seminar on housing and land rights for Dalits.
A young Dalit human rights defender was abducted from his house by five police officers in Tamil Nadu, and brutally tortured. An urgent appeal has been launched.
In a written reply to the Indian House of Parliament (Lok Sabha), the Indian Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, said that the practice of manual scavenging still persists in various parts of the country. He added that because previous laws banning the practice had proved inadequate, parliament had enacted the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, the implementation of which is now be monitored.
In the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), review of India on 2 July 2014, the issues of Dalit women and girls were brought up by several experts of the Committee and the Committee noted that Dalit women and the lack of implementation of laws were matters of serious concern.
The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that the continuance of manual scavenging in the country is in blatant violation of Article 17 of the Constitution of India by which, “untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden”. The court was emphatic about the duty cast on all states and union territories “to fully implement the law and to take action against the violators”.
Groundbreaking Report on Claiming Justice for Dalits in India Told directly from victims, witnesses, community members, human rights defenders and public officials, the report analyzes over 400 atrocity cases, with 20 in-depth case studies covering atrocities such as murder, rape, mass attack, and land grabbing.
For a full month Dalit women have marched in India to fight the vicious cycle of caste and gender discrimination that severely restricts the lives of Dalit women and subjects them to violence, rape and violations of their basic human rights in almost every sphere.