Dalit women from Nepal, India and Bangladesh joined hands to assert their rights at a rally in Kathmandu, at the fringes of the people’s SAARC meeting. Hundreds of Dalit women from across Nepal gathered at the FEDO National Dalit Women conference, to put Dalit women’s rights on the agenda and In India several long marches and mass gatherings of Dalit women took place throughout November and December.
A report following up on modern slavery in Indian spinning mills, finds that despite initiatives launched to end conditions of forced labour, the situation remains alarming. Efforts of clothing brands and retailers to end this, lack scale and conviction. Due to their marginalised status and lack of alternative opportunities, the majority of girls working in these factories are Dalits.
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.
Dalit Human rights defenders and a team from the IDSN secretariat took part in The European Instrument on Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) 2014 Forum on Protecting Those Who Protect. Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of the National Dalit Women’s movement in India, spoke about Dalit women human rights defenders as part of a panel while Henri Tiphagne raised the issue of shrinking space for human rights defenders in India.
The case of the rape and hanging of two girls in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, has caused a global media storm of reports on rape and violence against women in India and the strong links to caste discrimination. Numerous stories have highlighted that India’s ‘rape culture’ and ‘culture of impunity’ will not end until caste discrimination is tackled head on. Leading Human Rights NGOs and the UN have also made statements.
”Even if no one else recognizes us as human, we will shout it from the rooftops. … The shame is not on the women, the shame is on India,” said US Dalit woman filmmaker Thenmozhi Soundararajan in the talk she gave together with Asha Kowtal from AIDMAM, at the high profile Women in The World Summit in New York. Uma Thurman introduced the talk by playing the part of a Dalit woman rape victim and NBC anchor Cynthia McFadden moderated the discussion.
Human Rights Watch Report: India’s marginalized denied education Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims are most at risk of dropping out of school and being denied an education in India – states the comprehensive report, “They say we’re dirty” – Denying an Education to India’s Marginalised, just released by Human Rights Watch.
“The intergenerational nature of caste-based discrimination condemns women to a life of exclusion, marginalization and disadvantage in every sphere of life. Many of those women are denied an education and economic opportunities, and perform dangerous and unprotected work, including … modern forms of slavery,” stated the SR on Violence against Women, Ms. Rashida Manjoo, in her report following her mission to India.
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.
UNICEF: Dalit girls most excluded from primary education in India A report just released by UNICEF and UNESCO, on out of school children in India, highlights that Dalit girls have the highest primary school exclusion rate in India. The report also finds that half of the pre-school age Dalit children are not attending school.