IDSN participated actively in the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues from the 29-30 November, under the theme "Statelessness: A Minority Issue". IDSN members from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan presented on how Dalits in reality often suffer de facto statelessness, due to extreme marginalization and lack of access to rights. Read the IDSN news article on the forum here.
UN experts on gender discrimination voiced concerns over the difficulties elected Dalit women face in Nepal, the need for proportional inclusion of Dalit women in the Judiciary, and extreme poverty faced by many Dalit women as a result of discrimination and stigmatization. The comments were made by the CEDAW committee members at the review of the 6th periodic report of Nepal, on 23 October 2018.
Dalit women activists from India and Nepal took part in the European Development days to share their experiences with, and learn from, other women activists fighting similar struggles across the globe. The women also shared their stories with EU officials and development actors.
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
The newly released Human Rights Watch World Report 2018, Amnesty International Report 2018 and the US State Department reports on India and Nepal, find that caste-based discrimination and violence remain a serious threat as hate crimes against Dalits are widespread. Some of the other themes raised in the reports include discrimination in accessing services, ´manual scavenging´ and bonded labour. Read the IDSN summary of these reports
Young Dalit activists played an active role at the 2017 Forum on Minority Issues, which took place in Geneva from 30 November to 1 December. Dalit women from Nepal and India, forming part of an IDSN delegation, gave powerful presentations under the theme of Minority youth: towards diverse and inclusive societies. They explained to participants how deeply ingrained caste-based discrimination continues to pose severe obstacles to equal participation in most aspects of life and how social media offers both new opportunities for change and new challenges.
When a record number of Dalit women now take their seat in local Government across the country it is indeed a dream come true. IDSN members in Nepal have been working for decades to increase the political participation of Dalit women, resulting in the 2017 Local Level Election Act stipulating that at least one of the four members of each Ward Committee should be a woman from the Dalit community. As a result of this over 7000 Dalit women stood for election and thousands will be set to take their seat in local Government this autumn.
Following the devastating floods in South Asia serious concern for Dalit communities affected by the disaster is being reported. IDSN’s members are on the ground responding and monitoring the situation as it unfolds. Nepal, Bangladesh and India have experienced severe flooding over the past weeks and many Dalit communities are hard hit. In this article we will share some of the reports we have received from members in Nepal. We will be following up on this once more reports have come in from the rest of the region.
In connection with their participation at the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals in New York, IDSN member in Nepal, FEDO, has produced a valuable briefing paper on the Sustainable Development Goals and how they are directly related to the situation of Dalits, and in particular of Dalit women. The paper offers key insight into the relevance of the SDGs and their implication at the national and local level.
Several human rights organisations in Nepal have joined forces to launch and impressive new online portal that will collect information on human rights violations relating to caste in Nepal and push for action to address them. The portal is a much-needed tool to help ensure implementation of Nepal’s legislation against caste discrimination as this form of discrimination much too often goes unpunished. The portal will also raise awareness of the needs of Dalits in Nepal and other issues affecting Dalit communities.
Dalit communities are among the poorest in Nepal. So when disaster strikes, such as the immensely destructive earthquake in May 2015, they are inevitably one of the worst affected communities.
The 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues (the Forum) was held last week, on 24 and 25 November 2016, focusing on the situation of minorities in humanitarian crises. The Forum provides a unique opportunity for state representatives, experts, civil society and minority communities, and specialised bodies to engage in a constructive dialogue and seek ways to strengthen the protection and promotion of minority rights in prevention, crisis situations and the aftermath.
On 23 November 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) held a consultation with civil society organisations “Joining hands to end racial discrimination”. It aimed to reflect on how the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination helped make a difference in combatting racial discrimination and seek views on how to improve and enhance its engagement with civil society.
Despite political chaos and widespread dissatisfaction with the draft constitution, voting on the constitution, part by part, is taking place this week. The constitution being put to a vote lacks crucial text on inclusion of Dalits and other marginalized groups that had been previously agreed by both the Constituent Assembly (CA) committees.
A scheduled and broadcasted protest rally on August 4 2015 in Kathmandu, organized by the Joint Dalit Struggle Committee including the Coalition of Dalit Constituent Assembly (CA) Members, Dalit civil society and the Joint Political Dalit Struggle Committee, ended in a violent altercation with police. The Dalit activists were calling for Dalit rights to be secured in the new draft Constitution and demanding proportionate representation with additional compensation in the central and provincial governments and legislature.
IDSN appeals to stakeholders providing humanitarian assistance in Nepal to: Involve local Dalit civil society representatives and organisations in their planning and provision of relief and rehabilitation, following the Nepal Earthquakes, including regular consultations. Ensure that mechanisms are established for assessing equitable access to aid for Dalits and other discriminated groups. Collect disaggregated data along caste lines, to monitor relief and rehabilitation services. Use affirmative policies to ensure Dalit organisations are also involved in implementation. Engage with the recommendations laid out by the Dalit Civil Society Massive Earthquake Victim Support and Coordination Committee in their report of May 2015. Follow the recommendations and guidelines in the IDSN Equality in Aid – Addressing caste discrimination in humanitarian response report and call upon international level policy and standard settings groupings in the field of humanitarian assistance to take due account of these aspects in their future work.
As aid agencies and NGOs fight to deliver aid and help victims of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, IDSN wish to draw attention to the importance of considering caste discrimination in relation to aid delivery in Nepal.