Columbia University in New York hosted a pioneering 2-day Dalit Film and Cultural festival, featuring films that give direct voice to the Dalit experience and reflect on society from a Dalit perspective. The festival took place from 23-24 February, and was organised by the US Ambedkarites.
Equality Labs has released a survey report on Caste in the United States. The report came out of a community driven survey conducted in 2016 and has now emerged as a crucial document that both presents the first evidence of Caste discrimination in the US and helps to map the internal hegemonies within our communities.
In a U-turn policy change the UK Government has decided that despite reports commissioned by the Government itself finding evidence of caste-based rights violations in the UK, caste will not be included as a protected characteristic alongside race, religion and ethnicity in the UK Equalities Act.
The Special Rapporteur (SR) on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Ms. E. Tendayi Achiume, on Friday, 11 May 2018, concluded her official visit to the UK and issued her end of mission statement. During the visit the Special Rapporteur met with the UK government and Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales representatives. Ms Achiume also met with civil society in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast.
Economic & Political Weekly published an excellent article Caste in Britain: public consultation on caste and equality law by Annapurna Waughray. The author provides insightful commentary on why the UK government has not adopted a legislation outlawing caste-based discrimination in the UK yet and concludes that ‘Legislating against caste discrimination in the UK is not only contentious, it has become highly politicised’.
Caste Aside is a documentary about the British government's controversial decision to introduce legislation against caste discrimination in the UK. Highlighting both sides of this heated debate, the documentary speaks to Dalit rights activists, Hindu community leaders, academics and lawyers, as well as those who say they have been discriminated against on the basis of their caste - in Britain.
IDSN Executive Chair and DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma, has been shortlisted for a ‘Secularist of the year 2018 award’ by the The National Secular Society in the UK . The award ‘recognises a campaigner or group for an outstanding contribution to the secularist movement’. The NSS’s council of management selected the shortlist from nominations which were submitted by its members and supporters.
The UK’s Indian Diaspora community are going head to head as the Government’s consultation on caste discrimination legislation is extended. In several media reports groups that are pro and anti the introduction of legislation against caste discrimination in the UK, are arguing about the impact of such a move.
Several organisations and renowned academics have come together and created a website www.casteintheuk.org providing guidance on the questionnaire and the caste Consultation document, both of which contain complex legal terms and words. We do not want this to be a barrier to anyone wanting to respond to the survey.
Despite ample evidence that caste-discrimination in UK is a human rights issue, and a submission made by the Dalit Solidarity Network-UK and IDSN detailing the problem, not a single state mentioned caste discrimination at the UN UPR review of the UK. Human rights campaigners are disappointed at the negligence of the international community when it comes to addressing caste in the UK context. DSN-UK have summarised the review on their website.
Joint alternative report on caste-based discrimination in the UK – ALTERNATIVE REPORT for the 3rd review cycle under the Universal Period Review of the United Kingdom
Key facts and recommendations on caste-based discrimination for the UK UPR 2017 – prepared by the Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK)
BBC Asian Network’s host of the Big Debate, Nomia Iqbal, led a live debate on the caste legislation in the UK. Satpal Muman, Chair of CasteWatch UK and Satish Sharma, from the National Council of Hindu Temples, were in the studio and DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma called in.
In an effort to raise global awareness and engagement on the issue of caste-based violence and discrimination, particularly against Dalit women, a group of Dalit women leaders have toured through Germany and the United States this past month with more tour dates coming up. The women are using visual storytelling through photographs and videos, participating in seminars and engaging on social media via #dalitwomenfight to bring their message to an international audience.