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.
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.
Report findings recently released from the India Human Development Survey, the India Exclusion Report and the Nepal Multidimensional Social Inclusion Index, document that caste discrimination is very far from being history. In almost all aspects of every-day life statistics indicate that caste discrimination is deep-rooted and widespread.
Thirty-one parliamentarians from India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh gathered for a meeting of the Asian Parliamentarians’ Forum on Dalit Concerns in Kathmandu, at the fringes of the 2014 SAARC meeting. The former Prime Minister of Nepal, Baburam Bhatttarai, delivered a remarkable keynote speech, calling for an international framework and a regional thematic approach to eliminate caste discrimination, and cooperation between South Asian parliamentarians for a common agenda.
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.
In an effort to address the persistence of caste discrimination, despite legal measures forbidding it, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) held a consultation workshop on the implementation status of UN UPR recommendations concerning caste-based discrimination
Hundreds of Dalit women from across Nepal gathered in Kathmandu for the “Dalit Women’s National Conference for Democracy, Justice, Sustainable Peace and Inclusive Constitution” from 2-4 December 2014. The conference was organized by the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) and international speakers included UN Women and IDSN.
In an analysis entitled “Nepal: why child marriage persists”, based on findings by Save the Children, World Vision, and Plan, IRIN news highlight that Dalit girls are at particular risk of child marriage in Nepal, and that concerted efforts to change the social welfare for Dalits in Nepal are needed.
Within the span of a month the urgent issue of caste discrimination has been highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Assembly, The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UNDP. Earlier this year the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women also reported grave concern for Dalit women.