The life of a Dalit woman in Punjab is a true picture of the intersectional reality of caste, class and gender. Their experiences represent clear evidence of widespread exploitation, violence and indecent inhumane treatment.
Indian workers in factories supplying the supermarket chains Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury's, and the fashion brand Ralph Lauren, told the BBC they are being subjected to exploitative conditions.
Women engaged in manual scavenging face the double burden of caste and gender-based discrimination. Let us pledge to support their dignity, health and rights. A film by Nirman Chowdhury, produced by Sudharak Olwe, for WaterAid India. The first part of a series.
The focus of this report is to use evidence-based information to highlight the issue of child labour in the sugarcane sector within its key socio-economic intersections such as gender, caste, migration and structural inequalities in the Indian agriculture sector. Children are pushed into hazardous labour due to structural poverty amongst the harvesters, most of whom are Tribals, Adivasi and Dalit. The intersections of migration, debt bondage, gender-based risks and structured social inequalities such as that of Dalits and Adivasis together play a role in making the problem of child labour more complex. All of these cross cutting issues must be kept in mind when addressing child labour in the sugarcane supply chain and in other agricultural crops in India.
In August 2020, Global March Against Child Labour released an evidence-based report, providing an overview of the situation of child labour with a gender lens in sugarcane harvesting in India. The report highlights that children are pushed into hazardous child labour due to structural poverty among harvesters, most of whom are from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, also referred to as DBA (Dalit, Bahujan, Adivasi/Tribal) in this article, because of exploitative hiring practices resulting in debt bondage. It was found that traditional gender-based norms contributed significantly to child labour by normalising unequal wages and unpaid family work.
The FEDO Quarterly Issue 45: July-Sept 2020
Issues hidden behind the exodus of India’s migrant labour under the Covid-19 lockdown.
Independent study report by Dhamma Darshan Nigam and Sheeva Dubeysee press coverage.
Independent study report by Dhamma Darshan Nigam and Sheeva Dubey).
In connection with their participation in the 45th Human Rights Council session, states are encouraged to consider the ongoing and systemic practice of discrimination based on work and descent, also known as caste-based discrimination, affecting more than 260 million people globally.
A collection of testimonies has been published that were received in response to Ambedkar King Study Circle’s call to record and share individuals’ experiences of casteist practices in the USA. They document the feelings of discomfort, exclusion, shock, pain, and humiliation experienced by those that are subjected to various casteist practices at school, at the workplace, in their neighborhood, at social gatherings, and in their lives as parents.
A 2020 study by Ashwini Deshpande and Rajesh Ramachandran looks at the disproportionate effect of Covid19 related job losses on Dalits and the need for increased support to these communities. The study finds that while dominant caste jobs declined by 6.8 % the probable job loss for Scheduled Castes (Dalits) was 14% higher than for dominant castes in April 2020.
”I have seen the men of my neighbourhood die doing this. They have slowly vanished in the sewer one after the other. One goes and the other follows. I saw Ravi die in front of me.”
IDSN fully endorses the Call to action on Labour Law changes in India, issued by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). The statement calls on businesses sourcing in India to respond to the news that several Indian states will suspend key fundamental labour rights for a period of up to three years, under the cover of the Covid-19 crisis.
Several academicians, activists and politicians have warned against the caste repercussions of moves by certain states to dilute the laws in a bid to attract investors and manufacturers with the economy in dire straits amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Indian waste pickers are struggling to obtain information or equipment to inform and protect them during the coronavirus pandemic. Thomson Reuters has run this article by IDSN Ambassador Aidan McQuade and IDSN’s Ritwajit Das, looking at the current challenges faced by Dalit waste pickers in India. While this article looks at India, similar situations are found in other South Asian countries.
As COVID-19 sweeps across the world it is crucial that we ensure that relief, health services and awareness raising efforts are inclusive and accessible to all irrespective of caste, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other factors. While time is of the essence in the response to COVID-19, taking a moment to ensure that high risk communities such as Dalits are included and addressed in global, national and local responses to COVID-19, can save millions of lives. IDSN and its members have documented discrimination in relief in relation to numerous disasters in the past including flooding, droughts and earthquakes, where Dalits have been left behind, not provided relief materials on an equitable basis and not given equal access to healthcare, shelter or rehabilitation due to ingrained stigma and discrimination. There is a high risk that COVID-19 will also be widespread in caste-affected countries and it is therefore crucial that the unique nature of caste discrimination and the discriminatory practice of untouchability are taken into account. Therefore, Dalit communities and civil society organisations must be consulted and included in planning and implementation efforts to mitigate the serious repercussions of COVID-19. The statement issued by IDSN outlines eight key factors that make Dalits a particularly high-risk group and offers eight key recommendations for state and non-state actors.
A new report by Homeworkers Worldwide finds Dalit women working in global leather supply chains being subjected to discrimination, insecure work, low wages and labour rights abuses, including sexual harassment.