There was broad participation from the IDSN network in the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum on “Hate Speech, Social Media and Minorities” to provide insights on caste discrimination, which will feed into the thematic work of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for his report to the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March 2021.
IDSN Members respond to the extremely vulnerable situation of Dalits during the Covid-19 lockdown and pandemic. We have collated some examples of reports, relief and other initiatives undertaken by IDSN members over the past two months. Read the IDSN round-up of Member initiatives
“To truly overcome anti-black racism, we must also challenge South Asia’s caste system. The history of colourism can be traced back to the ideology of the Indian caste system, an occupational division of people, which still exists in South Asian communities today.”
DSN-UK has issued an appeal to the public, governments and companies to raise concern about the plight of Dalits during Covid-19 - "We have the opportunity to reshape the world – so raise your voice and make sure that our government is reminded that equality does not exist for all."
“Key national priorities to improve the situation of Dalits in Bangladesh should be set in a comprehensive national action plan to eliminate caste, work and descent based discrimination.”
"Let me also comment on the IDSN's application to an ECOSOC consultative status. The EU is fully aware of the repeated and unjustified defenals of IDSN by the UN NGO Committee, due to the opposition of one member state in the Committee. The EU has publicly expressed its concern regarding both the ill-functioning NGO Committee in general and the new deferral of IDSN during the last session of the Committee in January 2020."
“Social distancing also has a dark and ominous side. In South Asia, where it has unfurled into a spider’s web of practices, it also directs violence, exclusion and bigotry upon marginalised people whose only ‘sin’ is caste, occupation or descent.”
The report covers key developments and activities within IDSN’s work under the thematic areas Dalit women and gender justice, business and human rights and equality and participation, within the United Nations, European Union, and communications and networking programmes.
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.
Dalit American Foundation in collaboration with the Ambedkar International Mission, Ambedkar Association of North America, and the Dalit American Women’s Association launched a worldwide survey, calling all South Asians in diaspora to take part. The survey aims to collect primary data on ‘how past and present class status or political leanings are connected to caste, how caste behaviours have changed post-immigration and to what extent caste discrimination is practiced in schools, places of employment or place of worship’.
ADDRESS CASTE BASED DISCRIMINATION (CBD) IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION; WORLD HUMANITARIAN SUMMIT 23-24 MAY 2016 ISTANBUL TURKEY
Lawmakers and human rights campaigners on Monday called for taking collective efforts by all concerned to root out all sorts of discriminations against downtrodden (Dalit) people in the subcontinent.
On 11 November 2016, in Nepal, Kathmandu, an inaugural report was launched titled 'South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016'. The report is 'a first-of-its-kind effort to bring together research and advocacy groups from various countries in the region to form a “South Asia Collective” that will periodically track and document the situation of minority rights, country by country'. The report pays a significant attention to caste-based discrimination in six countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
On the outskirts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home city, the stench from cow carcasses littering the roadside is overpowering as India’s lowest social caste keeps up protests against deep-rooted discrimination.
Reducing inequality and ’leaving no one behind” are paramount within the SDG framework.The zero draft outcome document of the Post 2015 SDG however gives no recognition to more than a quarter of a billion people discriminated and marginalised on the basis of caste. An SDG appeal has been launched by the Asian Dalit Rights Forum (ADRF) and co-signed by IDSN and dozens of other organisations, urging that caste discrimination be noted as a major cause of poverty and inquality, which must be taken into account in the outcome document.
REPORT - Caste and Gender-Based Forced and Bonded Labour from UN HRC29 IDSN SIDE-EVENT 18th June 2015, 17.00-18.30