“the ‘Beijing Platform for Action’… laid the roadmap for ‘gender mainstreaming’ in public policies, recognising the distinct disadvantages faced by women from marginalised communities.”
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted the global webinar “When language excludes and discriminate”, focusing on descent-based discrimination and words that serve to discriminate, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The event took place on 12 October and was co-organised by IDSN.
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.
IMADR delivered the oral statement on “Human rights to water and sanitation for Dalits in India” at the 45th session of the Human Rights Council. ID with the Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation. Whole text can be read below or download here.
"Nothing can justify the persistence of the practice of slavery," said Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali and Tomoya Obokata, special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences. “We condemn these barbaric and criminal acts that violate the right to life, physical integrity and human dignity, and too often go unpunished.”
The need for more attention to be paid to intersectional caste and gender discrimination and for transforming mindsets through human rights education and awareness raising, was highlighted at the UN multi-stakeholder hearing ‘Accelerating the Realization of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of all Women and Girls’ on 21 July.
“It is distressing that caste-based prejudices remain deeply entrenched in our world in the 21st century, and I am filled with sadness for these two young people who held high hopes of building a life together despite the obstacles presented by their accident of birth … Caste-based discrimination remains widespread, not only in Nepal but other countries, and often leads to serious harm and, as in this case, even loss of life. Ending caste-based discrimination is fundamental to the sustainable development vision of leaving no one behind.” Read the full statement from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. The United Nations Resident Coordinator, in Nepal, Valerie Julliand, also made several statements on Twitter on the killings.
Dalit women in Pakistan are at high risk of human rights abuses due to intersecting caste, religious and gender discrimination. In the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) review of Pakistan, the Committee recommends that the state addresses intersecting discrimination directly and note concern over the persistence of abductions and forced conversions, stereotypes and insufficient disaggregated data.
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.
"Before, I was not aware of my rights. Now, I am aware of all of them. I have the courage to stand up for myself and to ask for my rights when I am denied them," says Premalatha Tamilselvan, a Dalit woman who took part in a human rights training programme offered by IDSN member People’s Watch as a child and is now defending human rights and fighting to end caste discrimination. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights documents her story.
In February, the IDSN Membership Coordinator took part in the National Stakeholder Consultation on the UN UPR in Nepal, organised by IDSN members the Dalit NGO Federation, Feminist Dalit Organization & Jagaran Media Centre together with IDSN Affiliate the Dalit Welfare Organisation and over thirty other Dalit NGOs in Nepal. The Consultation highlighted the need to act to end caste discrimination and promote caste gender justice. Over 70 participants from CSOs, media, academia, and Government took part in the consultation.
IDSN submitted a report detailing the challenges faced by Dalit women and girls in Pakistan, for the review of the government’s report on compliance with the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW review), which took place Tuesday 11th February.
“Low-grade, unskilled sanitation workers often face social stigma and discrimination. This is especially true when sanitation is linked to a caste-based structure and often allocated to castes perceived to be lower in the caste hierarchy, such as in India and Bangladesh, where sanitation work is perceived to belong to the Dalit caste. This stigma compounds the social ostracizing and limitations on social mobility that workers face and often results in intergenerational discrimination, where children of sanitation workers often struggle to escape the vicious cycle of limited opportunities and sanitation work.” “[In Bangladesh] Many live in segregated sweeper colonies, which are unhygienic slumlike areas offering poor and overcrowded living conditions. Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and Christian and Muslim Bengalis” "challenges include combating the systemic discrimination Dalits face, which affects their education and real opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and the multiple layers of subcontracting that enable manual scavenging to continue without oversight or enforcement of laws by local authorities"
Participants and presenters shared stories, ideas and strategies at the workshop Minority Women: 25 Years as Agents of Change Together, organised by IDSN and the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) at the Beijing+25 Regional CSO Forum in Bangkok, on 26 November. The presenters included Judith Anne Lal, from the National Dalit Movement for Justice-NCDHR and the event was moderated by IDSN board member, Megumi Komori from IMADR. A video from the event was also shared.
DSN leaves its mark on the UN Business and human rights forum with a very popular stand, highlighting the links between caste and human rights violations in global supply chains. At the stand Dalit human rights defender Ankita Paudel from IDSN member organization, Feminist Dalit Organisation – Nepal (FEDO), and IDSN staff, spoke with participants to improve their understanding and urge them to take action. Ms. Paudel also took part in key events at the forum and made connections with other relevant stakeholders. The IDSN Director, Meena Varma, also gave a snapshot presentation on what Governments can do to start addressing these issues with businesses and IDSN Ambassador, Gerard Oonk, made important new connections and raised awareness of key stakeholders.