IDSN strongly condemns the rapes and murders of Dalit girls and women in South Asia. The recent case of gang rape and murder of a 19-year old Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, has highlighted the ongoing brutality against Dalit women and the impunity with which it is administered. We stand in solidarity with Dalit women, their families and human rights defenders taking action on the ground to ensure that justice is served.
Collection of various anti-caste books for children - including links to where to find the books.
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.
India's "untouchable" Catholics have threatened to split from the Indian hierarchy and establish a separate church if the Holy See continues to discriminate against low-caste clergy in the appointment of bishops and cardinals.
"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.”
Study: Dalits and Adivasis working under hazardous conditions in India’s stone industry Dangerous working conditions, debt bondage and below minimum wages are some of the findings of the study ‘Between a rock and a hard place‘ released by the Dutch-based human rights NGO Arisa. In the quarries surveyed in Rajasthan, it was found that over 60% of the workers were Adivasis or Dalits.IDSN welcomes the study and urges companies to address the issues identified urgently, including looking at the marginalisation of Dalits and Adivasis as a key contributor to their exploitation in the sector.
The federal lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), alleges that 2 dominant caste managers at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters campus, which employs a predominantly South Asian workforce, harassed, discriminated, and retaliated against an engineer because he is a Dalit. At the end of this newsletter there are number of press clippings on this case.
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.
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
“Socio-economically deprived and landless, Dalits with Disabilities are at high risk of hunger and starvation owing to the multiple barriers to accessing basic services … During the COVID-19 pandemic, a few Dalits with Disabilities were provided with some food items as part of relief packages. However, many more were left behind in accessing these benefits due to the lack of information and the need for formal documents.”
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.
“Dalit women who carry the double burden of gender and caste, and are one of the most socially undervalued in India, are therefore under constant pressure to project an acceptable version that mimics the savarna ideal. In a romantic pursuit or a partnership, we are expected to operate along a behavioural band that is far narrower than what is required of a non-Dalit woman.” From the excerpt of ‘Swipe Me Left, I’m Dalit’, by Christina Dhanaraj in the book 'Love is not a word: The culture and politics of desire' edited by Debotri Dhar.
Amnesty International (AI), Front Line Defenders (FLD), Human Rights Watch (HRW), IDSN, Minority Rights Group International (MRG), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) issued a joint letter calling on the EU to specifically address serious concerns for the safety and rights of human rights defenders in India.
”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.”
“Qualified and deserving Dalit candidates are ignored due to the compulsions of caste-mindedness and are purposely neglected. There is only one person from the Dalit community among 17 Catholic bishops in Tamil Nadu.”
Thought provoking photo feature depicting some of the reasons Dalits have been killed in India.
“Abirami Jotheeswaran, director, All India Dalit Women Adhikar Manch, says due to negligence of police, many rape cases against Dalit women go unreported. This is a problem not restricted to Tamil Nadu alone, it is the same story all over the country”.
“The sudden enforcement of the strict lockdown led to chaos, fear and loss of livelihood of the daily wage earners, mainly Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim community members … There have been cases where the Dalit and other marginalized communities have had very less or no access to rations … the situation has further pushed the Dalit and Adivasi communities into vulnerability due to “non-availability or accessibility of essentials.”
“In the US IT sector and especially the Silicon Valley, where tech companies employ thousands of Indian immigrants and Indian Americans, caste discrimination in the workplace is a daily reality for many … The caste discrimination case against Cisco should be a wake-up call for Silicon Valley companies”
“Exclusion of caste from discrimination policies makes companies caste-blind. Emerging research suggests caste-based losses to companies are similar to those due to a lack of gender and race diversity.”