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When the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) convenes to discuss challenges that affect the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women at its 59th session in March 2015, there is an urgent need to address the link between caste and the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence faced by Dalit women.
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.
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.
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.
By Malika Aryal
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