Many Dalits were among the protesters when police opened fire and shot and killed 10 people protesting in India. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reacted by calling for a probe and condemning what is seen as an unwarranted use of force by the police.
A new report by UN Women finds that a woman’s caste in India increases her exposure to mortality because of intersectional discrimination, poor sanitation and inadequate healthcare. The global report Turning promises into action: gender equality in the 2030 Agenda, examines through a gender lens the progress and challenges in the implementation of all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
Rekha’s story - Rekha Bai is a 32-year-old woman from Rajasthan, India. When she was a child she was married off to a man whose mother, because of her caste, was engaged in “manual scavenging.” Traditionally, women of the Dalit caste are obligated to empty the dry latrines of people from higher castes — with their bare hands. They must then carry the waste on their heads, in wicker baskets, to a dumpsite outside the village. Following tradition, Rekha inherited this responsibility when her mother-in-law became too old. “As payment for my labour I got just one chapatti from each household.”
Young Dalit activists played an active role at the 2017 Forum on Minority Issues, which took place in Geneva from 30 November to 1 December. Dalit women from Nepal and India, forming part of an IDSN delegation, gave powerful presentations under the theme of Minority youth: towards diverse and inclusive societies. They explained to participants how deeply ingrained caste-based discrimination continues to pose severe obstacles to equal participation in most aspects of life and how social media offers both new opportunities for change and new challenges.
The UN Expert on Water and Sanitation, Léo Heller, has stated that the failure to end the practice of manual scavenging in India coupled with the construction of more non-flush toilets, is contributing to an increase in the discriminatory practice of manual scavenging, where the lowest castes are made to undertake the duty of cleaning excrements from non-flush toilets by hand. The statement forms part of Mr. Heller’s official statement on his November 2017 mission in India.
13 states mentioned caste and/ or Dalits, resulting in 13 targeted recommendations 9 targeted recommendation (on caste and Dalits) out of 13 were accepted.
In response to the 250 recommendations, which India received during its third review of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the Human Rights Council on 4 May 2017, the Government of India (GoI) accepted nine recommendations related to caste-based discrimination.i The accepted recommendations, were made by a cross-regional group of states: USA, Peru, Argentina, France, Germany, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, and two from the Holy See (see the recommendations in the document).
At the UN review of the human rights situation in India, more than a dozen UN Member States recommended actions to ensure the rights of Dalits. The recommendations come following reports and statements from civil society, including Dalit rights organisations, documenting the lack of enforcement and protection of the human rights of Dalits in India.
Alternative report by The Working Group on Human Rights in India including concerns over Dalit rights on page 24
UPR fact sheet on caste based discrimination including follow up from the last review and recommendations – prepared by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR)
Ahead of the reviews fact sheets and UPR submissions concerning the situation of Dalits in the two countries have been prepared. The reviews are in place to examine the extent to which the two countries are upholding their international commitments on human rights. Dalit rights activists and organisations are urging states to act on holding both governments accountable to their obligations to combat caste discrimination.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha, has released a report on housing in India. The report draws attention to the alarming state of Dalit houses and the need for Government action to improve housing and end discrimination.
Prominent UN officials took part in the commemorations of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, linking the issue of caste discrimination to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Dalit icon, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The event is marked across the world, although the legacy of this great man means different things to different people.
The 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues (the Forum) was held last week, on 24 and 25 November 2016, focusing on the situation of minorities in humanitarian crises. The Forum provides a unique opportunity for state representatives, experts, civil society and minority communities, and specialised bodies to engage in a constructive dialogue and seek ways to strengthen the protection and promotion of minority rights in prevention, crisis situations and the aftermath.
On 23 November 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) held a consultation with civil society organisations “Joining hands to end racial discrimination”. It aimed to reflect on how the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination helped make a difference in combatting racial discrimination and seek views on how to improve and enhance its engagement with civil society.