The Indian government should prevent and prosecute mob violence by vigilante groups targeting minorities in the name of so-called cow protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in March. The 104-page report, “Violent Cow Protection in India: Vigilante Groups Attack Minorities,” describes the use of communal rhetoric to spur a violent vigilante campaign against consumption of beef and those engaged in the cattle trade. The victims are predominantly Muslims and Dalits.
Report by NGO Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, looking at the caste inequities underpinning manual scavenging in India and the many Dalits dying while cleaning septic tanks and sewers with no proper equipment. The findings, outlined in this summary, point to an urgent need for action to end this practice. Read the full report here. An event was held to release the report where the documentary “The Cost of Cleanliness” based on the deaths of workers engaged in cleaning sewers and septic tanks was also released.Read the summary of the report findings here.
The Wire speaks to rehabilitated manual scavengers as identified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and finds their condition and profession unchanged
IDSN member the Feminist Dalit Organisation – FEDO, in collaboration with Nepal Human Rights Commission and Open Society Justice Initiative, organised a three-day conference on "Equal access to justice for all: Using law to dismantle caste based discrimination in South Asia." This was attended by national human rights practitioners and advocates from the region, key state champions and regional actors to highlight the state and national efforts to advance the rights of Dalit and marginalized communities. The practitioners shared their experiences, examples of how organizations and coalitions are implementing wide-ranging changes to advance justice, and discuss ways that legal advocates and community partners can collaborate across organizations and coalitions to forge a way forward.
IDSN engaged with the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), held in the Palais des Nations from the 10th to the 28th of September 2018. IDSN delivered statements, lobbied Member States and OHCHR staff and met with the High Commissioner and the NGO Committee. Read a summary of IDSN's interventions in this IDSN news piece.
UN side-event hears cases of caste-based violence against Dalit women in India where UN and legal experts respond with calls for action. The report ‘Voices Against Caste Impunity: Narratives of Dalit Women in India’, was also released at the event and an outcome document with recommendations from the event has been produced.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released a statement asking the Indian Government to end politically motivated arrests of Dalit rights activists who are simply doing their work to defend human rights in the country. IDSN continuously raises this issue in international fora and fully endorses and supports this statement.
According to the Dalits who spent months in jail, the police specifically asked people their caste and arrested them even if they weren't involved in the Bharat Bandh protest.
The Concluding Observations of the May 2018 review of Nepal, by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), includes dozens of remarks relating to caste-based discrimination and several strongly worded recommendations on fighting it. Read the full IDSN analysis
Arrested during nationwide protests in April, called by Dalit organisations, the juveniles' families have stated that the boys were picked up by police only because they were Dalits standing up for their rights. “My son’s only crime is that he is a Dalit,” says the father of one of the boys. “We thought that if our son studied well, the family’s fortune would change for the better. But now they have pressed so many charges against him that his whole life will become embroiled in it.” News site The Wire has covered this story and IDSN members in India are currently conducting fact-finding in relation to this case.
The HRDA-India, a forum for the protection of human rights defenders, has issued an urgent appeal for action to protect Dalit human rights defender Mr. Rajat Kalsan. Mr Kalsan is working to help Dalits gain justice and protection from abuses as a lawyer and activist in Haryana state. He has worked on gang-rape cases and cases of attack and arson committed by dominant castes against Dalits and a host of other cases involving serious violations of human rights. The appeal states that due to this work, dominant caste leaders are colluding with local police to file false charges against Mr. Rajat and cause him serious harm.
Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA) has issued an urgent appeal for the protection of Professor Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd – a political analyst, human rights activist and one of India’s most prominent Dalit thinkers and Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. Prof. Shepherd was allegedly attempted killed in his car, has been physically attacked and is receiving death threats, but has been offered no police protection.
Survivors of rape and other forms of sexual assault in India face severe barriers to justice and are not receiving the support that the State are obligated to offer them, finds a new report by Human Rights Watch. The report raises particular concern for ‘low caste’ survivors and other marginalised groups.
Dalit and Adivasi Civil Society Organisations, Human Rights Defenders from across India met in New Delhi to discuss the status of implementation of India’s legislation to prevent atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis. There was widespread dissatisfaction among participants that key elements of the legislation were not being implemented, and a call was made asking for action to be taken by the authorities in charge.
The UK’s Indian Diaspora community are going head to head as the Government’s consultation on caste discrimination legislation is extended. In several media reports groups that are pro and anti the introduction of legislation against caste discrimination in the UK, are arguing about the impact of such a move.
IDSN member People’s Watch is fighting a legal battle in the Indian courts to regain their foreign funding license, first revoked by the Indian Government in 2012. The organisation, a program unit of the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns [CPSC], has been charged by the Ministry of Home Affairs with “using foreign contributions to the detriment of India’s image.” The loss of the license to receive foreign funding (FCRA) has completely crippled the organisation, which has for over a decade been protecting and upholding the rights of the most disadvantaged groups in India.