IDSN and The National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ)-NCDHR have submitted input to the UN ahead of the adoption of the list of issues for the 126th session for India. The submission sets out some key concerns about violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the Covenant) vis-à-vis the Constitution of India with regard to Dalits and Adivasis. IDSN member Human Rights Watch has also raised the issue of caste discrimination in the HRW submission to the UN ahead of the review.
On April 9-11 IDSN supported the Dakar Consultation on Global Partnership and Joint Actions in Addressing Discrimination based on Work & Descent – DWD, Untouchability, Contemporary Forms of Slavery and Analogous Forms of Discrimination that looked at caste and analogous forms of discrimination across the world to ensure joint actions and strategies to combat this form of discrimination. Information was shared and new initiatives formed and at the end of the consultation a Declaration was published as well as a summary report.
The decision of the government of the United States of America (USA) not to back the candidature of Ms. Gay McDougall for the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is a setback in the fight against racism in the United States and around the world. ‘The disappointing news about the failure of the USA to maintain a presence on CERD comes at a time of growing intolerance and hate in society’, says Joshua Castellino, MRG’s Executive Director.
Inequality in employment along caste and gender lines is a massive obstacle to alleviating poverty and inequality in India, finds the Oxfam India report ‘Mind The Gap – State of Employment in India’. The report documents striking disparities in wages and opportunities. The report also highlights the strong links between caste and gender discrimination and forced, bonded and child labour as well as hazardous work.
IDSN’s member, the Feminist Dalit Organisation in Nepal (FEDO), has issued an e-bulletin with inspirational stories of their work to push for meaningful political participation of Dalit women and fight against discrimination and injustice. Read the FEDO E-bulletin from Jan-March 2019
“Looking at the labour hierarchy means looking at the caste hierarchy. You are just as unlikely to find any upper class Hindus performing manual labour as you are to find high-risk jobs not being performed by lower castes, Dalits (untouchables) or Adivasis (tribal populations),” says Gautam Mody, secretary general of the New Trade Union Initiative. Every day three workers die in the factories of India. A sewer and gutter cleaner dies every week. None of them are of high caste.
Article by UN Women on Durga Sob, founder of IDSN’s member organization the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO). She is among the 500 activists meeting in Tunisia from 24-26 April for the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, nearly 25 years on. Read the full article by UN Women
I Defend Rights interview Dalit women leaders in India, Manjula Pradeep and Asha Kowtal, who explain and challenge the caste system that has deemed hundreds of millions of Indians untouchables.
Poverty Statistics - India from the World Bank
This Policy Brief reports on oppression and discrimination against Dalits (the ex-untouchable castes) and Adivasis (tribal groups) perpetuating labour exploitation and land alienation, entrenching poverty and inequality in India. Dalits (officially called Scheduled Castes by the Indian Government) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes), account for 200 million and 100 million people respectively, together making up one-quarter of the Indian population, and one in twenty-five of the global population. This brief is based on research carried out across India by the Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics.
While companies are increasingly aware of the need for a 'feminist' narrative within the organisation, the corporate sector as a whole ignores the reality of caste and the effect this has on the workplace.
The Dalit female farmers of India’s Tamil Nadu state are working together to overcome a daunting set of challenges.
A first-of-its-kind snapshot of the distribution of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes community in the city reveals a patchwork of caste-segregated neighbourhoods where socio-economically backward castes are ghettoised. In 40% of blocks, SC/ST community constitutes less than 5% of residents.
While 84% and 89% of those in general and OBC categories, respectively, received the government-announced immediate assistance, the percentage of Adivasis and Dalit Christians, who received the assistance, were 62% and 68%, respectively. The last minute changes in the eligibility criteria made the assistance inaccessible to a large number of the marginalised people, the fact sheet said.
Asha Kowtal of AIDMAM-NCDHR comments on the Dalit Women Fight movement and online harassment.
In the last five years of the Modi government, there has been no movement even on assistance and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. In fact, in the interim budget, the Centre has reduced by more than half the allocation for rehabilitating manual scavengers.
On Friday 8 March, Ruth Manorama, a Dalit human rights defender, delivered a statement, co-sponsored by the International Movement Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination and by the Right Livelihood Award (in solidarity with IDSN), during the 40th regular session of the Human Rights Council. She also spoke on the panel at the Right Livelihood side-event on Women Human Rights Defenders.
The statement from CIVICUS highlights the 10-year deferral of IDSN’s application for UN consultative status and calls for all members of the committee to immediately discontinue any arbitrary actions to block applications from non-governmental organisations and strongly encourages governments that are committed to promoting an enabling environment for civil society to nominate themselves for future seats on the Committee.