The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Šimonović made a preliminary assessment on violence against women in Nepal, after her official visit to the country, which took place from the 19 to the 29 November. On the same occasion, she released an urgent appeal for the Nepalese State to step up efforts to fight against impunity and to secure access to justice for victims of gender-based violence. Read the IDSN article on the assessment here.
IDSN welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The report specifically asks the EU to step up action to address caste-based discrimination at the UN and delegation levels. “It’s time for the EU and its member states to fully heed the European Parliament’s recommendations. In particular, IDSN would like to see the EU use every opportunity in its trade, development and foreign policy to address caste-based discrimination. The EU should also actively support applications for UN consultative status submitted by NGOs, such as IDSN, which would enable the voices of Dalit advocates to be heard at the UN level”, said Meena Varma, Executive Chair, IDSN following the adoption of the report. Read the IDSN press release on the report here >>
In IDSN’s 10th December statement on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we share our dream that one day love and respect for human rights will prevail over brutal caste oppression and injustice.
Download the factsheet on the IDSN application for ECOSOC Status – the longest pending NGO application
Please find a detailed note including all questions posed to IDSN by the NGO Committee in the IDSN ECOSOC case here >>
Renu Sijapati from FEDO speaks about the UN CEDAW review of Nepal 2018
Durga Sob from FEDO speaks about Dalit women at the UN CEDAW review of Nepal 2018
Upashana Pradhan from FEDO speaks about the UN CEDAW committee
Durga Sob from FEDO speaking about her experience of the UN CEDAW review of Nepal 2018
Kala Swarnaka from FEDO speaks about the UN CEDAW review of Nepal 2018
UN experts on gender discrimination voiced concerns over the difficulties elected Dalit women face in Nepal, the need for proportional inclusion of Dalit women in the Judiciary, and extreme poverty faced by many Dalit women as a result of discrimination and stigmatization. The comments were made by the CEDAW committee members at the review of the 6th periodic report of Nepal, on 23 October 2018.
Prior to the International Symposium on UN Guidance Tool on Descent-Based Discrimination in Tokyo. IMADR and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held the International Consultation for the Elimination of Descent- Based Discrimination in Osaka on 9 April. The Consultation was attended by representatives from Dalit civil society in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, leaders of Buraku Liberation League (BLL), the former UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues and a representative from the OHCHR. As an outcome document of the consultation, Dalit and Buraku civil society organisations adopted the “Declaration for the Elimination of Descent-Based Discrimination”.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, has been asked by a Member of the European Parliament, Jean Lambert, to outline any specific steps that the EU has taken to proactively support IDSN’s Consultative Status at the UN to date and what plans exist for future support.
IDSN and 257 other NGOs issued a statement for the meeting between the ECOSOC NGO Committee and accredited NGOS, raising concern over the “practices of the Committee that have inappropriately blocked the participation of some NGOs, in particular human rights NGOs, through procedural tactics including perpetual and repetitive questioning of applicants."
IDSN made a joint statement with Minority Rights Group under Item 8. This statement focused on the global prevalence of caste-based discrimination despite the Vienna Declaration and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Caste based discrimination, or discrimination based on work and descent, affects almost every human right, and can be perpetuated throughout generations. Despite legislation and policy development, lack of enforcement and judicial caste bias often lead to complete impunity for perpetrators who have violated Dalits’ rights. This statement also stressed the intersectional effects on Dalit women, who suffer gender-based violence as well as caste-based violence. According to the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Dalit women are often “displaced, pushed into prostitution and victims of trafficking”. IDSN and MRG urged the Council to pay more attention to those affected by caste-based discrimination.
The International Movement against All forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) delivered a joint statement with IDSN, Jan Sahas and the Movement to end Manual Scavenging, in response to the Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation. The statement thanked the Rapporteur for his country report and echoed the Rapporteur’s concerns regarding the vulnerability of Dalits to physical assault, violence and discrimination. This statement stressed the dire situation of Dalit women who are “often subject to sexual violence including rape due to their lack of access to safe sanitation facilities”. IMADR, IDSN, Jan Sahas and the Movement to end Manual Scavenging are concerned about the pervasive culture of impunity and the continuing practice of manual scavenging. The joint statement urged India to “secure safe access to water and sanitation for Dalits and ensure justice for Dalit victims of violence”.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Mr Leo Heller, delivered a statement outlining his report on his country visit to India in 2017. He noted that caste-based discrimination has led to unequal access to water and sanitation services. India responded to this observation stating that the constitution prohibits any form of caste-based discrimination, which is a criminal offence, and according to India, “liable to harsh punishment”.
Anti-Slavery delivered a statement highlighting the danger that migrant domestic workers face, particularly those who are “members of socially excluded and marginalised groups, such as indigenous people and Dalits”. The statement strongly urged States to implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations, especially concerning the adoption of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, extending the coverage of national labour law and ending sponsorship systems.
IDSN, in a joint statement with Minority Rights Group (MRG), delivered a strong statement in response welcoming the report and highlighting the issues faced by Dalit women who are discriminated against, not only because of their caste, but because of their gender. These women are “particularly subject to bonded debt in the area of domestic work”. It is a practice that is prevalent in many countries in Asia and one that needs to urgently be addressed. IDSN and MRG urged the Rapporteur to continue monitoring those who are discriminated against on the basis of their caste, specifically those who are subject to servitude and modern slavery.