A Dalit Solidarity Network has been established in Finland. It has been widely welcomed by IDSN members.
A new member has joined the international struggle for Dalit rights. The Dalit Solidarity Network in Finland (DSNFi) was founded on 31 August at a meeting at the University of Helsinki.
The meeting was opened and chaired by Jaakko Heinimäki, a well-known Finnish writer who has been acquainted with the Dalit issue since the mid-1990’s. The 22 founding members of the new association accepted tentative bylaws for DSNFi and elected a board of five members.
The chairperson will be Mikko Malkavaara. Another boardmember is Timo Lappalainen, executive director of Kepa, a service base for all Finnish NGOs interested in development work and global issues.
The purpose of the new association is to:
- raise awareness of Dalit issues, the situation and circumstances of the Dalits and the caste system;
- try to win more activists and sympathisers to support Dalits’ fight for human rights;
- act as an expert body on the Dalit movement and Dalit issues in Finland and influence the activities of the government of Finland, Finnish authorities, organisations and companies to advance policies which prevent discrimination and racism;
- promote the objectives of IDSN in Finland and contribute to its work
DSNFi plans to launch two annual main events, one on the birthday of Dr. Ambedkar and the other on the Solidarity Day of Dalits. It will form close contacts with officials of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially those dealing with human rights’ issues.
The establishment of DSNFi has been widely welcomed by IDSN members and associated in many countries, including those affected by caste discrimination.