Caste discrimination is a global human rights issue affecting an estimated 260 million people across the world, the majority of which live in South Asia where they call themselves Dalits. The human rights violations against Dalits fundamentally breach the principles of equality and non-discrimination and despite legislation in many countries prohibiting caste discrimination Dalits have little or no access to justice and crimes against them are often committed with impunity.
This short film brings to light a handful of violations that those who continue to be treated as ‘untouchables’, are subjected to, focusing particularly on Dalit Women who must deal with multiple discrimination due to gender and caste. They also show how Dalit activists stand up for their rights and demand change. The film is launched in connection with the introductory film on caste discrimination – We are not untouchable – End caste discrimination now. The two films are a collage of video material from Dalit community video volunteers, documentary filmmakers, and NGOs. They cover India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Yemen.
Extract of some of the cases included in the films:
Violence and Murder: A six year-old Dalit girl is thrown into a
fire for walking on a road reserved for ‘upper castes’ and a Dalit woman is shot dead when protesting illegal takeover of Dalit land.
Segregation: Dalits are treated as ‘untouchables’ and Dalit children in schools are made to clean the toilets, sit at the back of the classroom and eat separately from the other children.
Rape and sexual abuse: Dalit women describe how they are abused and raped by ‘upper castes’, often in retaliation for Dalit communities asserting their rights.
Forced prostitution: A 14 year-old Dalit girl in Nepal works as a prostitute because it is prescribed to her caste and in India Dalit girls are made to work as temple prostitutes.
Unacceptable labour conditions: Dalits working as debt-slaves in bonded labour to ‘upper caste’ landlords and Dalits working with no protective gear cleaning out city sewers.