The Dalit Solidarity Network – Finland (DSNFi) celebrated its tenth anniversary as an online celebration on 16 November 2020. The celebration brought together more than thirty participants from Nepal, India, UK and many parts of Finland.
In her keynote address, Heidi Hautala, Finnish MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, emphasized human rights for Dalits including the need for clean water, education and access to employment – and the right to a dignified life. She also expressed concern over the increased marginalisation of Dalits during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
“Worry alone is not enough. Corona has shown that those who are marginalised find themselves in an increasingly difficult situation,” said Ms. Hautala.
Ms. Hautala has also been one of the initiators of the enactment of the EU Corporate Responsibility Act, which records corporate responsibility, and is pushing for mandatory human rights due diligence. Legislation would mean clarifying and complying with labour and human rights legislation throughout the subcontracting and production chain. There needs to be a focus on caste-based discrimination in supply chains and the mandatory due diligence legislation proposed could be a way to start addressing the human rights violations faced by Dalits in this sphere.
Lauri Lind, who works in Nepal and a former member of the DSNFi board, had compiled greetings and glimpses of the situation of Dalits in Nepal, as well as Ambassador Pertti Anttinen.
IDSN Executive Director, Meena Varma, also gave her greetings in a video statement, warmly congratulating Finland’s active network on the work done over the past ten years and sharing the experiences of national networks in Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom.
(Abridged form the original text in Finnish from dalit.fi)