Since receiving our ECOSOC status in December of 2022, IDSN was finally able to participate in its own right in the 53rd Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council. IDSN highlighted the need to keep caste discrimination on the international agenda through recommendations, meeting with Permanent Missions, statements at Interactive Dialogues and a very successful side event.
At the session, IDSN issued the following recommendations for the consideration of UN member states.
Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur on climate change’s country report on Bangladesh
Swapon Kumar Das, the Executive Director of DALIT in Khulna, Bangladesh read out a statement at the Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur (SR) on climate change. The statement thanked the Special Rapporteur for his report on Bangladesh. However, both IDSN and DALIT were disappointed to find that the SR did not meet with Dalits, around 10 million people in Bangladesh. Recommendations from IDSN and DALIT urged Bangladesh to develop a SMART climate action plan with special policies focused on Dalit issues, in consultation with the Dalit community.
Statement at the Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur on trafficking report on Bangladesh
Jarna Das working for Parittran in Khulna, Bangladesh, also an affiliate of IDSN’s, read a statement at the Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur on trafficking. The Special Rapporteur visited Bangladesh in 2022 and presented her report at the HRC53. IDSN and Parittran welcomed this report, which specifically highlighted the vulnerabilities of Dalit children to child trafficking. The organisations recommended that Bangladesh develop and implement a National Action Plan to eliminate caste-based discrimination, with an emphasis on Dalit women and girls.
Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Forms of Poverty
Kalpana Biswakarma, part of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights in New Delhi, India, a member of IDSN, prepared a statement to be read at the Interactive Dialogue on the Special Rapporteur on Poverty. Unfortunately, due to time pressures it was not able to be broadcasted. The statement welcomed the report of the Special Rapporteur and discussed the employment schemes implemented in India and Nepal. Ms Biswakarma stressed that while employment schemes can provide short-term relief, they must be accompanied by efforts to address the underlying structural and the societal factors that perpetuate caste-based discrimination. It is clear that the issue of caste discrimination and its impact on Dalits requires comprehensive and multi-faceted approaches.