IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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In this newsletter:
  • Thematic Report: UN expert urges states to combat caste discrimination
  • HRW/IDSN: Ending discrimination based on caste and descent
  • IDSN publishes its 2015 Annual Report
  • IDSN wait for UN accreditation enters ninth year
  • Indian budget fails to deliver for Dalits
  • Dalit student suicide is a symbol of injustice
  • India's caste atrocity legislation amended in milestone act
  • IDSN board member to receive AI award
  • AI: Caste discrimination remains 'pervasive' in India
  • India: People's Tribunals on caste discrimination
  • Bangladesh: Millions of Dalits need water and sanitation
  • Yemen: Civil war hits Muhamasheen particularly hard
  • Nepal: Poor food security for Dalits after earthquake
  • Dalits in Nepal lack information on earthquake relief
  • Campaign of hatred against Japan's Burakumin
  • New reports and papers

UN expert urges states to combat caste discrimination

Caste-affected countries must take urgent and comprehensive action to combat caste discrimination, the UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues says in a new, strongly worded report on one of the world’s most serious human rights issues that affects more than 250 million people.
Read the full IDSN article on the report

HRW/IDSN: Ending discrimination based on caste and descent

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and IDSN have issued a joint written statement to the 31th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, calling for global action to end caste discrimination.
Read the IDSN news story here

IDSN publishes Annual Report 2015

IDSN has published its Annual Report for 2015. Among the many achievements of the network are increased visibility in the United Nations, the EU as well as the media. Highlights of the year include significant statements on caste discrimination by the UN Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, strong recommendations from the European Parliament to speed up EU action on the issue, and increased reporting by global media outlets.
Download the IDSN Annual Report here

IDSN wait for UN accreditation enters ninth year

The IDSN application process for accreditation with the United Nations (ECOSOC Status) has entered its ninth year and is thus the longest pending NGO application of its kind. The application is being blocked by continuous – and often almost identical – questions by India. The UN Special Rapporteur has described the IDSN case as “particularly troubling”, and the Government of Norway has called it “unacceptable”.
IDSN factsheet on the ECOSOC application

Indian budget fails to deliver for Dalits

Photo by NCDHR
India's more than 200 million Dalits have once again been let down by their government. The 2016 budget allocates less than half of the committed amount for the country’s Dalit and Adivasi population, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) notes in a budget analysis.
Read the IDSN news story here

Dalit student suicide is a symbol of injustice

The suicide of 26 year old Indian PhD-student, Rohith Vemula, is both a human tragedy and a symbol of centuries of systemic abuse and injustice metered out at India’s Dalits. “My birth is my fatal accident,” writes Rohith Vemula in his suicide note. This notion rings true for far too many Dalits in India, destined for discrimination from birth.
Read the full IDSN news article

India's caste atrocity legislation amended in milestone act

In a victory for the Dalit movement in India and for all committed to justice and equality, a historic act amending the ‘Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) legislation was passed by the upper house of Parliament on 21st December 2015, after the lower house passed it in August, 2015. The National Coalition on Strengthening PoA Act (NCSPA) have struggled for six years to ensure these amendments.
Read the full IDSN article

Henri Tiphagne to receive Amnesty International award

The prominent Indian human rights campaigner and IDSN board member, Henri Tiphagne, will receive the Human Rights Award from Amnesty International Germany on 25 April. The award is a recognition of his exceptional commitment to human rights. In an interview with the News Minute, Henri Tiphagne expresses concern about the shrinking space for human rights in India. He also notes that Dalits and other minorities are met with violence when they assert their human dignity.
Read the AI press release here

AI: Caste discrimination remains ‘pervasive’ in India

Discrimination and violence based on gender and caste remains pervasive in India, Amnesty International says in its recently published annual report on the state of the world’s human rights in 2015-16. In a chapter on caste-based discrimination and violence, the organisation notes that 47,000 crimes against members of Scheduled Castes (Dalits) were reported in 2014. The report also mentions the important amendments to the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. In Nepal, caste discrimination remains rife, and marginalised groups were affected by discriminatory relief distribution following the earthquake in May, the report says.
Read the India chapter here
Download the full report here

India: People’s Tribunals on caste discrimination

On 16 and 17 March, two People’s Tribunals on caste-based discrimination will take place in New Delhi. The first one will focus on India, while The Regional People’s Tribunal – organised by Dalit groups from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Asia Dalit Rights Forum – will be the first of its kind. Both tribunals will present cases of violence and atrocities against Dalits to eminent jurists from the South Asia region. The national one on 16 March will take place at Vishwa Yuva Kendra, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, the regional one the following day at the Constitution Club of India.

Bangladesh: Millions of Dalits need water and sanitation

The Dalits of Bangladesh are deprived of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). They live in abysmal conditions, often in unclean locations with overflowing or choked drains, open sewers, lack of latrines and bathrooms, and near garbage dumping sites. A new report urges the country’s government to take action on the issue and civil society groups to pay more attention to the needs of the Dalit population.

Read the IDSN news story here

Yemen's Muhamasheen in urgent need of relief

A new Minority Rights Group (MRG) report on Yemen finds that the Muhamasheen, discriminated against on the basis of caste, reside in some of the worst hit areas of the war torn country, but face exclusion in access to shelter, relief articles and health facilities. The Muhamasheen are at risk of death, disease, hunger and further violence, and humanitarian actors and the international community must step up efforts to offer relief to these communities.
Read the full report

Nepal: Poor food security for Dalits after earthquake

A number of government agencies, UN agencies and NGOs have carried out a joint assessment of food security, livelihoods and early recovery in more than 4,000 Nepalese households in 11 earthquake-affected districts. The survey notes that inadequate food consumption was highest among Dalit households, over a third of whom (33.6%) fell below the acceptable threshold for food consumption, making caste a strong predictor for this indicator at the household level.
Read the survey here

Dalits in Nepal lack information on earthquake relief

Dalit communities in Nepal were severely affected by the devastating earthquake in May 2015. A member of the Minority Rights Group (MRG) Communications team recently visited the Feminist Dalit Organisation – a member of IDSN – to learn more of the situation of Dalit communities in the wake of the disaster. One of the biggest problems is the lack of information on where to go for relief and reconstruction aid.
Read the MRG article here

Campaign of hatred against Japan’s Burakumin

Hundreds of Buraku households in Japan have received hate mail containing abusive and discriminatory messages. An article in The Independent newspaper highlights the plight of the estimated three million Burakumin who continue to be subjected to caste-based discrimination. A Buraku leader notes that there is no legislation that makes this type of discrimination illegal.
Read the Independent article here

New Reports & Books on caste

Status of Dalits in India: Children and women & Access to water and sanitation (NCDHR)

Voice, Silence, and Self: Negotiations of Buraku Identity in Contemporary Japan (Harvard University)

Working Skin: Making Leather, Making a Multicultural Japan (University of California)

News clippings

See all the latest selected media clippings on caste

Latest media clippings by key issue:

Latest media clippings by country:



About us

The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) works on a global level for the elimination of caste discrimination and similar forms of discrimination based on work and descent.
Copyright © 2016 International Dalit Solidarity Network, All rights reserved.