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IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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In this newsletter:
  • (In)Equality in Aid discussed at the 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues
  • IDSN at the CERD consultation with civil society: joining hands to end racial discrimination
  • Will SDGs “leave no one behind” without a disaggregated data on caste-based discrimination?
  • References to caste discrimination during the CEDAW review of Bangladesh
  • "Caste Discrimination and the UK law" public debate at the UK Parliament
  • Why hasn’t Britain done more to outlaw the forced labour of ‘untouchable’ Indians?
  • Events marking 16 days of Activism to end violence against Dalit women 
  • India: More than half of undertrials are Dalits, Muslims and tribals
  • ‘Dalit women deprived of constitutional rights’
  • Caste oppression exists among Sri Lankan Tamils but is kept under wraps
  • South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016: mapping the terrain
  • News clippings 2016
     

(In)Equality in Aid discussed at the 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues

The 9th session of the Forum on Minority Issues (the Forum) was held last week, on 24 and 25 November 2016, focusing on the situation of minorities in humanitarian crises. The Forum provides a unique opportunity for state representatives, experts, civil society and minority communities, and specialised bodies to engage in a constructive dialogue and seek ways to strengthen the protection and promotion of minority rights in prevention, crisis situations and the aftermath.
Read the IDSN news article here

IDSN at the CERD consultation with civil society: joining hands to end racial discrimination

On 23 November 2016, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) held a consultation with civil society organisations “Joining hands to end racial discrimination”. It aimed to reflect on how the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination helped make a difference in combatting racial discrimination and seek views on how to improve and enhance its engagement with civil society.
Read the IDSN news article here

Will SDGs “leave no one behind” without a disaggregated data on caste-based discrimination?

In 2015, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by world leaders to guide global development agendas for the next 15 years. Yet, to date, the indicators measuring the achievement of the SDGs have not been finalised. On 17-18 November 2016, the Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG) on the SDGs held its 4th meeting, aiming to finalise global development indicators.

Read IDSN article here

References to caste discrimination during the CEDAW review of Bangladesh

On 7 and 8 November, Bangladesh was reviewed under the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Prior to the review thirteen civil society organisations submitted alternative reports, outlining various issues that women and girls face in Bangladesh. Two of them highlighted concerns about the intersecting discrimination affecting women and girls, including caste-based discrimination.

Read IDSN article here

"Caste Discrimination and the UK law" public debate at the UK Parliament

On 23 November 2016 a heated debate about caste-based discrimination and anti-caste discrimination legislation was held at the Houses of Parliament organised by the Indian Forum on British Media. Media coverage of the event was equally diverse implying different views of the topic. Here are a couple of media articles summarising the event:
British Indians divided over anti-caste law
Caste supremacists oppose Anti-caste legislation in Britain

Why hasn’t Britain done more to outlaw the forced labour of ‘untouchable’ Indians?

Domestic servitude inflicted on Dalits, the ‘untouchable’ lowest Indian caste, was supposed to have been made illegal in Britain. Why hasn’t the law been implemented?

Michael Gillard reports Permila Tirkey believed she was born on bended knee, with no other purpose in life than to serve the higher-ups of Indian society. It is hard for Westerners, with all their rights and sense of entitlement, to understand why anyone would ever think so ­little of themselves. But Permila is Dalit, someone from India’s lowest caste. An untouchable, whose life as a domestic servant was pre-ordained long before her birth.
Read full article here

Events marking 16 days of Activism to end violence against Dalit women 

National Confederation of Dalit Adivasi Organisations (NACDAOR) organised 
 a national assembly of Dalit women 
contributing to the 16 Days of Activism to End Violence against Dalit and Adivasi Women which started on 25th November, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and lasted until 10 December, Human Rights Day. The assembly included delegates from different part of India to celebrate their leadership achievement and share struggle.

The organisation also organised Dalit women caravan in Haryana.
Read full summary of the events here

India: More than half of undertrials are Dalits, Muslims and tribals

More than 55 percent of undertrials across India are either Muslims, Dalits or tribals, according to new prison figures from the country’s National Crime Records Bureau for 2015.

This rankles when one looks at the demographics: Muslims, Dalits and tribals together account for 39 per cent of India's population.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Kancha Ilaiah, one of India's most prominent Dalit scholars, explained the "double burden".

Read the full article here

‘Dalit women deprived of constitutional rights’

Founder President of Feminist Dalit Organisation Durga Sob today said that despite the promulgation of the new statute, women were still unable to exercise their rights.

She said Madhesi Dalit women were especially battling discriminatory practices such as untouchability, child labour, and child marriage, and were deprived of education and job opportunities.

Read full article here

Caste oppression exists among Sri Lankan Tamils but is kept under wraps

COLOMBO: Despite the existence of a unified “Tamil” identity, Sri Lankan Tamil society is rent by caste inequalities and is dived into “Oppressing and Oppressed Castes.”   

But issues thrown up on caste inequalities do not find expression in the public domain for a variety of reasons, campaigners for social justice and researchers say.

Basically, there is a lack of awareness among the oppressed castes themselves, points out Ahilan Kadirgamar, a Jaffna-based economist who is a member of the Collective for Economic Democratization. There is also no platform to air views which clash with the need to assert Tamil unity, he adds.

Read full article here

South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016: mapping the terrain

On 11 November 2016, in Nepal, Kathmandu, an inaugural  report was launched titled 'South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016'. The report is 'a first-of-its-kind effort to bring together research and advocacy groups from various countries in the region to form a “South Asia Collective” that will periodically track and document the situation of minority rights, country by country'. The report pays a significant attention to caste-based discrimination in six countries -  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. 

Read full report here


News clippings

See all the latest selected media clippings on caste

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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.