IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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New EU human rights guidelines highlight the need to address caste in EU’s external action

IDSN welcomes the new EU Human Rights Guidelines on Non-discrimination in External Action, where caste is mentioned several times as a form of discrimination that must be addressed. It is specified in the guidelines that the term ‘descent’, “includes discrimination against members of communities based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status”, and that the EU should, “Participate actively in UN mechanisms and processes dedicated to general and specific discrimination related issues such as … discrimination based on caste (work and descent)”. The guidelines also state the EU must encourage and support active participation of civil society in multilateral fora and mechanisms in relation to discrimination based on caste (work and descent).

Read the IDSN news on the new guidelines

MEPs ask EU to act to end the unjust blocking of IDSN’s UN accreditation

Several high-profile members of the European Parliament have sent a letter to the EU High-Representative for Foreign Affairs, Frederica Mogherini, asking the EU to take action to support IDSN’s 10-year quest for UN accreditation, at the UN NGO Committee.
Read more about the MEP letter

IDSN submits input to the UN Human Rights Commitee ahead of India review

IDSN and The National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ)-NCDHR have submitted input to the UN ahead of the adoption of the list of issues for the 126th session for India. The submission sets out some key concerns about violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the Covenant) vis-à-vis the Constitution of India with regard to Dalits and Adivasis. IDSN member Human Rights Watch has also raised the issue of caste discrimination in the HRW submission to the UN ahead of the review.
Read the IDSN/NDMJ-NCDHR submission

Consultation on global action to address discrimination based on work and descent held in Senegal

On April 9-11 IDSN supported the Dakar Consultation on Global Partnership and Joint Actions in Addressing Discrimination based on Work & Descent – DWD, Untouchability, Contemporary Forms of Slavery and Analogous Forms of Discrimination that looked at caste and analogous forms of discrimination across the world to ensure joint actions and strategies to combat this form of discrimination. Information was shared and new initiatives formed and at the end of the consultation a Declaration was published as well as a summary report.

US blocking of Gay McDougall for UN anti-racism committee is a major setback for the fight against racism (Minority Rights Group)

The decision of the government of the United States of America (USA) not to back the candidature of Ms. Gay McDougall for the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is a setback in the fight against racism in the United States and around the world. ‘The disappointing news about the failure of the USA to maintain a presence on CERD comes at a time of growing intolerance and hate in society’, says Joshua Castellino, MRG’s Executive Director. 
Read the statement from MRG

Oxfam: Caste and gender underpin employment inequality in India

Inequality in employment along caste and gender lines is a massive obstacle to alleviating poverty and inequality in India, finds the Oxfam India report ‘Mind The Gap – State of Employment in India’. The report documents striking disparities in wages and opportunities. The report also highlights the strong links between caste and gender discrimination and forced, bonded and child labour as well as hazardous work. Read the full report here >>

Read a caste-related summary of the Oxfam report

Ground Down by Growth:  Oppression, Discrimination and Exploitation of Adivasis and Dalits in 21st century India (Policy Brief)

This Policy Brief from the London School of Economics reports on oppression and discrimination against Dalits and Adivasis perpetuating labour exploitation and land alienation, entrenching poverty and inequality in India. This brief is based on research carried out across India by the Programme of Research on Inequality and Poverty, Department of Anthropology, London School of Economics. This research is also documented in a book released in 2018.

Download the policy brief here

Pushing for progress for Dalit women in Nepal

IDSN’s member, the Feminist Dalit Organisation in Nepal (FEDO), has issued an e-bulletin with inspirational stories of their work to push for meaningful political participation of Dalit women and fight against discrimination and injustice.

Read the FEDO E-bulletin here

The silent death of workers in India (Equal Times)

“Looking at the labour hierarchy means looking at the caste hierarchy. You are just as unlikely to find any upper class Hindus performing manual labour as you are to find high-risk jobs not being performed by lower castes, Dalits (untouchables) or Adivasis (tribal populations),” says Gautam Mody, secretary general of the New Trade Union Initiative. Every day three workers die in the factories of India. A sewer and gutter cleaner dies every week. None of them are of high caste.

Read the article


Dalit Women in Corporate India are Being Left Behind (The Wire)

While companies are increasingly aware of the need for a 'feminist' narrative within the organisation, the corporate sector as a whole ignores the reality of caste and the effect this has on the workplace.

Read the article


From where I stand: “Local and global political and economic systems create and maintain social inequality” (UN Women article)

Article by UN Women on Durga Sob, founder of IDSN’s member organization the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO). She is among the 500 activists meeting in Tunisia from 24-26 April for the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, nearly 25 years on.

Read the full article by UN Women


Dalit women are standing up against an ancient system of discrimination

I Defend Rights interview Dalit women leaders in India, Manjula Pradeep and Asha Kowtal, who

explain and challenge the caste system that has deemed hundreds of millions of Indians untouchables.

Read the interview


Don’t miss the next newsletter where we will be bringing news on the IDSN stand and participation at the European Development Days from 18-19 June in Brussels and the side-event on Dalit Women and Gender Justice at the UN Human Rights Council in late June.


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 © 2019 International Dalit Solidarity Network, All rights reserved.