IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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Ambassadors join the fight to end caste discrimination

A brand new IDSN Ambassadors Group has been launched in 2019. The group is made up of several highly distinguished human rights advocates, who will use their knowledge and skills to ensure that caste discrimination never falls off the global human rights agenda.

Read the news release about the IDSN Ambassadors Group


Caste discrimination is blocking progress on the SDGs says UK NGO development network BOND

The new report Caste and Development: Tackling Discrimination Based on Work and Descent has just been released by the UK NGO development network BOND, highlighting the urgent need to address caste discrimination in order to progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  "Caste affects a fifth of the world’s population but the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) don’t mention it, despite caste-based discrimination being a significant barrier to leaving no one behind. Bond explores this crucial omission in this report and identifies a set of practical actions for policymakers and civil society organisations."

Read more about the report

Study finds Dalits working in forced and child labour in India’s garment industry

An extensive study on home-based garment workers in India found 99 per cent of workers toiled in conditions of forced labor under Indian law, with over 99 per cent of the workers found to be either Dalits or Muslims. The prevalence of child labour was over 15 per cent and many cases of bonded labour were also documented. 85 per cent of the workers supplied global brands.The report “Tainted Garments: The Exploitation of Women and Girls in India’s Home-based Garment Sector” was conducted by leading labour experts at the University of California.

Read the IDSN news article on the report

Human Rights Watch: Vigilante ‘Cow Protection’ Groups Attack Minorities in India

The Indian government should prevent and prosecute mob violence by vigilante groups targeting minorities in the name of so-called cow protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released in March. The 104-page report, “Violent Cow Protection in India: Vigilante Groups Attack Minorities,” describes the use of communal rhetoric to spur a violent vigilante campaign against consumption of beef and those engaged in the cattle trade. The victims are predominantly Muslims and Dalits.

Read a summary of the HRW report

Amnesty raises concern over “disturbing number of hate crimes” targeting Dalits and Muslims in India

A disturbing number of alleged hate crimes – including assault, rape and murder – were reported in 2018 against people from marginalized groups, especially Dalits and Muslims, said Amnesty India, as it released data recorded on its interactive website, 
‘Halt the Hate’. “The first step to ensuring justice and ending impunity for hate crimes – where people are targeted because they belong to a particular group – is to highlight their occurrence,” said Aakar Patel of Amnesty India.
See the findings

Report finds entrenched caste discrimination in India’s criminal justice system

“Criminal Justice in the Shadow of Caste” is a pioneering report looking at the administration of criminal justice in India through a caste lens. The findings reveal discrimination at all levels, including within prisons. The report has been released by IDSN member, the National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ-NCDHR), in collaboration with the National Centre for Dalit Human Rights.

Read the IDSN news article on the report

Dalit rights inadequately addressed at the UN rights review of Bangladesh

Transparency International have released a comprehensive report analyising the specific challenges of Dalits in Bangladesh.

The report offers key recommendations for the fulfilment of rights and inclusive public service provisions for Dalits in Bangladesh.

Download the full report


Dignity March to end Sexual Violence in India 

On Friday 22 February, thousands marching to end sexual violence against women and children in India, took to the streets of the capital to demand justice and raise awareness about the need to fundamentally change the attitude generally held about victims of sexual violence. The 65-day march has covered over 10,000 km across 24 states. The march was kick-started by 5000 survivors of sexual violence on the 20th of December in Mumbai and organised by Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.
Read the IDSN article on the Dignity March

Dalit Film and Cultural Festival held in New York

Columbia University in New York hosted a pioneering 2-day Dalit Film and Cultural festival, featuring films that give direct voice to the Dalit experience and reflect on society from a Dalit perspective.

The festival took place from 23-24 February, and was organised by the US Ambedkarites.
Read about the festival

Activists: Government funds for India’s most marginalised are not reaching them

The Government have announced a rise in budgets allocated for the welfare of Dalits (Scheduled Castes) and Adivasis (Scheduled Tribes) in India. However, human rights activists are saying that the rise is irrelevant as the allocations are not in fact benefitting those they are supposed to be aimed at. Speaking at the India Today Conclave on 1-2 March, Paul Divakar, of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), commented that, "It is all a mirage. While funds are being allocated on paper, only about 2 per cent of this is actually being spent on Dalit issues." IDSN Board Member, Beena Pallical (NCDHR), also spoke at the Conclave.
Read more

Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement call for action at its national council meeting

More than 32 districts were represented at IDSN member BDERM’s 9th National Council meeting in Bangladesh. Discussions centered around the need for Dalits to be officially recognized by the Government if SDG goals of ‘leaving no-one behind’ were to truly be addressed.
Read the report from the meeting


Members of European Parliament Ask India to 'End Crackdown' on Rights Activists

Twenty members of the European Parliament have written to Central Government ministers in India, expressing concern about “worrying signs of shrinking civil society space in India,” calling for the government to “take urgent steps to change course, release all detained human rights defenders in the country, drop all charges against them, and allow them to carry out their work free from risk or impediment.” Dalit activists were among those mentioned in the letter.
Read more about the letter


UN rights chief warns against “increasing harassment and targeting of” Dalits, Muslims and Adivasis in India

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, raises concern over increasing marginalisation and discrimination in India, in her speech to the UN Human Rights Council in March. Speaking about the situation in India, the High Commissioner shows concern over the fact that, despite significant poverty reduction in general terms, there has been, “increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – in particular Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalised groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis”. She points out to narrow political agendas in that country lead to further marginalisation of vulnerable people.
Read the IDSN news on the statement

Dalit women defenders featured by UN Women on Women’s Day

Asha Kowtal, General Secretary of the Dalit Women’s Movement AIDMAM-NCDHR, an IDSN member talks about the Dalit Women Fight movement in this 5-minute video made by UN Women and Google.

“We are not silent. You are not silent. You are fighting. We are also fighting. We need to connect together because injustice is injustice, whether it’s your class, your caste, your sexuality or your ethnic identity.” Says Asha Kowtal in the video.
Watch the video

CIVICUS calls on the UN NGO Committee to stop blocking human rights organisations

The statement from CIVICUS highlights the 10-year deferral of IDSN’s application for UN consultative status and calls for all members of the committee to immediately discontinue any arbitrary actions to block applications from non-governmental organisations and strongly encourages governments that are committed to promoting an enabling environment for civil society to nominate themselves for future seats on the Committee.
Read the statement from CIVICUS

“Today, we are not here only to speak of our plight. We are also agents of change”, says Ruth Manorama at the UN Human Rights Council

On Friday 8 March, Ruth Manorama, a Dalit human rights defender, delivered a statement, co-sponsored by the International Movement Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination and by the Right Livelihood Award (in solidarity with IDSN), during the 40th regular session of the Human Rights Council. She also spoke on the panel at the Right Livelihood side-event on Women Human Rights Defenders.
Read more


Even with a Harvard pedigree, caste follows ‘like a shadow’ (PRI - Caste in America series) 

Dalit problems will not be solved by avoiding the rehabilitation issue (Justice News)
In the last five years of the Modi government, there has been no movement even on assistance and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. In fact, in the interim budget, the Centre has reduced by more than half the allocation for rehabilitating manual scavengers.
India’s Violent Mobs Are a Menace to Minorities — and Democracy (Justice News)
‘Internet opening space for new voices, but women face harassment online’ (Indian Express)
Asha Kowtal of AIDMAM-NCDHR comments on the Dalit Women Fight movement.

Study finds discrimination in flood relief work (Times of India) While 84% and 89% of those in general and OBC categories, respectively, received the government-announced immediate assistance, the percentage of Adivasis and Dalit Christians, who received the assistance, were 62% and 68%, respectively. The last minute changes in the eligibility criteria made the assistance inaccessible to a large number of the marginalised people, the fact sheet said.
Study reveals caste-based segregation in Bengaluru (The Hindu)
A first-of-its-kind snapshot of the distribution of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes community in the city reveals a patchwork of caste-segregated neighbourhoods where socio-economically backward castes are ghettoised. In 40% of blocks, SC/ST community constitutes less than 5% of residents.


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.