IDSN's June-July 2012 Newsletter - Choose to show/download pictures in your email to display this newsletter properly 
** Click on the headlines to read the full stories **

Why global pressure is necessary
Indian journalist and human rights activist Mari Marcel Thekaekara persuasively argues why international lobbying against caste discrimination is necessary. In a column in the Hindustan Times she writes that “we cry racism at the drop of a hat but ignore the caste-based atrocities that happen here”.

Observations on India and UK UPRs
As a follow-up to the Universal Periodic Reviews of India and the UK on 24 May, IDSN calls for the effective implementation of all caste-related recommendations and for constructive engagement with civil society in the implementation process.

Caste is alive in urban India
Caste discrimination is often associated with village life in India. Nevertheless, as this article from the Hindustan Times demonstrates, the caste system also exists in seemingly more sophisticated urban areas.

Rehabilitation drive for manual scavengers
Following a reprimand from the authorities in New Delhi for failing to curb manual scavenging, the state government of West Bengal has pledged to rehabilitate people - as many as 12,000 - engaged in this inhuman practice in the state. As a new two-part documentary shows, manual scavenging, usually carried out by Dalits, remains widespread in India. An estimated 750,000 families are involved in this degrading work.
>> Manual Scavengers : The Dirty Picture - part one and part two

Caste discrimination in Tamil Nadu on the rise
Incidents of discrimination against Dalits have increased since a new government came to power in the state of Tamil Nadu. Thol Thirumavalayan, leader of the opposition VCK party, has urged the state government to put an end to discriminatory practices. 

Nepal: PM pledges to end caste discrimination
The Prime Minister of Nepal, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, has pledged his government’s commitment to implementing laws against caste discrimination. Speaking at a seminar in Kathmandu, he said that legal action would be taken against those discriminating on the basis of caste.

Authorities fail to investigate murder of Dalit
A love affair with an ‘upper caste’ woman may have cost the life of a 21-year old Nepalese Dalit. Shivar Shankar Das was poisoned to death, allegedly by his girlfriend’s family, in January, yet the police initially failed to investigate the case properly. The Prime Minister has now intervened, but in general, investigations into caste-based violence in Nepal remain inadequate. >> UN report on access to justice for Nepal's Dalits

Navi Pillay visits Pakistan
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, recently concluded a mission to Pakistan. During a press conference, she raised the issue of equality before the law and mentioned that she had heard from various groups, including Dalits, about their “sense of injustice and despair when acts of violence (…) against their communities go unpunished”. Pakistan’s human rights record will be examined by the UN’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism in October.

Dalit girl abducted and forced to convert
A 14-year old Dalit girl from Pakistan's Sindh province has been abducted and forced to convert from Hinduism to Islam. The authorities have accepted her subsequent marriage even though it is illegal for minors under the age of 16 to marry. Kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu Dalit girls are a huge problem in Sindh province.

UK: Asian women fail to breach caste divide
Caste prejudice still exists in South Asian immigrant communities. A story in the Huffington Post describes how seemingly liberated ‘upper caste’ Asian women get into trouble with their families if they choose partners from ‘lower castes’. Recently, the report from the UN’s UPR mechanism included a recommendation to the UK government to “put in practice a national strategy to eliminate” caste discrimination.

MRG report focuses on land rights
Dalit women displaced from their land in Andra Pradesh, India, to make way for economic development have suffered a decline in their status. This is one of the findings of the recently published report ‘State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012’ from Minority Rights Group International (MRG), which focuses on land rights and natural resources. The report contains a number of references to Dalits and caste discrimination.
Caste references in US trafficking report
The US government’s annual report ‘Trafficking in Persons’ notes that people from India’s most disadvantaged social strata, including the lowest castes, are most vulnerable to trafficking. In Nepal, bonded labour is often based on caste. Caste-based slavery practices continue in Niger, and in Mauritania, adults and children from traditional slave castes are subjected to slavery-related practices.

Call for proposals by the EU Commission
The EU Human Rights financing instrument, EIDHR, has made a call for proposals for activities that contribute to improving the situation relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to non-discrimination. The call is not geographically restricted, and the deadline for submission of a concept note is 20 July 2012. For more information, please click here.

More news headlines:
India: Video Volunteers highlight fate of 'untouchables' // On the ground: Untouchability in India // India's Dalits still fighting untouchability // India worst place for women among top 19 economies // Dalit man gets his nose slashed for riding motorcycle // 54 held after attack on Dalits // Two arrested after Dalit killings //  New guidelines to check discrimination of Dalit students // School criticized for denying Dalit girls // Caste row in Tamil Nadu’s Catholic Church // Caste council ostracises 40 Dalit families // Dalits seek legislation to stop land grabbers
Nepal: Crusade against discrimination begins // First case filed in Siraha // School equipped with drinking water facility
Bangladesh: ‘Protect Dalits from discrimination’

New videos on caste discrimination:
Dalit students face resentment due to reservations // School offers Dalit girls a chance for a better life // Police beat demonstrators demanding Dalit rights

Copyright © 2012 International Dalit Solidarity Network