IDSN's latest newsletter on caste and human rights
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Norway's Minister of Development voices support to end caste discrimination

The IDSN Executive Director and the Dalit Solidarity Network in Norway, met with Norway’s Minister of International Development, Dag-Inge Ulstein, who confirmed Norway’s long-standing support to IDSN and eliminating caste-based discrimination. IDSN’s Director was in Norway to meet and liaise with DSN-Norway’s members and also used the visit to meet with the Ethical Trading Initiative in Norway.

Read the IDSN article on the visit

IDSN statements and recommendations at the UN Human Rights Council's 42nd Session

IDSN has contributed to the UN Human Rights Council's 42nd Session with two joint statements on slavery and on safe drinking water and sanitation, with Minority Rights Group International (MRG). IDSN also issued specific recommendations encouraging states to consider caste discrimination and the human rights violations that stem from it in their participation in the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council.
Read the MRG and IDSN statement in connection with the ID with the SR on contemporary forms of slavery – item 3
Read the MRG and IDSN statement in connection with the ID with the SR on right to safe drinking water and sanitation – item 3
Read the IDSN recommendations for the 42nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (9–27 September, 2019)
Read the recommendations on the IDSN website

Reprisals | NGO Committee members must say ‘not in my name’ (International Service on Human Rights)

The NGO Committee's 2019 sessions, recently concluded, saw human rights organisations continuing to face unreasonable questioning and the deferral of their applications. Amongst them are IDSN, deferred in May for the 24th time, meaning its application has now been deferred for over 10 years, the longest pending application ever. Such deferrals have been called a form of reprisal against NGOs.  Members of the NGO Committee can stop this practice by refusing to allow further questions to be asked in their name.
Read the full article from the ISHR

Report: Dalits and Adivasis missing from mainstream Indian news media

Indian media is dominated by dominant castes and media organisations have failed to diversify their newsroom and news coverage, reveals a new report released by Oxfam India and Newslaundry. The report ‘Who Tells Our Stories Matters: Representation of marginalised caste groups in Indian Newsrooms’ studies the representation of people from different caste groups in the Indian media. The findings point to an urgent need to ensure a much broader range of voices telling the stories in the Indian mediascape.

Read the press release on the report

Indian state passes resolution to help Dalit Christians 

Following protests by Christian Dalits, Ucannews reported that Andhra Pradesh has joined four other states recommending benefits for Christians of Dalit origin, who, like Muslim Dalits, are currently excluded from the reservations and benefits given to Hindu Dalits. Vincent Manoharan of National Dalit Christian Watch said that the latest resolution “will definitely put pressure” on the federal government to consider the Christian demand favorably.” In another article on this issue, Mr. Manoharan also commented on discrimination within the churches in India stating that, “It has been proven beyond doubt that the Church practices caste and caste-based discrimination in every sphere of its domain and functions,” saying that they [Dalits] were “struggling to gain adequate rights, privilege and space in church hierarchy, religious congregations and church institutions” and were “systematically avoided in all spheres of the Church.”

1500 survivors of rape and sexual violence and their families sign a letter to the Supreme Court of India

Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, a survivor centric forum with more than 12,000 survivors of sexual violence and their families, have submitted a letter to the Supreme Court of India asking that it treats commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children as serial rape under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POSCO’). Dalit children are especially at risk of rape and sexual exploitation as they are marginalised and offered little protection and recourse to justice in highly caste-stratified societies. IDSN ‘s member organisation in India, Jan Sahas, is a part of the Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan.

Read the full article from Jan Sahas

Landless Dalits, hit hardest by disasters, are last to get relief (IndiaSpend)

Cyclone Fani flattened the entire village of Talamala in Puri district when it made landfall on May 5, 2019. It wrecked homes and destroyed crops mostly cultivated by small farmers. But it inflicted the maximum damage on the lives of landless Dalit farm workers who now have no resources to rebuild their lives.

Read the full article by IndiaSpend

Brick kiln workers stand up for their rights (Anti-Slavery International)

A staggering 96% of labourers in India's brick kilns are trapped in debt bondage, despite the practice being illegal. Most of those trapped in debt bondage in India are Dalits or Adivasis, that continue to be denied justice. In this article Anti-Slavery International tells the story of a Dalit family and their struggle to break out of bonded labour.

Read about the Dalit family’s struggle to break out of bonded labour

Casting aside caste and class (Colombo Gazette)

Addressing university students in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo recently, President Maithripala Sirisena said that “ending the caste discrimination in the North has become a more pressing problem than building national unity and reconciliation between Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people”. This was reported in the Colombo Gazette article ‘Casting aside caste and class’.
Read the full article in the Colombo Gazette

Honour killings over intercaste marriages

This past month international media outlets have picked up on a few of the many cases of honour killings that occur in India over intercaste marriages. The Guardian tells the story of Kevin P Joseph who was killed after he applied to register his marriage to Neenu Chacko from a dominant caste. The Independent reveals a similar case where and Indian father hired assassins to kill his daughter’s husband because he was a Dalit.
Read the Guardian story here >>
Read the Independent story here >>

Events coming up...

Films featuring realities of Dalits in India  
From the 19-28 September 2019 a series of films featuring experiences and narratives of India's Dalits will be screened in London. Tickets and registration are open now. See the programme here >>
Over the coming months IDSN will be engaging with and present at:
15-16 October
ALNAP 32nd Annual Meeting
‘Relevant for whom? Responding to diverse perspectives and priorities in humanitarian action’. IDSN will be presenting on the caste-related barriers to disaster relief and prevention in caste-affected countries. Read more about this in the IDSN publication Equality in Aid.
25-27 November
UN Forum on Business and Human Rights
An IDSN delegation will take part in the Forum to raise awareness of the linkages between caste discrimination and labour related human rights violations and highlight the responsibility of companies to ensure that caste discrimination is not present in their operations or supply chains in caste-affected countries.
IDSN will be taking part in the EU NGO Forum in Brussels to raise awareness of the need for EU action in relation to combatting caste discrimination.



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.