IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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New IDSN strategy presented at the General Assembly 2018

IDSN members and associates from across the globe met in Geneva in November for the IDSN General Assembly. The assembly spread over two days brimming with energy, new ideas, and a determination to strengthen the fight for human rights, justice and equality for all, irrespective of caste. 
Read the IDSN article on the General Assembly here >>


We have a dream

In IDSN’s 10th December statement on the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we share our dream that one day love and respect for human rights will prevail over brutal caste oppression and injustice. Please help us spread the message by retweeting on twitter or sharing our post on Facebook.
Read the IDSN statement here >>


20 years of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) in India

IDSN founding member, NCDHR, celebrated its 20th anniversary in New Delhi on UN Human Rights Day. The event gathered rights activists from across the country together in celebration. A huge congratulations to NCDHR for the tremendous achievements over the past 20 years. A Dalit Manifesto was also released at the event, ahead of the 2019 Parliamentary Elections in India.
Read the Dalit Manifesto here >>


IDSN Board member, Henri Tiphagne, wins prestigious Civil Liberties Award

Henri Tiphagne has won the prestigious Nani A. Palkhiwala Award for Civil Liberties. A huge congratulations to Henri for this well-deserved recognition of his tireless work to end caste-based discrimination and pursue justice, equality and human rights for all. Upon winning the award Henri commented, "The award is a boost for continuing the fight for dissent, democracy and human rights not only in the courts of law, but also on the streets."
 Read a full article in The Wire on the award >>


European Parliament calls on the EU to step up action at the UN and delegation levels to eliminate caste-based discrimination (Press Release)

IDSN welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s annual report on human rights and democracy in the world 2017 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The report specifically asks the EU to step up action to address caste-based discrimination at the UN and delegation levels.
It’s time for the EU and its member states to fully heed the European Parliament’s recommendations. In particular, IDSN would like to see the EU use every opportunity in its trade, development and foreign policy to address caste-based discrimination. The EU should also actively support applications for UN consultative status submitted by NGOs, such as IDSN, which would enable the voices of Dalit advocates to be heard at the UN level, said Meena Varma, Executive Chair, IDSN following the adoption of the report.
Read the IDSN press release on the report here >>


EU high-representative calls the UN NGO Committee “hostile to civil society interests, particularly … caste discrimination.”

In her answer to Member of the European Parliament, Jean Lambert’s, question, on what the EU were doing to support IDSN’s application for UN consultative status, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, stated that, “A critical mass of members of the NGO Committee is hostile to civil society interests, particularly in sensitive areas such as caste discrimination.”
Read the IDSN article on the reply by the EU high-representative here >>


EU encouraged to step up action on the issue of caste discrimination in global supply chains

The European Parliamentary Hearing on contemporary forms of slavery featured a presentation on caste and slavery in the supply chains of global companies by Ramesh Nathan, General Secretary of the National Dalit Movement For Justice-NCDHR, India. Ramesh pointed out the strong correlation between caste and slavery in India and urged the EU to step up action to address this in the supply chains of European companies.
Read the IDSN article on the hearing here >>


Dalit human rights defenders attend the EU-NGO Forum

An IDSN delegation consisting of Bhakta Bishwakarma, Dalit NGO Federation/IDSN member, and Judith Anne Laal, NDMJ- NCDHR, participated in the 20th EU-NGO Human Rights Forum in Brussels that took place November 20-22. The Forum, organized by the EEAS and the European Commission, together with the European Parliament for the first time, gathered more than 200 civil society representatives from all over the globe. The Forum was also organised in partnership with the NGO umbrella Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), of which IDSN is a member.
Read the IDSN article on the NGO Forum here >>


UN Special Rapporteur asks Nepal to act on violence against Dalit women

The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Dubravka Šimonović made a preliminary assessment on violence against women in Nepal, after her official visit to the country, which took place from the 19 to the 29 November. On the same occasion, she released an urgent appeal for the Nepalese State to step up efforts to fight against impunity and to secure access to justice for victims of gender-based violence.
Read the IDSN article on the assessment here >>


UN CEDAW committee voices concern over difficulties faced by Dalit women in Nepal

UN experts on gender discrimination voiced concerns over the difficulties elected Dalit women face in Nepal, the need for proportional inclusion of Dalit women in the Judiciary, and extreme poverty faced by many Dalit women as a result of discrimination and stigmatization. The comments were made by the CEDAW committee members at the review of the 6th periodic report of Nepal, on 23 October 2018. Following the review concluding observations were released reflecting these comments.
Read the IDSN article and see participant videos here >>


'Statelessness' of Dalit communities raised at the UN Forum on Minority Issues

IDSN participated actively in the 11th Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues from the 29-30 November, under the theme "Statelessness: A Minority Issue". IDSN members from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan presented on how Dalits in reality often suffer de facto statelessness, due to extreme marginalization and lack of access to rights.
Read the IDSN news article on the forum here >>


OHCHR | Attacks on UN civil society allies raise alarm (OHCHR news)

The UN OHCHR have released a news piece stating that, “Many speakers highlighted the "emblematic" case of the International Dalit Solidarity Network, whose application for accreditation has been deferred by the NGO Committee for 10 years now. The organization advocates for non-discrimination of Dalits. Over the 10 years, its application has received some 83 questions, all from India, in some cases the same question several times over, resulting in its application being repeatedly postponed for consideration until the following year.
Read the full news article by the OHCHR  >> 


Reports and Studies:


Evolution of wealth inequality in India (World Inequality Lab – Paris School of Economics 2018/14)

This new paper presents findings on the evolution of wealth inequality in India between 1961 and 2012. The article underlines the role of the Indian caste system in wealth inequality, as it shows that past unequal distribution of wealth along caste lines has not been corrected yet. The situation of every caste has improved over time, but there has been no convergence between dominant and lower castes.

New Report: Justice Denied – Death of workers engaged in manual scavenging (Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan)

A new report has been released by NGO Rashtriya Garima Abhiyan, looking at the caste inequities underpinning manual scavenging in India and the many Dalits dying while cleaning septic tanks and sewers with no proper equipment. The findings, outlined in this summary, point to an urgent need for action to end this practice. Read the full report here. An event was held to release the report where the documentary “The Cost of Cleanliness” based on the deaths of workers engaged in cleaning sewers and septic tanks was also released.
Read the summary of the report findings here >>

Selected press headlines:

Study by NGO reveals discrimination against Dalits at cyclone relief camps (The Hindu)


EU strengthens relations with India without engaging against caste-based discrimination (Brussels Times)


‘Tell Everyone We Scalped You!’ How Caste Still Rules in India (The New York Times)


Opinion | Twitter’s Caste Problem (The New York Times)



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 © 2018 International Dalit Solidarity Network, All rights reserved.