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IDSN newsletter on the struggle to end caste discrimination
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In this newsletter:
  • Rohith suicide case continues to stir India
  • New UN report on caste discrimination considered 'milestone'
  • IDSN members lobby global community
  • UN side event: Minorities and caste-based discrimination
  • Stung by UN report, India cries foul
  • How to be free of caste
  • HRW: EU should encourage India to protect Dalits
  • UN Deputy HC gravely concerned about caste discrimination
  • Bhim Yatra gives hope to manual scavengers
  • The women who refuse to do India's dirtiest job
  • World marks Dr. Ambedkar's 125th birthday
  • Tribunal hears cases of atrocities against Dalits
  • India's forgotten people
  • Pakistan: No end to discrimination against Dalits
  • Bangladesh: South Asian conference on Dalit rights
  • Interview: IDSN Director discusses caste issue

Rohith suicide continues to stir India

Three months after the suicide of Dalit PhD student Rohith Vemula, his death continues to attract national and international attention. Students demonstrate for "Justice for Rohith", and the authorities in Hyderabad where Rohith went to university have been criticised in India as well as abroad for beating up and detaining protesters.
Read the IDSN article on recent developments in the Rohith case

New UN report on caste discrimination considered 'milestone'

The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsàk-Ndiaye, presented her new report on caste discrimination to the Human Rights Council on 15 March. The following day, she spoke at a UN side event on ‘minorities and caste-based discrimination’. Human Rights Watch, Minority Rights Group and IDSN have praised the report, calling it an “important milestone”.

Read the IDSN news article

IDSN members lobby global community

The third week of March 2016 was an eventful one for IDSN. The network’s highest body assembled in Geneva (photo above), the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues presented her ground-breaking report on caste discrimination, and IDSN members met a number of high-ranking UN officials. 

Read the IDSN news story

UN side event: Minorities and caste-based discrimination

On 16 March 2016, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted a side event in Geneva on ‘Minorities and caste-based discrimination’. The inspiration for this event was the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, in which she examines the human rights challenges related to minorities and caste discrimination. The global nature of the issue was demonstrated by the selection of panelists at the event – apart from the Special Rapporteur herself, there were speakers from Nepal, Mauritania and the UK, and an expert on Yemen.
Read the IDSN report on the side event

Stung by UN report, India cries foul

India is hypersensitive towards any international discussion of its record on fighting caste discrimination. Following the presentation of a new UN report on the caste issue, the Indian government accused the Special Rapporteur on minority issues of over-reaching her mandate. She defended her report, and was backed by Dalit activists and several other governments.
Read this analysis in The Wire

How to be free of caste

This thoughful analysis in The Hindu of India’s stance on the caste issue notes the paradox of the government embracing Dr Ambedkar’s legacy while being hypersensitive about any international discussions of caste discrimination. The author stresses that “mere tokenism and lip service will not do. India needs to jettison the centuries-old dehumanising baggage of caste stigma once and for all.”

Read the article from The Hindu

HRW: EU should encourage India to protect Dalits

On the eve of the EU-India Summit on 30 March, Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the EU addressing numerous key human rights issues. These included the failure of the Indian government to protect the country’s Dalit population. 
Read the IDSN news article

UN Deputy HC gravely concerned about caste discrimination

During a meeting in Geneva with IDSN members, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, reiterated her office’s strong commitment to addressing caste discrimination as an important priority in its work.

Read the IDSN news article here

Bhim Yatra gives hope to manual scavengers

For the past four months, activists have criss-crossed India to protest against manual scavenging. Their march – the Bhim Yatra – concluded in New Delhi yesterday, on the eve of the 125th birthday of the great Dalit leader, Dr Ambedkar.

Read the full IDSN news story

The women who refuse to do India's dirtiest job

In this excellent article, the Guardian describes an initiative of Indian IDSN member Jan Sahas. The NGO, which campaigns against manual scavenging, has trained 800 Dalit women and girls as ‘barefoot lawyers’ who educate youth about laws relating to caste discrimination, sexual assault and rape.
Read the Guardian article

World marks Dr. Ambedkar's 125th birthday

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Dalit icon, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The event is marked across the world, although the legacy of this great man means different things to different people.
Read the IDSN news article

Tribunals hear cases of atrocities against Dalits

On 16-17 March, two People’s Tribunals on caste-based discrimination took place in New Delhi. They presented cases of violence and atrocities against Dalits from India, Nepal and Bangladesh to a panel of South Asian jurists. One of the panelists, Aakar Patel, the Executive Director of Amnesty International India, later wrote an article on some of the cases. “Some of the things we heard seemed medieval,” he wrote.
Read the article by Aakar Patel

India's forgotten people

The recently published India Exclusion Report 2015 from the Centre for Equity Studies focuses on exclusion from public services with a particular emphasis on urban health, urban water and sanitation and access to equal and dignified work for women. The report finds that otherwise disadvantaged groups, such as Dalits, are also included from these services. In an example of exclusion, the report describes the plight of Devadasis – Dalit girls and women - who are forced into temple prostitution in Southern India. It notes that there is intersection between sexual slavery and caste oppression.
Read an article on the report from Frontline magazine

Pakistan: No end to discrimination against Dalits

Pakistan’s Dalits face discriminaton by upper-caste Hindus and Muslims alike. In this article, they share their experiences of poverty and exclusion. The photo by Jakob Carlsen depicts Dalits living next to a railway track.

Read the Tribune article

Bangladesh: South Asian conference on Dalit rights

Lawmakers and human rights campaigners took part in a regional conference on caste discrimination on 29 February and 1 March in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They discussed legislation, access to justice as well as the changing of mindsets. The conference was organised by Dalit human rights groups from Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Read an article on the conference

Interview: IDSN Director discusses caste issue

IDSN Executive Director Rikke Nöhrlind was interviewed by the ProtestInfo press agency in Geneva in March together with Bangladeshi human rights campaigner Monjun Nahar from the Network of Non-Mainstream Marginalised Communities. Ms Nahar described the plight of millions of Dalits living in poverty and social exclusion in her home country. Ms Nöhrlind noted that many countries have recognised the problem of caste discrimination, but that India continues to close its eyes to the issue. 

Read the article (in French)

New Reports & Papers on caste

Stitching Our Shoes - Homeworkers in South India - an in-depth report on the role of homeworkers in global supply chains and the effect of gender and caste and gender discrimination 

Directory of organisations working on Dalit rights in Bangladesh
 


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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 © 2016 International Dalit Solidarity Network, All rights reserved.