Global Conference 
on Defending Dalit Rights Planned for March 2015

 

August 7, 2014, Washington, DC, International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) along with a host of participating universities, foundations, Dalit and Amebedakarite organizations from USA, Canada, Europe, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other caste-affected countries are organizing a Global Conference on Defending Dalit Rights in the Contemporary World to increase awareness of the issues faced by millions of caste-affected individuals worldwide. The Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. from March 19-21, 2015.The plight of the world’s 260 million Dalits, who have been facing caste-based discrimination, exclusion, inequality and violence as a modern humanitarian crisis. Every day Dalits are forced into slave and bonded labor, denied access to communal water sources, and refused service at public establishments solely on the basis of their caste or descent.

 

The conference’s objectives are to: a) strengthen links among US and international organizations fighting for the end of caste-based discrimination, violence and inequality; b) identify strategies to increase the capacity of caste-affected countries to respond to and mitigate the harms of caste-discrimination; c) advocate the passing of a binding resolution against caste-based discrimination by the US Congress; and, d)  lobby member nations of the United Nations to endorse the UN’s “Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent” established by the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/11/CRP.3).

 

The conference will take place over three days and be divided into five plenary sessions: 1) Legislative Approaches to Caste, Work and Descent-based Discrimination; 2) International Mechanisms and the Obligation to End Discrimination, Violence and Inequality; 3) Best Practices and Challenges: Build and Empower Networks of Policy-makers, Civil Society and NGOs; 4) Caste Freedom Index: universal measurement and advocacy framework; and 5) Dalit Women Power- Fighting Tripartite Discrimination: trafficking, and caste and sexual discrimination and violence.

 

The Conference will be managed collectively by participating partner organizations, sponsors, and ICDR. Some fellowships, scholarships, and internship opportunities will be available for graduate and undergraduate students and scholars with an interest in Dalit rights, human rights, advocacy, international development, or related topics.

"More information will be provided soon."

GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON DEFENDING DALIT RIGHTS

"A Fight for Establishing Justice, Dignity and Humanity"

March 19-21, 2015, Washington, DC


Background on the Global Conference

 Dalits from around the world have been victimized; discriminated against in social, political, economic, education and religious areas of life; and excluded from mainstream development on the basis of their caste or work and descent. Such discrimination is widely practiced in South Asia, but is also practiced in other parts of the world, including diaspora communities. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch, and the US Department of State have confirmed in several reports that Caste-based Discrimination (CBD) is widespread, resulting in political exclusion, hate crimes, and a culture of impunity when offenses against Dalit men and women are committed[1].



[1] See the Overview of Discrimination against Dalits and Policy Responses at the end of this proposal for more information.

It is estimated that 260 million people are directly affected by CBD around the world.[1] Typically, this discrimination results in the denial of basic human rights based on socially and culturally rooted structures and norms that define the fundamental identity of a person based upon their status at birth. Such discrimination is especially harsh for women and children born within low-caste communities.  In South Asia, those called “Dalits” are by far the largest group to suffer caste-based discrimination. While caste discrimination is widely practiced in such nations as India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, it can also be found in other parts of the world including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Japan, Yemen, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Somalia. Ongoing migration from these countries has led to the rise of CBD within countries such as the UK and the US.[2] 



[1] Yozo Yokota and Chin-Sung Chung, “Promotion and Protection of Human Rights,” A/HRC/Sub.1/58/CRP.2, p. 9, UN Human Rights Council, Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, July 28, 2006.

[2] Hilary Metcalf and Heather Rolfe, “Caste discrimination and harassment in Great Britain,” National Institute of Economic and Social Research, London, 2010.  Full article......


Global March against Caste-based 

Discrimination hosted in Washington, DC

The International Commission for Dalit Rights in collaboration with Dalit and Amebedakarite Organizations from USA, Canada, UK, Europe, India, Nepal, Pakistan and other South Asian Countries organized Global March in DC to increase awareness of the issues faced by millions of caste-affected individuals worldwide. The rally began at 2:00pm ET and concluded at5:00pm at the Capitol Hill Upper Senate Park. The organizers announced post-march activities such as Global Conference on Drafting Dalit Rights, Drafting Binding Resolution and Congressional Hearing, Online Campaigns for continues alert and educate US and international policy-makers. Over 260 million Dalits around the world are socially, politically, and economically oppressed. Every day Dalits are forced into slave and bonded labor, denied access to communal water sources, and refused service at public establishments solely on the basis of their caste or descent. 

ICDR Founder and President Dil Bishwakarma (who goes by DB Sagar) said “This march is about restoring the basic human rights that are denied to people every day at the hands of the caste system. The United Nations has done extensive work that documents the perils of caste discrimination and The United States can take the global lead in eradicating this gross injustice. ICDR is grateful for the support it has received from organizations across the US and internationally, and we think this will be a historic milestone in the fight for equality.”  

In-front of the White House, Mr. DB Sagar made a special remark and urged the President Obama to speak up and stand for the elimination of Caste-based Discrimination and sexual violence. He urged Mr. President to endorse Draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent established by the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/11/CRP.3); and also called the US Congress to pass a binding resolution against caste-based discrimination that mandates action by US government agencies in caste-affected countries.

A letter from the President:

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, it is time to recognize the rights and dignity of nearly 300 million Dalit people worldwide. We appeal on international policy-makers to make good on their broken promises to govern towards increased social justice, equality, inclusion and the recognition of human rights. The International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) calls on member states of the United Nations to endorse the “Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent” by the UN Human Rights Council. The UN Principles and Guidelines constitute a strong tool to encourage specific anti-discrimination legislation and relevant policy measures for governments and their agencies, UN and other international agencies, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Click he . re to read full statement......

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