Skip to main content

NGO alert: EU report wants caste-based discrimination be included in donors' funding norm

A Dalit household during Bihar floods of 2007
Counterview Desk
In a fresh move that will have a major impact on the way international donors support NGOs in countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the European Union (EU) has suggested that funding agencies should be sensitive to caste-based discrimination issues while disbursing humanitarian aid. A new EU-sponsored report, “Equality in Aid: Addressing Caste Discrimination in Humanitarian Response”, authored by Katherine Nightingale, has advised “international donors” that they should “ensure accountability” of NGOs in addressing “caste-based discrimination in all the programmes they fund, with a particular emphasis on supporting measures to address caste-based discrimination.”
The EU report has been prepared by Copenhagen-based International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), which claims to work on a “global level for the elimination of caste discrimination and similar forms of discrimination based on work and descent”. It significantly comes close on the heels of the European Parliament resolution, passed in October 2013 (click HERE), which calls for “the inclusion of caste-based discrimination as a human rights issue in future EU human rights policies, strategies and action plans … for development projects.” The resolution, for the first time, treated caste-based discrimination on par with discrimination based on “ethnicity, race, religion, gender and sexuality”.
Laying down the basic principles which the donors should follow, the report states, the they should “allocate specific funding to local national, regional and international organizations” only if “caste-based discrimination as part of a comprehensive commitment to implementing HAP in programming” are addressed. Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) has been recognized as an international standard for organizations which are working with people affected by or prone to various forms of crises, including disasters. HAP helps design and implement programmes that are accountable especially to the vulnerable sections of society.
The report underlines, “States, civil society and international agencies should all address caste discrimination when providing humanitarian assistance. Humanitarian stakeholders are called upon to follow the recommendations listed in this report”. Giving specific examples ranging from the 2001 Gujarat earthquake to the 2007 Bihar floods, the report says, “The experiences of Dalits during the relief and rehabilitation that follow disasters have demonstrated the degree to which caste discrimination by default can entrench and enhance inequity.”
It says, “While caste discrimination – despite laws and policies – continues to exist in day-to-day life in many countries, caste-based discrimination during disaster relief and recovery is also highly predictable. Yet humanitarian minimum standards do not currently require or guide providers of humanitarian assistance in caste-affected countries to understand and respond to caste discrimination.” Hence the need to address “caste-based discrimination in humanitarian aid and a growing recognition within the humanitarian sector of the need to be much more consciously addressing caste and issues of exclusion”.
“Any failure to adequately address underlying causes of vulnerability“, the report points out, would mean that, “whilst emergency aid may be becoming more inclusive, Dalits and vulnerable groups will continue to require the bulk of it as they will continue to be the hardest hit.” It adds, “Unless there is a comprehensive and long-term approach to addressing caste-based discrimination in resilience-building and development across the region, millions of people, particular in South Asia, will continue to be at risk from preventable disasters.”
Suggesting that this is particularly important against the backdrop of climate change, “which is increasing the frequency and severity of weather-related hazards”, the report says, “For vulnerable communities like Dalits this places even greater strain on their adaptive capacity; the ability to deal with shocks, stresses and change.” Other factors which might aggravate the situation include “rapid unplanned urbanisation, eco-system decline and population growth”, it adds.
“The pre-existing conditions of vulnerabilities posed by ‘untouchability’ practices and discrimination are magnified into various forms of systemic and societal exclusion of Dalits in emergency situations”, the report emphasizes, adding, “As pointed out in the case study by National Dalit Watch – National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (several reports, click HERE), neglect in understanding the caste structures and how they work in disaster situations invariably result in discrimination and exclusion of Dalits and other marginalised communities in disaster response.”

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.