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

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.