Skip to main content

Participants at UN experts meet in Geneva insist on need for lasting mechanism to monitor caste discrimination

By Our Representative
A high-level interaction in Geneva, United Nations (UN) experts and civil rights activists stressed on the need to move towards a “more structured mechanism against caste-based discrimination” in countries like India and its South Asian neighbours. During the interaction, in which UN special rapporteurs, civil society groups and independent experts participated, there was sharp focus on the need to usher in a formal UN mechanism to end caste-based discrimination in a year’s  time. This mechanism, it was suggested, could monitor caste discrimination and suggest ways to overcome it. Before the mechanism is worked out, experts could move around different countries to see how effectively are laws to end caste-based discrimination being implemented.
Held between September 29 and October 3, the participants at the interaction said all countries must endorse the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent. Participants discussed caste-based discrimination as a cross-cutting issue and stressed on the need to outline areas of joint intervention. They said, one should ensure that affected countries effectively monitor and investigate caste-based discrimination, and states start acting on it with the help of “non-state actors”.
Ahead of the meeting, the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), one of the important participants, wanted particular focus on three major issues:
  • regular joint review process on status of caste discrimination; 
  • develop a road map for action to improve implementation of recommendations; and
  • engage OHCHR/UN consultations on caste-based discrimination 
Following the meeting, the IDSN said there were “proposals for significant initiatives” at the meeting while exchanging views, including on “a more structured mechanism against caste-based discrimination for the next annual meeting in 2015, placing caste-based discrimination and slavery on the agenda of next year's annual meeting or having a consultation on caste-based discrimination, and working on caste-based discrimination across mandates as a concerted effort.”
Taking part in the meeting, the UN special rapporteur on minority issues Rita Izsak said, “We have been discussing how to jointly move towards a more structured mechanism against caste-based discrimination for the next annual meeting (2015) and to see how we can move together in more concerted and coordinated effort for these 260 million people … we will work for this and assure that we are committed.”
UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Urmila Bhoola said she was “indebted” to IDSN for “raising the issue of caste-based discrimination in the form of caste-based slavery and manual labour and manual scavenging and the persistence of forced and bonded labour particularly among Dalit people.” She expressed her interest in “conducting missions and writing a report on caste-based discrimination.”
Frances Raday, Chair of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Discrimination against Women focused on what she called “horrors of sexual violence on basis of caste-based discrimination.”
An earlier meeting under UN auspices on the issue on May 17, 2013 said the IDSN statement, reached the conclusion that “caste-based discrimination remains widespread and deeply rooted, its victims face structural discrimination, marginalization and systematic exclusion, and the level of impunity is very high”, asking world governments to “strengthen protection of hundreds of millions of people who suffer from caste discrimination, and to endorse the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent.”
Apart from the IDSN, those who participated in the meeting were activists representing the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), India; the Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) Nepal; Bangladesh Dalit and Excluded Rights Movement; Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network, and dalit solidarity networks of UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Finland.
Several senior activists from India and other South Asian countries, including Manjula Pradeep, executive director, Navsarjan Trust of Gujarat, participated.
International groups which took part included Human Rights Watch, Lutheran World Federation, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism. Anti-Slavery International, Minority Rights Group International, Asian Human Rights Commission, Robert F. Kennedy Foundation, World Council of Churches, Asian Centre for Human Rights, and International Centre for Ethnic Studies, based in Sri Lanka.

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.