Skip to main content

UN special rapporteur report wants "urgent, comprehensive" steps to combat caste-based discrimination

By Our Representative
In a development of major policy implication for India, United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, chose caste discrimination as the theme of her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council, which she presented at Geneva on March 15, 2016.
“Caste-affected countries must take urgent and comprehensive action to combat caste discrimination”, Izsák-Ndiaye says in her strongly worded report on what she considers as "world’s most serious human rights issues."  The report claims the problem affects more than 250 million people across the world, 201 million in India alone.
Titled ‘Minorities and discrimination based on caste and analogous systems of inherited status’, the report expresses serious concern about crimes against Dalit in India, quoting data from the National Crime Records Bureau to state that "crimes against individuals from scheduled castes increased 19 per cent in 2014 from the previous year."
Referring to manual scavenging as widely prevalent in South Asia, the report says, "In Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, street cleaning and the handling of human waste and animal carcasses are almost exclusively performed by Dalits."
Referring to India passing the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act in 2013, the report says, "The practice persists, institutionalized through State practice, with local governments and municipalities employing manual scavengers", adding, "This rigid and stratified allocation of work results in Dalits having not only limited job opportunities, but also lower wages, particularly in rural areas."
The report says, "In Bangladesh and India,  Dalits are often systematically excluded from access to water and sanitation", adding, "Dalits may be prohibited from fetching water; have to wait in different queues when accessing wells; and, in the event of water shortage, must give non-Dalits priority."
It continues, "Dalits may be subjected to large-scale violence and physical attacks by members of the dominant caste when attempting to access facilities in areas inhabited by them. Dalit women are particularly vulnerable to physical violence from members of the dominant castes while collecting water from public wells and taps."
The Special Rapporteur notes, “Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to caste discrimination, as they suffer from multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination owing to both their gender and unprivileged caste status.”
She asks caste-affected states to take “robust action to eradicate such violations”, she says, underlining, caste discrimination is so embedded in interpersonal and communal relationships that overcoming it will “require not only legal and political responses, but also community-based approaches aimed at changing the mindsets of individuals and the collective conscience of local communities.”
Calling it a global phenomenon infringing upon the basic principles of universal human dignity and equality, the report stresses that caste-affected groups suffer extreme exclusion and dehumanization and are often deprived of their most basic rights.
It identifies areas of particular concern in relation to caste-based systems such as the right to life; access to justice; political participation; freedom of religion; the right to work; contemporary forms of slavery; the right to housing, water and sanitation, health and education; and humanitarian assistance.
Welcoming the report, the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and Human Rights Watch have said in a joint statement, “The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), its member states and UN bodies should work much harder to eliminate one of the world’s worst forms of discrimination.”
“Caste-affected states should endorse these guidelines as well and ensure their implementation; enact and enforce anti-caste discrimination legislation; pay specific attention to the issues of caste-affected women; and take action on caste discrimination in disaster relief operations”, the statement says.
---
Download full report HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”