Yearly Archives: 2013

Yearly Archives: 2013

Nov 13 2013

FN chef blæser til kamp mod ”kastemonstret”

in News

FN’s Højkommissær for Menneskerettigheder, Navi Pillay, holdt en passioneret tale i det britiske overhus, hvor hun opfordrede verdenssamfundet til at gøre mere for at bekæmpe kaste diskrimination og dens ”katastrofale menneskelige følger”. Læs hele nyheden fra IDSN her:

UN Human Rights Chief: Bring down the beast of caste discrimination

UN High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, delivers a powerful speech on the urgent need to wipe out the “insidious stain” of caste discrimination and urges the UK not to tarnish their excellent record on human rights, by delaying implementation of UK anti-caste discrimination legislation.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, stated that caste discrimination spells, “a life of humiliation, exclusion and  poverty for about one-quarter of a billion women, men and children worldwide,” and that it is “destructive of all we stand for,” in a powerful speech at a House of Lords meeting of anti-caste discrimination networks.

Pillay urged the global community to push hard to raise more awareness of the “catastrophic human impact of caste-based discrimination, especially on women and the young ,” and to “continue together to call for further progress and denounce caste-based discrimination, both at home and in multilateral and bilateral contexts on the international stage.”

“You will have heard the recent calls for growing attention to caste-based discrimination at international level, ranging from UN Secretary-General’s Guidance Note on Racial Discrimination and Minorities … to the resolution on caste-based discrimination adopted by the European Parliament just last month,” Pillay said, and commented on the importance of the recent acknowledgement of caste discrimination as a specific source of inequality in the consultation on the post-2015 development agenda.

“Caste-based ignorance, hatred, fear and suffering … also affects the lives of people in the United Kingdom, in other countries and in diaspora and migrant communities around the world today,” Pillay said, adding that “strong, swift implementation” of the amended Equality Act 2010 was needed to protect the tens of thousands of people in the UK from low caste backgrounds.

Commending the UK on introducing legislation specifically addressing caste discrimination Pillay said, “The experience of my Office has been that even when non-discrimination legislation might cover, de jure, certain acts of caste-based discrimination, an explicit reference to such discrimination in legislation is needed.”

However, she also warned that, “We must couple existing law with renewed political and social commitment to legal principles, and also methodically and efficiently engage the international and national working mechanisms to advance its implementation.”

According to an article in The Guardian, Pillay said, “If the UK hesitates in defining [caste] or in moving with this law, it’s going to send signals to countries who are only now grappling with the issue that it is a matter too complex to legislate on,” and that delays in bringing the new law into effect would “certainly not be helpful” to the UK’s application to become a member of the UN human rights council in 2014.

According to participants The High Commissioner’s comments also included statements on the importance of the adoption of the UN Principles and Guidelines on Work and Descent (UN term covering caste) by the UN Human Rights Council.

The event at the House of Lords was organised by the Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) and took place on the 6 November 2013.

More information:

Read the full Speech by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay

UN human rights envoy urges UK to implement caste discrimination laws The Guardian (6.11.13)

Dalit Solidarity Network – UK (DSN-UK)

IDSN UK Country Profile

UK: Fight for caste legislation goes on – IDSN News (17.04.13)

UK Government announces its long awaited timetable to consultation DSN-UK News (29.07.13)

The UK Parliament outlaws Caste-Based Discrimination DSN-UK News (25.04.13)

The High Commissioner has repeatedly raised serious concerns about caste discrimination as a major human rights challenge at the global level, and came out with a statement on Dalit women earlier this year, statements on  manual scavenging, as well as a strong opinion piece on caste in 2011.

The UN has repeatedly raised concerns on caste discrimination in UN treaty bodies, Universal Periodic Reviews, and the Special Procedures.


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Oct 24 2013

Europa-Parlamentet: EU skal bekæmpe kastediskrimination

in News

EU skal gøre langt mere for at bekæmpe kastediskrimination, der berører hundreder af millioner af mennesker kloden over og fører til nærmest ufattelige lidelser for ofrene. Det mener Europa-Parlamentet, der torsdag den 10 Oktober vedtog en skarpt formuleret resolution om kastediskrimination. I resolutionen står der bl.a. at Diskrimination på grund af kaste skal anerkendes af EU-institutionerne som et problem på lige fod med køn, race, religion m.fl.

Læs mere om resolutionen i nedenstående engelsksprogede pressemeddelelse fra det International Dalit Solidaritets Netværk (IDSN). Kristeligt Dagblad dækkede resolutionen i artiklen Indiens kristne og muslimer kæmper for ligeret og  publicerede også et læserbrev om resolutionen skrevet af Margrete Auken. Resolutionen blev dækket bredt af udenlandske medier bl.a. i New York Times (interview med IDSN koordinator Rikke Nohrlind), The Guardian, The New Internationalist, The Hindu og The National.

European Parliament urges the EU to fight caste discrimination

The elected representatives of half a billion Europeans from 28 countries in the European Parliament (EP) today adopted a strongly worded resolution on caste discrimination.

Copenhagen (IDSN)/10 October 2013 – The European Parliament has sent a strong message of support to hundreds of millions of people all over the world who are subjected to caste discrimination by urging the EU to step up efforts to address a human rights issue that causes almost unimaginable suffering.

Prior to adopting a resolution on caste discrimination, MEPs from a wide cross-section of political groups spoke passionately about the topic and condemned this form of discrimination in very strong terms. Some even argued that goods from caste-affected countries should be boycotted, and there was broad agreement that EU institutions are not doing enough to address the issue.

The EP resolution calls on EU institutions to recognise and address caste discrimination on par with other grounds of discrimination such as ethnicity, race, religion, gender and sexuality; to include the issue in EU legislation and human rights policies; and to raise it at the highest level with governments of caste-affected countries.

In the debate’s opening speech, Green MEP Eva Joly, chair of the Committee on Development that tabled the resolution, quoted the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. A few years ago he compared caste discrimination in his own country to South Africa’s despised apartheid system. “Despite this declaration, despite the abolition of ‘untouchability’ in the Indian constitution, despite laws, 260 million people  are suffering daily from atrocities committed with complete impunity,” Ms Joly said, referring to the estimated number of people across the globe who are subjected to caste discrimination. Most of these live in South Asia and are known as Dalits.

Other speakers noted that caste discrimination has no place in modern, democratic societies. Labelling it “one of the biggest paradoxes of the 21st century”, the liberal MEP Leonidas Donskis noted that “it is imperative to ensure that the fight against caste-based discrimination becomes part of the standard EU human rights language and is systematically included in the Union’s efforts worldwide.”

EU Commissioner Cecilie Malmström claimed that this was already happening and listed a number of tools that the EU system is using to address the issue, including human rights dialogues with affected countries, and development programmes. However, her statement was met with some scepticism from MEPs.

“I don’t really agree that this is put on the agenda quite often,” said Alf Svensson of the European People’s Party Group, and others went further: “If we have all these EU instruments, and 260 million people still suffer caste discrimination, we are failing,” Michael Cashman of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats said.

Many MEPs spoke of the brutal violence that Dalit women and children are subjected to. Others argued that trade relations with caste-affected countries should be examined. One speaker mentioned the importance of the draft UN guidelines to eliminate caste discrimination, and urged the EEAS to promote them. Speaking on behalf of the GUE group, MEP Paul Murphy praised the work of Dalit activists, saying that they were pointing a way forward to confine “this barbaric feudal remnant to the dustbin of history.”

IDSN and its members now urge EU institutions to take action on the numerous points raised in the resolution in order to address caste discrimination. Speaking from the EP in Strasbourg, IDSN coordinator Rikke Nöhrlind and Manjula Pradeep, IDSN Executive Board member from India, noted that the resolution had secured very broad cross-party backing.

“We were encouraged to hear from Commissioner Malmström that caste discrimination is a high priority for the EU, and that it wants to fight against it. However, we also agree with the many parliamentarians who say that more could be done. Caste discrimination is one of the world’s most serious human rights problems, and we believe that the EU can play an important role in ending it.”

Download the IDSN press release >>

Download the motion for a resolution on caste discrimination  >>

Click here for the oral questions on caste discrimination  >>

Watch a webcast of the EP debate on caste discrimination >>

S&Ds call for targeted action against caste-based discrimination >>

ALDE: The EU must fight caste-based discrimination >>

Tweets are sent out via >>

The European Parliament and caste discrimination >>


The links below were added on 18 October

Transcript of the debate on 10 October

EP press release on the resolution

Combating caste-based discrimination (EP newsletter)

Untouchables: Stop discriminations based on castes! (Greens)

An interview with IDSN coordinator Rikke Nöhrlind (New York Times – India Ink)

India’s caste campaigners win EU backing to end ‘apartheid’ conditions(The Guardian)

The world is looking at caste discrimination, finally (New Internationalist)

Caste discrimination a global evil, says European Parliament (The Hindu)

It’s high time India tackled the evil of the caste system (The National)



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May 27 2013

FN-eksperter tager afstand fra kastediskrimination

in News

Syv af FN’s specialrapportører og uafhængige eksperter på menneskerettighedsområdet har udsendt en stærk erklæring, der fokuserer på den vold og diskrimination, som verdens ‘urørlige’, især Sydasiens dalitter, bliver udsat for.

En gruppe uafhængige FN-eksperter har opfordret verdens regeringer til at forstærke beskyttelsen af de hundreder af millioner af mennesker verden over, der rammes af kastediskrimination.

I en skarpt formuleret erklæring til FN’s medlemslande, heriblandt regeringer i kasteramte lande, advarer eksperterne om, at ”kastediskrimination er meget udbredt og dybt forankret. Dens ofre udsættes for strukturel diskrimination, marginalisering og systematisk udstødelse, og der er en meget høj grad af straffrihed.”

“Denne form for diskrimination fører til grove og vidtrækkende krænkelser af menneskerettighederne – herunder brutale former for vold,” siger eksperterne. “Dalitkvinder og -piger er særligt sårbare og er udsat for talrige former for diskrimination og vold, herunder seksuel vold, på grund af deres køn og kaste. Børn, der er ofre for kastediskrimination, løber en større risiko for at blive solgt eller seksuelt udnyttet.”

Erklæringen fra en gruppe af FN’s såkaldte specialrapportører blev udsendt på toårsdagen for vedtagelsen af Nepals banebrydende kastediskriminationslovgivning, der vil kunne tjene som inspiration for andre kasteramte lande til at indføre love mod kastediskrimination. FN-eksperterne opfordrede verdens regeringer til at godkende og føre FN’s såkaldte principper og retningslinjer for afskaffelse af kastediskrimination ud i livet. Principperne er et omfattende lovgrundlag, der er udviklet for at bekæmpe dette alvorlige menneskerettighedsproblem.

FN-eksperterne udtrykte imidlertid også bekymring om den alvorlige mangel på overholdelse af love i lande, hvor der eksisterer lovgivning på området, og efterlyste ”politisk lederskab, målrettet handling og tilstrækkelige ressourcer” til at finde midler mod den ”diskrimination og udstødelse, som dalitter og lignende samfundsgrupper udsættes for.”

I forbindelse med post-2015-målene understregede FN-eksperterne, at kastediskrimination ”må betragtes som en afgørende strukturel årsag til fattigdom”. De udtrykte håb om, at post-2015-dagsordenen vil omfatte ”specifikke mål, der skal sikre fremskridt for dalitter og særligt udsatte grupper.”

De lovede også at ”være særligt opmærksomme på den særdeles udsatte situation, som de, der er ramt af kastediskrimination, befinder sig i,” således at deres menneskerettigheder til fulde kan blive respekteret. FN-eksperterne afsluttede deres erklæring med ordene: ”Ingen skal være stigmatiseret; ingen skal betragtes som ’urørlige’.”

Læs FN-eksperternes erklæring her (på engelsk)

IDSN: Information om FN’s specialrapportøre (på engelsk)


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Mar 04 2013

DSN-DK får Svaleprisen

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Rikke Nöhrlind og Maia Ingvardson modtager Svaleprisen på vegne af DSN-DK. FOTO: SVALERNE

Dalit Solidaritetsnetværket i Danmark kom i fornemt selskab, da U-landsforeningen Svalerne for første gang siden 1989 uddelte ‘Svaleprisen’. De hidtil eneste prismodtagere har været Kristeligt Dagblad og filminstruktøren bag ‘Salaam Bombay!’

U-landsforeningen Svalerne fejrede for nylig 50-års jubilæum og uddelte i den forbindelse ‘Svaleprisen’ til DSN-DK for netværkets ”store engagement og arbejde for afskaffelse af kastediskrimination”.

Prisen blev uddelt ved Svalernes jubilæumsreception 22. februar og bestod – ud over æren og det meget velkomne skulderklap – af en flot ’Fat Lady’-stenfigur fra Svalernes egen fair trade-butik.

Svaleprisen blev uddelt første gang, da foreningen fejrede 25-års jubilæum i 1988. Dengang gik prisen til Kristeligt Dagblad for avisens daværende faste tillæg om ”Danmark og Den 3. Verden”. Året efter blev den indiske filminstruktør Mira Nair hædret for filmen ’Salaam Bombay!’ om gadebørns skæbne i den indiske millionby, der nu hedder Mumbai.

Derefter lå Svaleprisen i dvale i næsten et kvart århundrede, inden den blev genoplivet i forbindelse med 50-års jubilæet.

Svalerne er selv en god støtte for DSN-DK’s arbejde og har bl.a. bakket fornemt op omkring facebook-kampagnen ’End Caste Discrimination’. Foreningen støtter også projekter i Indien, der forsøger at forbedre vilkårene for de kasteløse dalitter.

U-landsforeningen Svalerne

Svalerne på facebook


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