especially to Mr.Balram Sampla (Vice-Chair of DSN.) for letting me publish the articles/matter!
(Prem Kumar Chumber) email@example.com
VIOLANCE WITH IMPUNITY
AGAINST DALITS IN INDIA
this House notes with grave concern the on going violence with impunity
against Dalits in India (Formerly called untouchables); recalls the
tragic murder of Surekha, Priyanka, Sudhir and Roshan Bhotmange in
Khairlanji village in September 2006; regrets the chronic deficiencies
in the investigation and the lack of prosecution of negligent police
officers involved in the case; notes that official figures record
approximately 26,000 atrocities against Dalits every year; notes that
this statistic is unlikely to represent the true extent of violence;
further notes a recent study on untouchability in rural India finding
that Dalits faced discrimination in their access to police stations in
28% of villages and in their treatment in police stations in 32% of
villages; notes the European Parliament Resolution of 1 February 2007
on the human rights situation of the Dalits in India; recognises the
existence of legislation to protect Dalits from caste-based violence andhumiliation
in India; and calls upon Her Majestys Government to make
representations to the Indian Government to urge for the effective
implementation of laws protecting Dalits from violent attacks.
says giving representation to 52% population of OBCs is in the
national interest of thecountry.Reservation Rashtrapita Jotiba Phuley
and Rashtranirmata Dr.B.R.Ambedkar are the fathers of Concept of
Reservation. They gave birth to the concept of reservation. So
reservation is not a mere phenomenon or mere instrument to get, to
secure some jobs in the Government. Reservation is the matter of
participation in the governance of the country. Reservation is nothing
but representation in the Governance. We get reservation through
Constitution. Article 15(4) and 16(4) talks of reservation
(Representation) Article 15(4) Nothing in this article or in clause 2
of Article 29 (protection of minorities) shall prevent the state from
making any special provision for the advancement of any socially and
educationally backward classes. Article 16(4) Nothing in this article
shall prevent the state from making any provision for the reservation
of appointments or posts in favour of any backward class citizens
which, in the opinion of the state, is not adequately represented in
the services under the state. Under the 1950 Constitution of India, 15%
of educational and civil service seats were reserved for "Scheduled
castes" and 7.5% for "Scheduled tribes." Root Cause of Mandal
Commission Dr.B.R.Ambedkar was in favour of giving representation to
Other Backward classes while drafting the constitution of India.
Because he was of the opinion that besides SC/STs there are vast
castes which are backward and needs representation in the governance of
the country. But there was so much oppose from all angles and it was
asked who the backward classes are? As they were not having separate
identity Dr.Ambedkar put provision of forming a commission who will
identify who are these castes which needs representation. This Article
340 was the root cause of Mandal Commission Article 340 (1)
The President may by order appoint a commission, consisting of such
persons as he thinks, fit to investigate the conditions of socially and
educationally backward classes within the territory of India and the
difficulties under which they labour and to make recommendations as to
the steps that should be taken by the union or any state to remove such
difficulties and as to improve their condition and as to the grants
that should be made, and the order appointing such commission shall
define the procedure to be followed by the commission. Article 340 (2)
A commission so appointed shall investigate the matters referred to
them and present to the president a report setting out the facts as
found by them and making such recommendations as they think proper. As
per this article of the constitution which was implemented in 1950, the
first Backward Class commission was set up by a presidential order on
January 29, 1953 (3) years
after the implementation of the constitution due to the social movement
pressure of Dr.Ambedkar) under the chairmanship of Kaka Kalelkar Its
terms of references were to:Determine the criteria to be adopted in considering whether any sections of the people in the territory of India in addition to the SC and ST as socially and educationally backward classes. 2 Using
such criteria it was to prepare a list of such classes setting out also
their approximate members and their territorial distribution. 3.Investigate
the conditions of all such socially and educationally backward classes
and the differences under which they labour and make recommendations 1. as
to the steps that should be taken by the union or any state to remove
such difficulties or to improve their economic condition, and 2.as
to the grants that should be made for the purpose by the union or any
state and the conditions subject to which such grants should be made; 3.Investigate such other matters as the president may hereafter refer to them and 4.Present
to the president a report setting out the facts as found by them and
making such recommendations as they think proper. Kaka Kalelkar
commission adopted the following criteria: 1.Low social position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society. 2.Lack of general educational advancement among the major section of a caste or community. 3.Inadequate or no representation in government services. 4.Inadequate representation in the field of trade, commerce and industry
The commission submitted its report on March 30, 1955.
It had prepared a list of 2,399 backward castes or communities for the
entire country and of which 837 had been classified as the most
backward. Some of the most noteworthy recommendations of the
1.Undertaking caste-wise enumeration of population in the census of 1961.
2.Relating social backwardness of a class to its low position in the traditional caste hierarchy of Hindu society,
Treating all women as a class as backward;(As Manusmruti denied the
equal status to women with men and put them in the fourth varna)
4.Reservation of 70 per cent seats in all technical and professional institutions for qualified students of backward classes.
Minimum reservation of vacancies in all government services and local
bodies for other backward classes on the following scale: class I = 25
per cent; class II = 33˝ per cent; class III and IV = 40 per cent Shri.
Kaka Kalelkar, the Chairman, took a rather equivocal stand on the
issue, though he did not record a formal minutes of dissent, in his
forwarding letter to the President he opposed the important
recommendations made by the commission. But this report was not
accepted by the Central government on the ground that it had not
applied any objective tests for identifying the Backward Class.Thus,
there was a need of second backward classes of commission.
Mandal commission The Mandal Commission in India
was established in 1979 to "identify the socially or educationally
backward." It was headed by Indian parliamentarian Bindheshwari Prasad
Mandal (B.P.Mandal, hence named as Mandal Commission) to consider the
question of seat reservations and quotas for people to redress caste
discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational
indicators to determine "backwardness." Members of Mandal Commission o
Shri. B. P. Mandal- Chairman, Shri.R.
R. Bhole Member, Shri. Dewan Mohan Lal- Member, Shri. L. R. Naik-
Member, Shri. K. Subramaniam- Member Objective of Mandal Commission
1. To determine the criteria for defining the socially and educationally backward classes
2.To recommend the steps to be taken for their advancement.
3.To examine the desirability or otherwise for making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in their favour.
present a report setting out the facts found by the commission.
Methodology of Mandal Commission Some of the important measures taken
in this connection were
1.Seminar of sociologists on social backwardness.
2. Issue of three sets of questionnairesto State Government and the public
3.Extensive touring of the country by the Commission, taking evidence of legislators, eminent public men, sociologist
country wide socio-educational survey (A socio-educational field survey
was organized under the panel of experts with M. N. Srinivas as
5.Preparation of reports on some important issues by specialized agencies.
Study, village monographs and study of legal and constitutional issues,
Analysis of the census data etc Criteria to identify OBC The Mandal
Commission adopted various methods and techniques to collect the
necessary data and evidence. The commission also adopted 11 criteria
which could be grouped under three major headings: social, educational
and economic in order to identify OBCs.
The 11 criterias are as follows: Social Criteria (4 * 3 = 12 points)
Castes/classes considered as socially backward by others.
Castes/classes which mainly depend on manual labour for their livelihood.
where at least 25 per cent females and 10 per cent males above the
state average get married at an age below 17 years in rural areas and
at least 10 per cent females and 5 per cent males do so in urban areas.
where participation of females in work is at least 2 per cent above the
state average. Educational Criteria ( 2 points each, total 6 point)
where the number of children in the age group of 5-15 years who never
attended school is at least 25 per cent above the state average.
where the rate of student drop-out in the age group of 5-15 years is at
least 25 per cent above the state average.
amongst whom the proportion of matriculates is at least 25 per cent
below the state average. Economic Criteria (1 point each, total 4 point)
Castes/classes where the average value of family assets is at least 25 per cent below the state average.
Castes/classes where the number of families living in kuccha houses is at least 25 per cent above the state average.
Castes/classes where the source of drinking water is beyond half a kilometer for more than 50 per cent of the households.
Castes/classes where the number of households having taken consumption loans is at least 25 per cent above the state average.
castes, which had a score of 50 per cent (i.e., 11 points) or above by
applying the 11 criteria were listed as socially and educationally
backward and the rest were treated as advanced.
adopting this multilateral approach the commission was able to cast its
net far and wide and prepared a very firma and dependable database for
Findings and report The commission estimated that 52% of the total
(excluding SCs and STs), belonging to 3,743 different castes and
communities were backward. Figures of caste-wise population are not
available beyond. So the commission used 1931 census data to
the number of OBCs. The population of OBCs was derived by subtracting
from the total population of Hindus, the population of SC and ST and
that of forward Hindu castes and communities, and it worked
out to be 52 per cent. However, only 27 per cent of reservation was
owing to the legal constraint of the Honorable Supreme court ruling
that the total quantum of reservation should not exceed 50 percent.
These recommendations in total are applicable to all recruitment to
public sector undertakings both under the central and state
governments, as also to nationalised banks. All private sector
undertakings which have received financial assistance from the
in one form or other should also be obliged to recruit personnel on the
aforesaid basis. All universities and affiliated colleges should also
be covered by the above scheme of reservation. Although education is
considered an important factor to bring a desired social change,
"educational reform" was not within the terms of reference of this
commission. To promote literacy the following measures were suggested:
intensive time-bound programme for adult education should be launched
in selected pockets with high concentration of OBC population;
schools should be set up in these areas for backward class students to
provide a climate specially conducive to serious studies. All
facilities in these schools including board and lodging should be
provided free of cost to attract students from poor and backward homes;
3.Separate hostels for OBC students with above facilities will have to be provided;
training was considered imperative. It was recommended that seats
should be reserved for OBC students in all scientific, technical and
professional institutions run by the central as well as state
governments. The quantum of reservation should be the same as in the
government services, i e, 27 per cent The above reservation should also
be made applicable to promotion quota at all levels. Reserved quota
remaining unfilled should be carried forward for a period of three
years and de-reserved thereafter. Relaxation in the upper age limit for
direct recruitment should be extended to the candidates of OBC in the
same manner as done in the case of SCs and STs. A roster system for
each category of posts should be adopted by the concerned authorities
in the same manner as presently done in respect of SC and ST
candidates. According to 2001 census, out of India's
population of 1,028,737,436 the Scheduled castes comprises 166,635,700
and Scheduled Tribe 84,326,240, that is 16.2% and 8.2% respectively.
(The SC/ST population has increased as per the census of 2001). There
is no data on OBCs in the census. The implementation of Mandal
commission will lead to a reduction of social and educational
backwardness and give a chance to live to the backwardness and give a
chance to live to the backward classes who constitute 52% of the
population of India.
When 27% reservation of jobs and educational seats is given for people
constituting nearly more than 52% of the population. But those who
constitute less than 15%(higher castes who are getting 100% reservation
for the last 1000 years)grab 100% of power - and that is supposed to be
in the national interest, etc. Brahmins who are 3.5% of the total
population enjoys 100% representation in the Union Cabinet, in
Secretariat positions, in Governors' and Vice-Chancellors' and
ambassadorial jobs, that does not raise even an eyebrow of the
so-called casteless society wallahas! 'Caste' cannot be used to deny
social justice to a vast majority of the people; neither can caste be
allowed to be used to maintain privileges and positions grabbed and
retained by a microscopic minority (3.5% Brahmins) for thousands of
years. The struggle against caste cannot be side-tracked to perpetuate
the domination of the higher caste. The struggle against caste is the
most intense from of class-struggle in the Indian situation. But the
main thing is that besides reservations, the Mandal Commission has
recommended certain structural changes. The Commission has sharply
focussed on the fact that a large majority of the OBCs live in
villages, that they are poor farmers, or farm labourers or village
artisans whose 'business' has been completely destroyed by the Batas
and Garwares. These rural poor are today completely under the control
of the rich farmers and traders who have reduced them to a state of
slavery. Their conditions cannot be change takes place in the relations
of production. The Commission wants a change in the private ownership
of the means of production both in industry and agriculture. Even if
the existing laws in the statute books are enforced ruthlessly and
impartially, it would give considerable relief to the poor. At least,
the strange hold of rich farmers will be loosened, if not broken. The
Commission recommends that the Ceiling Act and other land reform
statutes should be vigorously enforced. The SC/ST and the OBC
solidarity let it be understood, unites 85% of the people, suppressed,
exploited and condemned to a life of degradation and humiliation. The
Mandal Commission has opened the visa of such powerful consolidation of
the exploited people. The struggle for land which in effect would also
become the struggle for the liberation of the poor from the dominant
rich in rural areas, is also linked up with the struggle for survival
of rural artisans. They have no land, or very little of it, and their
traditional occupations have been ruined by the invasion of big
companies. The Commission has recommended that separate financial
institutions should be set up to help them organize their occupation on
a cooperative basis. These cooperatives must be controlled only by the
rural artisans. Furthermore, these rural artisans must be given
training in the use of modern instruments, modern methods and style. A
comprehensive charter of demands for the entire rural OBCs, those in
farming and rural artisans, based on these recommendations of the
Mandal Commission, could galvanize the rural masses into a concerted
action. There is yet another dimension to the prospects opened by the
Commission. The Commission has broken fresh grounds and has carried out
its investigations into the conditions of the backward sections among
Muslimsand Christians, thus transgressing religiousdivisions. The
Commission has shown, with substantive evidence, how
backwardness-social and educational-prevails even among religious
communities which avowedly do not believe in caste. They believe in the
equality of man. Yet there exist divisions of 'high' and 'low'. The
Mandal Commission recommendations for OBCs are applicable to all 3743
castes, thus the struggle for the recommendations of the Mandal
Commission can unite
exploited and oppressed masses irrespective of religious divisions.
Their struggle against high caste domination and exploitation can
become the struggle against capitalist-landlord exploitation and
therefore a struggle for equality and social justice.
of village vocational communities who want to set up small-scale
industries on their own should be given suitable institutional finance
and technical assistance. In addition, similar assistance should be
extended to those promising OBC candidates who have undergone special
vocational training. In this regard, separate financial institutions
should also be established.
was also considered imperative that all state governments should create
a separate network of financial and technical institutions to foster
business and industrial enterprise among OBC as a part of its overall
strategy to uplift them. To implement all these recommendations,
Central and state governments should form separate ministry On 30th April 1981, Mandal Commission was submitted to
the houses of parliament but former prime minister Indira Gandhi and
after that Rajiv Gandhi cleverly ignored it. The Supreme Court gave its
verdict in favour of the implementation of 1990 order of the Union
Government, providing reservation in jobs. So from 1992, a part of
recommendations of the Commission is being implemented. Supporters of
the Mandal Commission argue that national unity should be on the basis
of justice for all castes, and that both traditional varnashram and
post-independence Congress Raj had worked only to the benefit of
brahmins and other privileged minorities. They also argue that
reservations are essential to the uplift and empowerment of people from
less privileged castes.Note : Creamy Layer The Income limit has since
been raised from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs.2.5 lakhs w.e.f. 09.03.2004 vide
DOP2T O.M, No.36033/3/2004-ESTT(Res) dated 09.03.2004.
NEPALESE DALIT WOMEN
SPEAK OF VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION AT HOUSE OF COMMONS MEETING 28TH
On Tuesday 28 November at
an historic meeting in the House of Commons,
London , Nepalese Dalit Manju Badi, from an
untouchable caste branded as prostitutes, gave first hand testimony on the
extent and depth of the violence and discrimination Dalit women face in everyday
Nepalese life. Dalits are considered the lowest of the low in the brutal caste
system that rigidly divides South East Asian society. There are approximately
1.2 million Dalit women in
Nepal - around 12.3 percent of the
Manju Badi was abandoned
after 12 years by the father of her three children. He never told his family she
existed and the couple lived apart. The same thing happened to Manjus mother
before Manju was born. Now Manjus children face a life in poverty and without
citizenship rights because their higher caste father will not admit they are
Nepalese Dalit filmmaker
Anita Pariyar screened her documentary on the lives of Dalit women in
Nibha Singh, Nepali human rights activist, presented further evidence, on how
Dalit women are forced into child marriage, are blamed for bad luck, have been
forced to eat human faeces and that they suffer exploitation and violence from
higher caste men outside their communities as well as domestic violence in
their own homes. Dalit children are consistently excluded from school and the
community has little or no recourse to social justice. As Manjus experience
shows, they are affected generation after generation.
Durga Sob, President of
the Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO) of
Nepal urged the British government and
international community to support the full participation of Dalit women in the
political change sweeping
Nepal at this time and to ensure
their representation and strong voice in the new Constituent Assembly and
political structures. She stressed the need to ensure that Dalits without
citizenship are able to freely register as Nepali citizens in order to fully
participate in the upcoming election and cast their vote. Independent monitoring
by the EU or International community of the participation of Dalits in the
election is essential.
Most importantly the
Dalit Women highlighted the action that all Nepalese Dalit women are taking
daily to change their own and the lives of their communities, to secure a life
free of discrimination in
Nepal . They call upon the Nepalese
government to end caste and gender discrimination in all spheres of public and
private life and to ensure that comprehensive laws to protect their rights are
fully implemented and impunity against violence and discrimination is stopped
further information please
DALIT SOLIDARITY NETWORK
Tel: 020 7501 8323 Email:
Registered Charity Number
Dalit Solidarity Network - UK Thomas Clarkson
House, The Stableyard Broomgrove Road, London SW9 9TL. Tel: +44 (0)20
The Hague Declaration on the Human Rightsand Dignity
of Dalit Women
The Hague, 21 November 2006
WE, the participants of the Hague Conference on Dalit Women âs Rights, held inThe Hague on 20 and 21 November 2006, after deliberating upon the issues ofDiscrimination, violence and impunity against Dalit women, adopt thisDeclaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women.
In South Asia that is, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
Dalits have endured discrimination based on work and descent for
centuries, and this discrimination continues today. The Dalits known
as untouchables or outcastes number around two hundred
and sixty million people in South Asia . On account of their caste,
they experience discrimination, social exclusion and violence on a
daily basis. Although economic growth in the region has been strong
over the past decade, caste disparities remain and are in fact
increasing. The situation of Dalit women in these countries needs
urgent and special attention. They constitute one of the largest
socially segregated groups anywhere in the world and face systemic and
structural discrimination thrice over: as Dalits, as women, and aspoor.
Systemic Discrimination, Violence and Impunity
caste system declares Dalit women to be intrinsically impure and
untouchable, therefore socially excluded. In class terms, the vast
majority of Dalit women are poor; many are landless daily wage
labourers who are systematically denied access to resources. As women,
they are subjugated by patriarchal structures. Due to this
intersectional discrimination, Dalit women are specifically targeted
for daily, egregious acts of violence, in particular for sexual
violence, including the Devadasi system of forced and ritualised
prostitution. On account of their â impure â caste and poverty,
Dalit women comprise the majority of manual scavengers, that is,
labourers who clean human excrement from dry toilets. When they assert
fundamental rights, Dalit women are targeted for punitive violence by
dominant castes. Due to patriarchal notions of community honor residing
in women, dominant caste violence against Dalit women functions to
punish the entire Dalit community and teach Dalits a lesson of
obedience to caste norms. Moreover, Dalit women are discriminated
against not only by dominant castes on account of their caste, class
and gender, but also by their own communities on account of their
gender. Dalit women have less power within the Dalit community in
When considering discrimination and violence against Dalit women, one can state that impunity is the key problem Dalit women face today â not only while seeking legal and judicial redress for violence,but also while attempting to access and enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms. Perpetratorsenjoy virtual immunity from prosecution for violence against Dalit women, as the police, whothemselves often harbor caste prejudices, willfully neglect to enforce the law. Not only the police, butperpetrators and their communities use their political, social and economic power to silence Dalitwomen, thereby denying them access to justice. The nature of collusion between state and dominant.
The Hague Declaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women
actors are such that the modern rule of law has no place in the
hierarchical order of socioeconomic and political power relationships,
as caste-based power supersedes state-derived executive authority.
Assertion by Dalit women
women today are not simply passive victims; the current mood is not one
of mere acceptance, but one of determination to â transform their
pain into power â. In fact, they have been active throughout history,
though often this has not been recognised and recorded. They have been
actively involved in the anti-caste and anti-Untouchability movements.
Today they are the strongholds of the Dalit movements in thousands of
South Asian villages, and are often at the forefront of struggles for
basic human rights. They continue to play a critical role in the
movements for land and livelihood rights and against Untouchability,
pointing to the potential for their self-emancipation, given adequate
are making their mark as independent thinkers and writers in the
literary world by critiquing dominant caste ideologies. They
participate today as visionary leaders in the local governance
institution by asserting their rights. While they continue to struggle
against structural discrimination and exclusion, violence and impunity
are systematically unleashed by dominant castes to keep them in their
recognising the gendered nature of caste discrimination for Dalit
women, these women have turned their â suffering â into one of â
resistance â, actively participating shoulder to shoulder with men in
their communities in the anti-caste and anti-Untouchability movements.
They have simultaneously contributed to the welfare of their families,
sustained their communities given their labour for producing food and
wealth for their countries. In this regard, Dalit women build their
identities on a culture of resistance against the hegemonic culture of
the caste system, expressing their defiance and revolt
the caste, class and gender discrimination that oppresses them. This
assertion of distinct identity and simultaneous forging of a collective
identity in multiple struggles marks the Dalit women s movement in
Human rights of Dalit women
countries where caste discrimination persists are party to most of the
relevant human rights instruments: the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights and treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). These
treaties provide equal rights for men and women. As these countries are
also party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), governments have a specific
obligation to make sure that women can realise their human rights. It
is generally accepted in international legal standards that governments
have to do more than just pass laws to protect human rights.
Governments have an obligation to take all measures, including policy
and budgetary measures, to make sure that women can fulfill and enjoy
their fundamental rights. Equally importantly, governments must implement these
laws, policy measures and programmes to fully discharge their
obligations under international law. This includes an obligation to
exercise due diligence in punishing those who engage in caste-based
discrimination and violence.
Millennium Development Goals and Dalit women
2000, one hundred and eighty-nine countries accepted the Millennium
Declaration and agreed to take the necessary action in order to attain
eight specific goals: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1. The
realisation of human rights of Dalit women will have a substantial
positive effect on the realisation of the MDGs. This is because Dalit
women are extremely poor, and make up two percent of the world âs
population. In India, for example, 60 million children do not attend primary school; a disproportionate number of these children are Dalit girls.
The MDGs are: 1) reduction of extreme poverty and hunger by half; 2)
primary education for all boys and girls; 3) gender equality and
empowerment of women; 4) reduction of child mortality by two-thirds; 5)
reduction of maternal mortality by three quarters; 6) combat HIV/aids,
malaria and other diseases; 7) clean drinking water and 100 million
slum dwellers above the poverty line; 8) more aid, fair trade, less
The Hague Declaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women
International Conference on Dalit Women âs Rights
the years Dalit women âs organisations and movements have
increasingly voiced their specific concerns and asserted their separate
identity, calling for solidarity from the International Community.
The Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing
in 1995 saw for the first time international recognition given to the
discrimination faced by Dalit women. Dalit women also played a crucial
role in the World Conference against Racism in South Africa
in 2001, where Dalit issues were brought to the fore of the
international attention. Following the National Conference on Violence
against Dalit Women in Delhi on 7 and 8 March 2006, Justitia et Pax
Netherlands, Cordaid, and CMC as members of the Dalit Network
Netherlands (DNN), in collaboration with the National Campaign on Dalit
Human Rights (NCDHR, India), the National Federation of Dalit Women
(India), the ALL India Dalit Women's Rights Forum (India), Feminist
Dalit Organisation (FEDO, Nepal), the International Dalit Solidarity
Network (IDSN) and other Dalit and Women âs rights organizations,
responded to the request of Dalit women and organised the International
Conference on the Human Rights of Dalit Women on 20 and 21 November
2006 in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Focus of international conference
class and gender discrimination prevents Dalit women from enjoying
their basic human rights, particularly to dignity, equality and
development. Atrocities and violence against Dalit women are both a
means of sustaining systemic discrimination, as well as a reaction when
particularly Untouchability practices and caste norms are challenged or
not adhered to. Impunity for this discrimination and violence is then
used as a means to preserve the existing caste and gender disparities.
Before Dalit women can enjoy their human rights, and before the
Millennium Development Goals can be achieved,
Discrimination, violence and impunity must stop.
we, the participants of The Hague Conference on Dalit Women âs
Rights, call upon the respective governments in Nepal, India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to take seriously the voices of Dalit women as
they explain their specific situation, to support them in asserting
their rights and to ensure Dalit women and girls are brought on par
with the general population in terms of overall development (e.g.
poverty reduction) within a period of five years. We call upon the
international community to undertake and support every possible measure
to fight the widespread discrimination, violence and impunity committed
against Dalit women.
Recommendations to the respective governments of Nepal , India , Pakistan , Bangladesh and
â˘ Disaggregate all criminal, economic, social and political data on the grounds of gender and caste.
â˘ Evolve and implement a comprehensive strategy to address impunity and ensure criminal justice for Dalit women.
Grant powers to make legally binding recommendations to relevant
National Human Rights Institutions to establish an independent
complaints and monitoring mechanism to address the discrimination and
violence against Dalit women.
â˘ Enact domestic violence (prevention and protection) laws that acknowledge the unique
Vulnerability of Dalit women, allocate adequate resources and ensure a comprehensive
monitoring mechanism with representation of Dalit women for effective implementation of these laws.
Provide support to establish informal organisations for Dalit women to
freely discuss the social, domestic and development issues in their own
community and to strengthen leadership within local governance
Mandate proportional representation of Dalit women elected into
parliaments, legislatures and local governance systems, including equal
distribution of other minority groups, such as Joginis/Badis
(India/Nepal) irrespective of their faith, and provide adequate budget
allocations in this regard.
The Hague Declaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit Women
Restore lands earmarked by governments for Dalits and register them in
the name of Dalit women or jointly with men, and also acquire and
distribute surplus lands by implementing and Reform Acts and distribute
lands to Dalits in proportion to their populations in each country.
Issue legal title to lands possessed and enjoyed by Dalit women and
men, in the name of Dalit women or jointly with men; grant each Dalit
family five acres of land registered in the name of Dalit women;
allocate and distribute sufficient budget for the purchase of land and
distribute to Dalit women; ensure payment of equal and living wage to
Dalit women without discrimination;
Ensure Dalit women enjoy equal access to and share of common property
resources, in particular water resources, and provide budgetary support
to create common property for their own.
Enact appropriate legislation to prevent displacement of Dalits and
alienation of their lands in the name of development projects and
schemes in the context of economic globalisation.
Eradicate the practice of manual scavenging and the jogini system and
enforce rehabilitation policies and programmes for their alternative
livelihood and sustenance.
â˘ Implement laws that prohibit bonded or forced labour.
â˘ Allocate sufficient budget for full primary and secondary level education of all Dalit girls,
including funds for staff in schools and infrastructure, and vocational institutions
â˘ Ensure reduction of pre-natal mortality, infant mortality and maternal mortality among Dalit women on a time-bound basis.
Provide assistance to launch a national campaign of caste sensitisation
and elimination of caste, class and gender discrimination.
Recommendations to the International Community, to the United Nations and the European
Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women and all other relevant UN Conventions;
regard to General Recommendation XXIX of the UN Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in particular to paragraphs 11-13;
regarded to and reinforcing the urgency of the ongoing UN study on a
Discrimination based on Work and Descent and the development of
Principles and Guidelines for the effective elimination of this form of
discrimination, we call upon:
international community to ensure that the large gap is closed, at the
latest by 2015, by achieving targets of the Millennium Development
Goals for the population in general and Dalit women and girls in
particular, through providing additional measures for Dalit women and
girls to realise their right to development on par with others.
United Nations Human Rights bodies and mechanisms, the United Nations
organizations, intergovernmental institutions and organizations, the
European Union, bilateral aid agencies and international
non-governmental organizations to give full recognition and effect to
the content and the recommendations of The Hague Conference on the
Rights of Dalit Women;
international community to express its outrage against the
caste-induced, systematic practice of Untouchability and atrocities
against Dalits in South Asia in general and against Dalit women in particular.
institutions and bodies to raise the issues and concerns of Dalit women
at all levels and to involve and introduce all necessary measures, and
to support and secure the implementation of the recommendations of this
Declaration with a sense of great urgency.
Human Rights Council to address the issue of Untouchability and
violence against Dalit women and men and the impunity related to caste
practices and discrimination.
ILO in its annual Global Reports on fundamental labour rights (no child
and no forced labour, non-discrimination in employment and the right to
association and collective bargaining) to highlight and propose
measures to fight the systematic violation of these fundamental rights
as far as Dalit women and girls are concerned.
National Media Secretary
NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON DALIT HUMAN RIGHTS (NCDHR)
Add: 8/1, South Patel Nagar, NEW DELHI- 110008 (INDIA)
on discrimination and violence against Dalit Women
Dalit women from South Asia are determined to "transform their pain into power". That was the main message of the two day international conference held in The Hague on the 20th and 21st
of November 2006. It was the first international conference to discuss
the issues of discrimination and violence against more than 100 million
Dalit women. In "The Hague Declaration on the Human Rights and Dignity of Dalit women" the participants urged the governments of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as the international community to support their struggle.
In South Asia,
Dalits known as "untouchables" and "outcastes" - have endured caste
discrimination for centuries. The situation of Dalit women, one of the
largest socially segregated groups in the world, is shocking. Dalit
women are among the poorest; they face âtriple discrimination, as
Dalits, as women and as poor. The caste system declares them
intrinsically impure and âuntouchableâ
and generally they are subjugated by men. Dalit women comprise the
majority of manual scavengers, labourers who clean human excrements
from dry toilets. Dalit women are targets of extreme violence,
including sexual assault and forced prostitution.
Violence and impunity In
the City Hall of The Hague Dalit women presented shocking and
heart-breaking testimonials about the violence perpetrated against them
and the impunity which followed. Authors of the study "Dalit women
Speak Out - Violence against Dalit women in India" presented their
findings of a three-year comprehensive study on forms, magnitude and
the systematic pattern of violence which is accompanied by equally
systematic patterns of impunity. The study revealed that only one
percent of perpetrators are convicted in courts.
sexual violence against Dalit women is not only systemic, but also
affects the majority of Dalit women. The study documents how rape,
murder, physical assault and humiliation of Dalit women are
intentionally used to maintain the oppression of the Dalit community by
the dominant castes. Impunity is the key problem that Dalit women face
today when they try to seek justice after violence is perpetrated
against them. As stated in the Hague Declaration: "Perpetrators enjoy
virtual immunity from prosecution as the police, who often harbour
caste prejudices, willfully neglect to enforce the law".
Often, Dalit women
have protested and resisted although that has not been recognised and
recorded. However, defiance is increasing. "Dalit women today are not
merely passive victims; the current mood seems to be not one of mere
acceptance, but determined to transform their pain into power", the
Hague Declaration empathically states.
The Hague Declaration In the Declaration the participants of the Hague conference call upon the governments of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
to support the women in asserting their rights. The governments are
called upon to address the failure of the justice system to protect
Dalit women and to implement measures to close the vast socio-economic
gap between Dalit women and the rest of the population. The
recommendations include: implementing an independent complaint
mechanism to address the atrocities against Dalit women; establishing
organisations to discuss social, domestic and development issues in
their community; taking strong measures to give land to Dalits, which
is to be registered in the name of Dalit women (or jointly with men);
eradicating practices of manual scavenging and the Devadasi system of
ritualised prostitution; allocating sufficient budget to full primary
and secondary education of all Dalit girls and ensuring the reduction
of pre-natal mortality, infant mortality and maternal mortality among
Dalit women. The participants also urge the governments in South Asia to launch national campaigns for the elimination of caste.
International community should act The
participants in the Hague Conference also call upon the international
community, including the UN human rights bodies, the UN organisations,
the EU, bilateral aid agencies and NGOs to act upon the recommendations
of the Hague Declaration. In particular they are asked to express their
outrage at the caste-induced systematic practices of untouchability and
atrocities against Dalit women. It also calls upon the international
community to ensure that, at the latest in 2015, the large
âdevelopment gapâ (e.g. in terms of poverty) is closed between
Dalit women and girls and the âgeneral population â. Finally, the
ILO is asked propose measures against the systematic violation of the
four fundamental labour rights where Dalit women and girls are
Following the National Conference on Violence Against Dalit Women in Delhi on 7 and 8th
March 2006, Justitia et Pax Netherlands, Cordaid and CMC in
collaboration with the Dalit Network Netherlands (DNN), the National
Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (India), the National Federation of
Dalit women, the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and
other Dalit and Women âs rights organizations responded to the
request of Dalit women and organized the International Conference on
the Human Rights of Dalit women on 20 and 21 of November 2006 in The
Hague, The Netherlands.
For further information please contact: Stephanie Joubert, Dalit Network Netherlands: +31 610753170 Paul Divakar, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights: +91 9910046813 Rikke NĂśhrlind, IDSN: + 45 29700630
DALIT SOLIDARITY NETWORKUK and Minority
Rights Group International
NEPALESE DALIT WOMEN SPEAK OF VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION
AT HOUSE OF COMMONS MEETING 28TH NOVEMBER 2006
Tuesday 28 November at an historic meeting in the House of Commons,
London , Nepalese Dalit Manju Badi, from an â untouchable â caste
branded as prostitutes, gave first hand testimony on the extent and
depth of the violence and discrimination Dalit women face in everyday
Nepalese life. Dalits are considered the lowest of the low in the
brutal caste system that rigidly divides South East Asian society.
There are approximately 1.2 million Dalit women in Nepal - around 12.3 percent of the female population.
Badi was abandoned after 12 years by the father of her three children.
He never told his family she existed and the couple lived apart. The
same thing happened to Manju âs mother before Manju was born. Now
Manju âs children face a life in poverty and without citizenship
rights because their higher caste father will not admit they are his.
Nepalese Dalit filmmaker Anita Pariyar screened her documentary on the lives of Dalit women in Nepal.
Nibha Singh, Nepali human rights activist, presented further evidence,
on how Dalit women are forced into child marriage, are blamed for bad
luck, have been forced to eat human faeces and that they suffer
exploitation and violence from â higher caste â men outside their
communities as well as domestic violence in their own homes. Dalit
children are consistently excluded from school and the community has
little or no recourse to social justice. As Manju âs experience
shows, they are affected generation after generation.
Durga Sob, President of the Feminist Dalit Organisation (FEDO) of Nepal
urged the British government and international community to support the
full participation of Dalit women in the political change sweeping Nepal
at this time and to ensure their representation and strong voice in the
new Constituent Assembly and political structures. She stressed the
need to ensure that Dalits without citizenship are able to freely
register as Nepali citizens in order to fully participate in the
upcoming election and cast their vote. Independent monitoring by the EU
or International community of the participation of Dalits in the
election is essential.
importantly the Dalit Women highlighted the action that all Nepalese
Dalit women are taking daily to change their own and the lives of their
communities, to secure a life free of discrimination in Nepal.
They call upon the Nepalese government to end caste and gender
discrimination in all spheres of public and private life and to ensure
that comprehensive laws to protect their rights are fully implemented
and impunity against violence and discrimination is stopped â now.
Seminar Report on Social Responsibility of Foreign Investors in South Asia
Sponsored by Amicus and Lloyds TSB, July 2006
DALIT SOLIDARITY NETWORK UK
Statement from Amicus
systematic discrimination of Dalits is a severe human rights violation.
The continued caste injustice suffered by millions both in India and the uk
remains an unacceptable reality in the lives of people considered
untouchables. We are proud to support the Dalit Solidarity Network UK in their campaign to end caste discrimination.
is with pride that Amicus has sponsored the seminar to launch the
Ambedkar Principles. Not only is it important that there is increased
awareness of the problems faced by the Dalit community, companies must
also address their responsibilities in preventing caste discrimination.
David Fleming, Amicus National Officer
Statement from Lloyds TSB
Dalit solidarity network UK
is seeking to fight caste discrimination via the adoption of the
Ambedkar Principles and I offer congratulations with respect to all the
efforts they have made to further the opportunities of those who are
deprived and discriminated against.
Richard Stockdale, CEO Lloyds TSB, India
OUR SPECIAL THANKS TO AMICUS AND LLOYDS TSB FOR SPONSORING
Rodney Bickerstaffe, former General Secretary of Unison and Trustee of DSN-UK 4-6
(5) Affirmative Action in German Business Enterprises in India
Walter Hahn, Dalit Solidarity in Germany
(6)A Business Perspective: Viewsofa Western CEOR aised in India 20-23
Richard Stockdale, CEO Lloyds TSB India
(7) A Parliamentary Perspective: Work on Caste Discrimination in the UK House of commons 2005/6 Rob Marris MP, Wolver Hampton South West and Member of Parliamentary Trade and Industry Select Committee
(8) Addressing Caste Discrimination in an International Context
Baroness Royall, Spokesperson for the Department for International Development in
the House of Lords 26-28
(9)Conclusion: The Way Forward29-30
David Haslam, Chair of Trustees, Dalit Solidarity Network UK
OUR SPECIAL THANKS GO TO PROFESSOR JOHN HARRIS AND CHRIS LEE FOR HELPING US ORGANISE THE SEMINAR AT THE LONDONSCHOOL OF ECONOMICS
The views and opinions expressed in this report are the authors own and may not reflect the vies and opinions of DSN-UK
Rodney Bickerstaffe, former General Secretary of UNISON and
Trustee of Dalit Solidarity Network-UK
The Dalit Solidarity Network (DSN-UK)
DSN-UK has been highly active in relation with government, companies,
INGOs, trade unions and churches since it was set up in 1998 by a
number of concerned individuals and organisations.It has grown in strength and is now well known for its advocacy on behalf of Dalit people in India and the other countries of South Asia
who suffer from untouchability & caste discrimination, and those
discriminated against by work and descent in other countries.
The name Dalit, drawn from the Marathi language, literally means crushed or broken, but more generally means oppressed people. It was a name that the Untouchables in India
took for themselves after rejecting the name Harijan and was greatly
popularised by the Dalit leader Jyotirao Phule and the Dalit Panther
Movement in Maharashtra, India.
DSN-UK uses the name Dalit in an inclusive manner to address all those who suffer from social exclusion based on caste, caste like practices and discrimination based on work and descent. This includes both the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes who are Indias most oppressed communities.
The scheduled castes are
the outcastes and are not part of the caste system. They are assigned
to occupations deemed too defiling for other castes such as manual
scavenging (cleaning dry toilets), sweeping, disposing of corpses,
skinning and tanning of animal hides, making footwear, digging graves
etc. They are thought of as polluted and polluting and therefore left
out of mainstream society.
scheduled tribes or indigenous people are ethnically different from the
scheduled castes and also suffer from untouchability. They are known as
Adivasis and are discriminated against on the basis of work and descent and not because of caste as the scheduled castes are.
Dalits find upward mobility impossible due to systematic discrimination at all levels.
Our colleagues particularly in India,
but also from other South Asian countries, now send us a constant
stream of information, via the internet, which details the ongoing
harassment, discrimination and violence against Dalits. This rather
makes a mockery of the fact that India received the highest number of votes in the election to the new UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.
has been negotiating for a seat on the UN Security Council for sometime
now. With the continued blatant abuse of Dalit human rights, we would
argue that India does not deserve a seat on the UN Security Council until it combats caste discrimination more actively.
Since DSN-UK has brought caste to wider attention, most government ministers and civil servants dealing with India
in DFID, the Foreign Office and the Department for Trade and Industry
are now aware of caste discrimination. We are pleased that Baroness
Royall presented DFIDs views at the seminar. Also, the recent report
of the Parliamentary Committee for Trade and Industry recommends that
the Government refers companies investing in India
to the Ambedkar Principles. This follows the example of the Dutch
Ministry of Economic Affairs in an advice booklet published in October
The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN)
The IDSN was formed in London in 1990 and has grown in strength and influence.It is currently based in Copenhagen, with two full-time staff and one intern.It has been extremely active in relation to the relevant UN bodies and agencies, the EU and other appropriate institutions.
IDSN remains active and effective due to the support and involvement of the Solidarity Networks in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, as well as the UK.Largely through IDSN's
campaigning, the UN Commission for Human Rights initiated a three-year
study on caste-based discrimination. IDSN will continue campaigning to
ensure that this study be completed under the auspices of the new Human
Our Private Sector Focus
There is an existing reservation policy in India,
which was introduced in 1947. This is confined to the State and
State-supported sectors that provide employment to only about 10% of
the working population. Since 90% of the jobs are in the private
sector, there has been a demand for a similar reservation policy for
the private sector too. Liberalisation has made the private sector a
more dynamic source of employment and growth while at the same time
large numbers of Dalits are in danger of becoming unemployed.
The debate on reservation in the private sector which entails a quota system is presently raging in India.
It is quite plausible that in the near future there will be legislation
in place to support this. This legislation might or might not directly
address foreign companies in India, but it will surely have an overall effect on the business community one way or the other.
discourse of merit versus social justice seems to have lost its bite
with companies recruiting by normal procedures not being so thrilled
with the merit of their non-Dalit candidates.
Dalits are beginning to assert that they are as capable to participate
in the private sector if only they are given opportunities to
demonstrate their abilities. DSN-UK along with IDSN felt that our work
should focus on motivating foreign investors to become conscious of
caste discrimination and expand the scope of their recruitment to
consciously include Dalits.
DSN-UK is proposing is a policy of positive or affirmative action which
is voluntary and which is both economically and socially a healthier
option. We feel that it would be prudent for companies not to
procrastinate and instead kick-start the transition to more inclusive
proposal is not based on a quota system which business feels will hurt
meritocracy but on a system of conscious inclusion. The Ambedkar
Principles suggest numerous ways in which the Dalit work force can be
strengthened to enable them to compete among equals.
Our work focuses on encouraging the private sector to become conscious of caste discrimination.We have been in dialogue with a number of British and other European companies investing in India.
After the first UK Seminar on the private sector in the autumn of 2004,
DSN-UK developed the Ambedkar Principles, drawing on race equality
principles developed in the UK and USA, international business and
human rights initiatives such as the Global Compact and the OECD
Guidelines, internationally agreed labour rights of the ILO and the
Sullivan Principles which were drawn up during apartheid in South
Africa. Comments were sought from the Dalit communities, the private
sector, unions and NGOs in order to develop a set of Principles that
would not ask of companies more than they could offer, but which would
be true to the grim reality of the caste system.
are named after Dr Ambedkar the Dalit leader who despite being from a
very poor background, obtained doctorates in law and economics from
Columbia University in the United States and the London School of
Economics (LSE). It is for this reason that the LSE graciously accepted
to host the seminar.
hope the launching of the Ambedkar Principles will pave the way for
more companies to use them as a guideline in formulating affirmative
actions that will address the challenging issue of caste discrimination
in a vigorous and effective manner. We also hope that this report will
become an important reference for those working against caste
discrimination in the private sector.
Rodney Bickerstaffe - Former General Secretary of UNISON and Trustee of Dalit Solidarity Network UK,
chairing the seminar as Baroness Royall - DFID representative in the
Lords, presents the governments initiatives regarding caste
THE AMBEDKAR PRINCIPLES AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT
Gerard Oonk, India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN)
caste discrimination in South Asia is permeating all aspects of life,
foreign investors often play a role in reinforcing caste
discrimination, even if not consciously. Their employment policies
might be biased against Dalits or might have a negative impact on
livelihoods of Dalits.
was with this in mind that in 2003, DSN-UK began to discuss the idea of
providing the private sector with a system by which they could address
caste discrimination. They took advice from NGO's, private sector representatives and trades unions and developed the set of Principles which were named after Dr Ambedkar.
In September 2004 the draft Principles were discussed at a seminar with representatives of unions, employers and investors in London.
This first version of the Ambedkar Principles dealt with employment
related issues, aimed at an active non-discrimination policy and
affirmative action to tackle the big gap between Dalits and non-Dalit
Based on the Ambedkar Principles, the Dalit Solidarity Networks in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands initiated the first discussions with companies operating in South Asia,
to persuade them to seriously examine their own relation to the caste
issue. The process was to include making an assessment of their
corporate impact on Dalits as well as formulating a policy and
implementing practices that would be beneficial rather than detrimental
During the International Consultation on Caste-Based Discrimination in Kathmandu from November 29-1 December 2004,
the role of the private sector and the Ambedkar Principles were
discussed by a broad range of stakeholders, including caste affected
groups, international agencies like the ILO, academics and NGOs. Based
on this input, an amended version was then sent around for comments to
a range of organizations. Between 18 and 19 October 2005 the new draft was discussed again at an international meeting of IDSN member organizations in the Hague, Netherlands.
new input came from Professor Sukhadeo Thorat from the Indian Institute
of Dalit studies (IIDS) and the National Campaign for Dalit Human
Rights (NCDHR), India.
They argued that the impact of companies on Dalits was not limited to
employment practices, but also related to land, capital, consumer goods
and product markets as well as supply contracts. The misappropriation
and exploitation of land and local resources to the detriment of
socially excluded local communities was highlighted as something that
companies should not in any way be involved in. Measures like
Dalit-inclusive charitable support to community programmes and support
for the teaching of English to Dalits were also recommended. It was
decided in the Hague to introduce additional principles into the Ambedkar Principles to address economic and social exclusion.
By the end of 2005 when the last comments were in, the The Ambedkar Principles: Employment
and Additional Principles on Economic and Social Exclusion Formulated
to Assist All Foreign Investors in South Asia to address caste
discriminationwere finalised and launched
formally at a seminar organised by the DSN-UK in London on July 20,
2006. The Dutch government now recommends Dutch companies operative in India to sign up to the Ambedkar Principles as an integral part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Ambedkar Principles were used as an important basis for the Dalit
Discrimination Check (DDC), a self-assessment tool for companies,
regarding their impact on Dalits. The DDC was developed by the Danish
Institute for Human Rights and the International Dalit Solidarity
While the Ambedkar Principles are voluntary, there is at the moment a big debate in India
about the need for compulsory reservation of jobs in the private
sector. Most corporate houses and organizations like the Confederation
of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry (FICCI) are against mandatory quotas, but Dalit
organizations are strongly in favour. The government is still
considering its options.
everybody agrees that Dalits should be getting more opportunities in
the labour market of the organized sector of the economy. The
Ambedkar Principles are meant to achieve this and more. Forced by law
or not, foreign companies operating in India if they want to be
considered as socially responsible - cannot afford to behave in a way
that is detrimental to Dalits and other economically and socially
excluded or exploited groups. They cannot continue to deny them the
opportunities that many other people in India increasingly have.
Left: Richard Stockdale - CEO Lloyds India, C Gautam - General
Secretary of Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations
(FABO), Singh Bahal - Backward and Minorities Communities Employees
Federation (BAMCEF), Marc Willers - Barrister, Rob Marris MP - Member
of Parliamentary Trade and Industry Select Committee and Trustee of
The IndianState has been constitutionally empowered to promote
with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker
sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. The State has used a two-fold strategy to achieve this aim:
1.By providing legal and constitutional safeguards against discrimination
Reservation policy in the State and State-supported sectors
There has been a significant increase in the number of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) government employees since the inception of the reservation policy but this is for a population
of over 250 million Dalits (167 million SC and 86 million ST in 2001)
who form a quarter of Indias over one billion population.
Government employment under reservation
National Commission for SC and ST and Annual report of Department of Personnel, India
Percentage share in government employment
2005, Working paper: Persistent Poverty Why SC and ST stay
chronically poor, Department for International Development (DFID), UK
Employment under reservation in public sector undertakings
2005, Working paper: Persistent Poverty Why SC and ST stay
chronically poor, Department for International Development (DFID), UK
Percentage share in public sector undertakings
2005, Working paper: Persistent Poverty Why SC and ST stay
chronically poor, Department for International Development (DFID), UK
Percentage share of employees in public sector banks
National Commission for SC and ST, India
the reservation policy does not extend to the private sector, which in
relation to the State and State-supported sectors is a big player.
According to a recent survey by the Indian Government, 76% of the
workforce is engaged in the private sector and only 24% is employed in
the State and State-supported sectors.
Set against this fact is the looming danger of the State and
State-supported sectors shrinking while the private sector further
the importance of the private sector job market, the Indian Government
has set up a Group of Ministers in 2005 to develop an Affirmative
Action Policy for the private sector. Be it in India or the UK,
affirmative action is unlikely to take place voluntarily and
legislation will be needed to support such a policy. Public awareness
and civil society action need to ensure implementation of any
affirmative action policy in the private sector. Key civil society
actors should also be involved in the monitoring of this policy
implementation. All these measures will have to happen both in India and in the companies countries of origin.
Foreign investment is high and on the increase in India as it is perceived to be a stable country with a high growth rate. Economically, India is a happening country.But
it is important to point out that the country is socially so backward
that every institution, modern and old, is entrenched in the caste
rigid examination system, systematic limitation of entry, various forms
of discrimination linked to caste and limited educational
opportunities, has limited the field of recruitment.
Even a company or institution which claims to be non discriminatory,
inadvertently gets co-opted into the morass of caste and class that
still forms the bulwark of Modern India.
believes that it is crucial to continue highlighting this danger
internationally. We hope that in the future, institutions will become
culturally sensitive to the ramifications of caste in peoples lives and
adapt their policies to suit a plan of affirmative action that can
successfully and efficiently deal with the issue of caste
discrimination. In view of this, we organised a seminar for the purpose of:
raising the issue of caste discrimination among companies, banks,
government departments, unions, NGOs and academic institutions and
b)To launch and promote the Ambedkar Principles for employment, economic and social rights
Expected Outcomes of the Seminar
awareness of caste discrimination among companies, banks, government
departments, unions, NGOs and academic institutions
Ambedkar Principle will begin to be used by companies, banks,
government departments, unions, NGOs and academic institutions to
develop affirmative action policies that will address the issue of
The Ambedkar Principles might contribute to future supportive legislation in the UK and in other countries
at the seminar were from the business and NGO sectors, government,
unions, community representatives, academics, and research scholars.
All the presentations and discussions were lively and from a wide
spectrum of thought and experience. The experience of viewing the film I am Dalit, How are you?
which was produced by the International Dalit Solidarity Network,
helped participants to understand the harsh realities of being a Dalit
in India today.
business perspective was presented by Richard Stockdale, CEO Lloyds TSB
India, and stressed on the importance of education for Dalits as a way
out of poverty and discrimination. He also proposed emotional
intelligence as a part of the curriculum and championed the development
of new educational plans along these lines.
Government view which was presented by Baroness Royall, DFID
spokesperson in the House of Lords, further reiterated the importance
of education.She emphasised the UK Governments
commitment to this cause and drew our attention to the large amount of
funds that the UK government had directed towards the Sarv Shiksha
educational plan in India which is a bid by both governments to
increase educational opportunities for Dalit children and to counter
the economic reasons for the high drop-out rate among them.
his presentation, Professor John Harriss, London School of Economics,
felt that it was crucial to go beyond just education. He was basing
this opinion on a very personal and first-hand experience of Dalit
rural realities that spanned over 20 years. His example of a Dalit
village which had a school earlier than another caste village, but
still had very few educated Dalits, was a stark reminder to all of us
that caste discrimination needs to be combated at various levels.
Professor Harriss was of the strong opinion that educational
interventions need to be supported by investment in non-agricultural
rural activities which will bolster and simultaneously strengthen the
local economy, thereby encouraging and enabling parents to send
children to school instead of out to work.
Haslam, Chair of Trustees DSN-UK, Walter Hahn from the German Dalit
Solidarity Platform and Rob Marris MP, Wolverhampton South West and
Trustee of DSN-UK all spoke of the importance of networking and the
need for lobbying on Dalit issues in Europe and in the UK. They gave us
an update of the achievements and developments in Parliament and the
Solidarity Networks and the progress they had made in awareness raising
on caste discrimination. David also briefly spoke about future plans
and suggested numerous venues of cooperation between the private sector
Busck, Danish Institute for Human Rights introduced the group to the
Dalit Discrimination Check (DDC) that has been developed by her
organisation and urged the companies which were represented to
participate in testing it. The companies also had an opportunity to
interact with her after the seminar in a specially organised meeting.
Here they were able to further clarify their thoughts about the DDC and
develop a better understanding of the required procedures.
seminar is just a small step forward in the struggle against caste
discrimination. Governments, companies, unions and institutions are
becoming aware of the enormity of the manifestations of the caste
system and this in itself is already progress. However, there is still
a very long way to go in terms of policy.
The Ambedkar statue today is a symbol of Dalit political mobilization.It
is very often one of the first outward symbols that will appear in a
Dalit village which believes itself to be a political entity. It
remains a symbol of Dalit Power. It is no wonder that it is also the
first target in inter-caste discord and is very often desecrated with
human excreta, cow dung or even a garland of old slippers! Therefore
the necessity for Ambedkar to be under lock and key, almost 60 years
after Indian independence! (Photo: James Smith)
HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF COMPANIES
Marie Busck, Danish Institute for Human Rights
companies today question their responsibilities regarding the
environment or health and safety at the workplace. Human rights on the
other hand, have traditionally been seen as a political issue with
governments as the greatest potential violators of rights, but also as
the entities with the responsibility to protect and promote the same
rights. For that reason, human rights have, until recently, been
downplayed in the debate on corporate social responsibility (CSR).
perspective change forever with a number of high-profile cases during
the 1990s, in which companies suddenly became embroiled in complex
human rights issues. Oil companies, for example, have been accused of complicity in human rights violations in Africa and Latin America, and companies in the clothing industry which have outsourced their production to Asia, have been criticised for the poor working conditions of their suppliers. Companies
responded to activists pressure and the media coverage and started to
include a reference to human rights in their codes of conduct or
general business principles. However, while there may be a dawning
recognition of the importance of human rights, companies are still
confused about what their responsibilities actually are, and how they
should go about implementing a systematic policy in this area.
The Human Rights and Business Project (HR&B Project)
HR&B Project was established in 1999 as cooperation between the
Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), the Danish Confederation of
Industries (DI) and the Danish Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries (IFU),
to address the challenge of making human rights operational in a
company context. The project represents a rather unique example of the business and human rights communities working together.The main research is carried out by DIHR, while DI and IFU offer the business perspective to the research.
three founding organisations meet once every 3 months to discuss
project activities, examine ongoing activities and to plan for the
future. This coalition helps DIHR secure regular updated information
from the companies even on a daily basis and ensures that the work of
the HR&B Project remains dynamic and relevant to the needs of business. Lately the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions and Danish International Development Assistance (Danida) have also joined the Board.
HR&B Project strives to combine the expertise of the human rights
research community with the experience of business in order to develop
concrete achievable human rights standards for companies, and to help
companies live up to those standards in practice through training and
advisory services.One of the main activities of the
HR&B Project is the development of practical and operational tools
for the implementation of human rights in a business context. This
includes country risk assessments, decision maps, issue papers, and the
Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA).
Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA)
The HRCA is the key tool produced by the HR&B Project and has been developed over a period of 6 years, involving more than 100 human rights experts, NGOs and companies. It is
a diagnostic tool designed to help companies detect potential human
rights violations caused by the effect of their operations on
employees, local residents and other stakeholders. The HRCA is intended
to help companies systematically address human rights and avoid
entire tool runs a database containing more than 350 questions and 1400
corresponding indicators, developed from the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the 1966 Dual Covenants, and over 80 other major human rights treaties and conventions. The HRCA is designed as an interactive computer programme that allows the company to select the relevant questions and tailor the HRCA to their needs.
HRCA furthermore constitutes a database on which more specialised
checks can be developed, focusing on a specific issue or country. This
specialisation will often take place through the development of a
Country Risk Assessment (CRA) with the cooperation of NGOs that
specialise in certain human rights issues.
The Dalit Discrimination Check (DDC)
In 2005 the HR&B Project conducted a country risk assessment on India. The objective of the India country risk assessment was to identify the main human rights risk areas from a corporate perspective. The risk assessment showed that caste-based
discrimination constitutes a wide-ranging human rights problem, which
affects the lives of over 250 million people in India and that companies are at great risk of violating the human rights of Dalits when operating in or sourcing from India.
Even though the Indian government has introduced formal protections by
law, caste discrimination remains endemic and is accompanied by strong
patterns of impunity.
The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) commented on the India
country risk assessment and subsequently DIHR and IDSN decided to
engage in a partnership with the aim of developing a specialised
version of the HRCA that specifically addresses the issue of caste
discrimination. The purpose is to provide a practical caste discrimination tool that will help companies which operate in India or source from India to avoid engaging in discriminatory and abusive acts against Dalits, directly or indirectly. The specialised Dalit Discrimination Check (DDC) will
be accompanied by a set of explanatory guidelines on how to confront
caste discrimination and how to use the DDC. Finally, the process will
include the organising of a workshop where the DDC will be formally
The DDC will be designed to serve
as a support tool for companies that have signed up to the Ambedkar
Principles or in other ways obliged themselves to conduct business in a
responsible manner. The DDC will deal with Dalit discrimination in the
companys own practices as well as in the supply chain. It contains
approximately 25 questions in the following categories:
Employment Practices: deals with the rights of the individuals employed by the company or seeking employment within the company
Operational Practices: deals with the rights of the individuals employed by the company or seeking employment within the company
Utilities and Services: deals with the
rights of individuals using essential goods and services which are
provided by the company, such as educational, housing, and medical
Supply Chain: deals with supply chain issues
draft DDC is now ready for testing. The consultation and testing
process will be carried out in the autumn of 2006 and will involve a
number of European companies which operate in India. The final DDC will be launched by the end of 2006.
Procedure for Participation
that have accepted the invitation to participate in the consultation
and testing process will be asked to register as users to the DDC and
thereby will be provided with a password that gives them access to the
programme. The tool comprises of the following:
1.The Dalit Discrimination Check (DDC)
This is the heart of the tool and it contains approximately 25
questions. Each question is supported by an explanatory paragraph
specifying why it is an area that the company should pay attention to.
A list of suggested indicators is provided to help guide the user in
determining whether or not the company is in compliance and how to
answer the overall question. The section is divided into two parts; one
that specifically focuses on the discrimination issue and one that more
broadly focuses on supply chain management and deals with issues such
as child, forced and bonded labour all being areas that particularly
2.Briefing note on caste discrimination
This section provides an introduction to the DDC and the complexities
embedded in caste discrimination. It also addresses the reasons and
importance for companies operating in India to tackle caste discrimination.
3.Users Guide This section provides a practical instruction on how to use the computerized version of the DDC.
4.Suggestions for promotional activitiesThis
section does not directly form a part of the DDC. It has suggestions
for how the company can promote and support the human rights of Dalits
within their sphere of influence.
testing the DDC, companies are asked to make a general review of the
information provided in the sections above, focusing in particular on
ˇAre the questions and indicators in the Dalit Discrimination Check clear, concise and comprehensible?
ˇDo you find the questions and indicators reasonable and relevant?
ˇWhere do you think the greatest challenges are for following the standards in the DDC?
ˇAre there any issues that need to be covered more substantially?
ˇIs the briefing note on caste discrimination clear, concise and comprehensible?
the briefing note provide you with a good understanding of the
complexities involving caste discrimination and how a company should
approach the issue?
ˇDoes the users guide provide you with adequate instruction on how to use the DDC?
running the DDC in the computerized version, companies are also asked
to consider the functionality and the features of the computer
programme such as:
ˇDo you find the structure and features of the computer programme clear and useful?
ˇShould additional functionalities/features be added?
aim is to develop a practical, effective and user-friendly tool for
companies, and any input and suggestions for improvement will be highly
to the consultation and testing process, a meeting will be scheduled
where the participants will meet with a representative from the Human
Rights & Business Project and the International Dalit Solidarity
Network or a relevant national Dalit Solidarity Network. The purpose of
this meeting is to discuss the testing process and the feedback from
we have met with all companies and received all the feedback from the
company testing and consultation, the input will be incorporated into
the DDC and it will then be finalised. The DDC will be launched at a
workshop by the end of 2006. Companies that have participated in the
consultation and testing process are invited to participate in the
workshop and present their experiences from using the DDC.
completion the DDC will be freely available for companies and others to
use. Further information about the DDC and HR&B Project can be
found at: http://www.humanrightsbusiness.org
right: Walter Hahn - Dalit Solidarity in Germany, Professor John
Harriss - London School of Economics, Savio Mahimaidass - National
Campaign for Dalit Human Rights and Marie Busck - Danish Institute for
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN GERMAN BUSINESS ENTERPRISES IN INDIA
Walter Hahn, Dalit Solidarity in Germany (DSiD)
India is now experiencing an economic boom and for Dalits to benefit, the existing public sector quota-system should
be extended to the private sector, thus securing at least some of the
jobs, which are now at risk. By doing so, Trans National Corporations
(TNCs) and medium & small companies will send out a message that
they too believe in equality and equal opportunities for all.
reservation policy for employment as affirmative action in the private
sector could become an important instrument to enable the participation
of Dalits in the Indian economy and thereby help themintegrate
into society. Private companies should have social responsibility and
help Dalits to overcome both their poverty and the stigma of not being
full members of society.
is insufficient to just set up and fulfil quotas based on the
percentage of Dalits in the general population. It becomes necessary to
initiate additional measures to integrate Dalits and improve their
chances to compete in the private sector, e.g. to train and promote
them to higher positions so they can fulfil their roles with full
competency and efficiency.
Advocacy with German companies operating in India
In view of this Dalit Solidarity in Germany (DSiD) wrote to 33 large and medium sized
German, Austrian and Swiss (German speaking) companies in December
2004. All these companies had already signed the Global Compact and
have growing investments in India (subsidiaries, branches, joint ventures).
letter described the problem of caste-based discrimination of Dalits in
Indian society and how present economic trends threaten any role that
they might play in the private sector.DSiD asked the
business enterprises their views and enquired if they would be prepared
to voluntarily adopt reservation in their employment policies. The
letter also asked for suggestions and ideas for alternative affirmative
actions that would tackle the issue of caste discrimination e.g.
scholarship programmes for children of staff, support of schools,
establishing nurseries within the company etc.
purpose of this inquiry was to get a sense of what companies think
about caste discrimination, their willingness to adopt affirmative
action, and any ideas they might have for increasing the number of
General responses to the letter:
few companies responded immediately but after 4 reminders, 32 of the 33
had responded, showing that most companies tried to avoid the issue for
as long as possible.
ˇThe responses in all cases were from senior management, e.g. Personnel manager or CEO.
of the companies could provide disaggregated data on the caste
composition of their employees. They claimed that caste was not an
issue in recruitment. They also said that caste was not recorded during
any stage of the recruitment process.
The responses of the companies can be divided into four categories:
companies rejected the suggestion of affirmative action for reasons of
cost, or/and lack of interest. Unaxis, a Swiss company, indicated that
they already support some downtrodden groups and marginalized schools.
However the company is presently financially unstable and has had to
ŘAll five can be characterised as middle or smaller business enterprises (Hako, Faber-Castell, Lappgroup, Suessen and Unaxis).
Open attitude but holding Indian partners responsible
companies indicated agreement with the idea of affirmative action in
principle. Amongst them were Allianz, Bosch, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche
Bank, Lufthansa, Henkel, Novartis and some smaller companies.
ŘMost explained that they do not have the competence or authority regarding the employment policies of their partners in India. It is the Indian company that is responsible for the recruitment of employees.
additional reason given for non-interference in employment policies is
that Indian partners are more familiar with local and cultural
conditions. They felt this task should be handled by their Indian
companies (Allianz, Bosch, DaimlerChrysler, Henkel and Otto) stated
they had an anti-discriminatory policy and that they do not
discriminate by nationality, race, sex or religion and therefore caste.This
is their worldwide policy. They maintain recruitment only on the basis
of qualification and performance. They were hesitant about positive
discrimination. DSiD is still pursuing the dialogue with these
companies (Allianz, Deutsche Bank, DaimlerChrysler, Bosch, Henkel,
Klüber, and Würth) gave DSiD the contact details of their Indian
colleagues.The Coordinator of DSiD visited 4 of them at
the beginning of 2006. He met with the CEO and/or Chief personnel
officer of Bajaj Allianz, Daimler Chrysler, Bosch and Klüber. Below is
the outcome of the discussions.
remained sceptical about reservation in employment from their own
experience, though they expressed sympathy and concern for the
situation of the Dalits and recognised the need to help them.
oThey wanted to support schools or vocational training institutions and wanted DSiD to be involved in these efforts.
idea of special coaching and promotion schemes to enable more Dalits
to be employed was rejected on the basis that trade unions will not
allow such a form of positive discrimination.
companies were open to the suggestion that a small study on the caste
composition of the staff should be carried out. DSiD is organising
this. Discussions will resume based on its findings.
ŘKlüber (specialist in high-performance lubricants a small company with a staff of around 200 persons) explained that they have had a policy of reservation in employment for some time.
ŘTÜV Rheinland (around 50 staff) is open to the idea and would like to implement a reservation policy.
Adhering to legal regulations
companies indicated that they dont want to endorse a policy of
reservation in employment at present, as there is a heated debate going
on in India.
They support the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and if
reservation becomes a legal requirement, they will willingly adopt it.
are now sending the Ambedkar Principles to many more companies in an
effort to initiate a dialogue with a wider section of private sector
ˇWe are also trying to get 2 or 3 of the more willing companies to undergo the Dalit Discrimination Check.
Multi-storey buildings tower over shanty slums in Indias capital city Delhi (Photo: Nidhi Sadana)
A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE
THOUGHTS FROM A WESTERN CEO, RAISED IN INDIA
Richard Stockdale, CEO Lloyds TSB , India
This seminar seeks to improve the conditions of the outcastes and ethnic groups within India,
collectively called as Dalits. In that respect the aims of the seminar
are in particular to influence private sector investors and employers
in India to adopt policies which give Dalits more opportunities to raise themselves and enhance their future prospects.
Caste Discrimination its nature and its challenge
is a major sovereign and nuclear power, with the largest active
democracy in the world, populated by many millions of educated and
astute citizens. The dichotomy is however that whilst Indias
main institutions are well developed, there are still large areas of
underdeveloped backwaters, particularly within rural communities, where
notable progress has not been felt and where caste discrimination is
discrimination is certainly not an issue lost on the Indian nation
itself, with clauses included in the Indian constitution regarding the
abolition of untouchability. Whilst the overall issue of educational
and private sector reservations in India is a hot and divisive topic,
with sides well defined and for the most part vociferous, this
recognition of caste injustice is well repeated across India and indeed
in July 2006, in connection with a ruling on inter-caste marriages, a
Justice of the Supreme Court of India, stated inter-caste marriages
were in fact in the national interest as they could be a potent weapon
to destroy the caste system, which is a curse of the nation.
there are few in India in positions of real authority who would wish to
actively defend the institution of the caste system, the system exists,
entrenched in whole segments of Indian society, particularly in rural
areas, where it has been embedded since the advent of Hindu mythology
its mythological and religious inception the caste system was meant to
be a community team effort, with different castes complimenting each
others efforts, rather than a discriminatory DDC, which sadly, and
perhaps not surprisingly given human psychology, it has subsequently developed into.
particularly sobering fact is that the Dalit segment of Indian society
equals some 25% of the population. Given the Indian population
represents approximately 20% of world population, then the Dalit
population of India equals 5% of the total population of the planet.Hence it is important to always have a long term perspective.
of the ills that the caste system produces has only existed for a tiny
fraction of the period that the caste system itself has existed, and
the technological progress of India
over the past few decades has made this focus ever more imperative.
This major time mismatch, combined with the fact that India is a
federation of many essentially conservative cultures, serves to impress
upon us the necessary delicacy of touch and action that must be applied
in any strategies to dissolve the impact of the caste system, without
risking the shredding of Indian societal values and upsetting the
sensitive balance of Indian politics.
complexity of the task is further exemplified by the fact that within
any grouping as huge in number as the Dalit community, there has
inevitably developed cases of active discrimination within Dalit
sub-groups, quite apart from the scattered cases of Dalit
discriminations against non-Dalits. However isolated these cases are,
they need to be recognised. This realism should
not stall or sour efforts to tackle Dalit issues, but it should compel
us to ensure that we understand the full spectrum of the issues and not
be surprised by any eventuality.
Generally, if Dalit Solidarity Network UK
(DSN-UK), its friends and its supporters are to make the necessary
headway in achieving their goals, then in my view they must incorporate
but also look well beyond the central stream approach of the Ambedkar
Principles and into a range of multi-strategic solutions, integrated
and executed well over a two or three generation timescale.
should not allow ourselves to almost exclusively focus in any one area
of mitigating action. But rather we must develop programmes that reach
holistically into the heart of the Dalit community and engage Dalit and
society issues, separately and in combination, across their broad
holistic strategy around creation of sustainable self-generating
opportunity has to be the key. The need is to be able to place in the
hands of the Dalit community this key which they then use to develop
themselves, to unlock their potential and thus to enhance their
position on an ongoing basis.
lasting change must be driven by more than top-down Supreme Court
judgements. It must emanate from a cross societal acknowledgement of
the issue and the need for correction, vibrantly driving change both
from top-down and bottom-up, until there is a confluence of both.
create this twin dynamism, the imperative is to focus on the
empowerment of Dalits through quality education. The essence of the
Ambedkar Principles acknowledges this, but can a relative handful of
educational institute and private sector reservations alter the
fundamental balance of opportunity for 5% of the planets population?
right of access for all Indian citizens to educational institutions
maintained by the State is enshrined within the Indian constitution.
However, given the levels of illiteracy in certain areas of India
almost 60 years into independence, there has to be a question over the
ability of families in deprived areas to commit the resource of their
children to an educational process which is often not of a type which
they discern will add value for them in their daily lives.
issue has to be addressed through ever more robust education, delivered
in a consistently reliable manner, with specific focus on the teaching
of English reading and writing skills. English, given the nature of its
international gateway, is a sound conduit to commercial advantage in India. Plus, computer skills and literacy software programmes, transmitted in a mix of English and regional languages and dialect.
are a range of Indian-owned companies doing excellent work in the child
and adult literacy field, some using traditional teaching routes and
some focusing on bespoke software tools. It is possible that some of
these companies may be willing to act as Indian Champions and as
action conduits for the Dalit Movement, as it expands its efforts at
support these Indian Champions, it could be appropriate for the
International Dalit Solidarity Network to look at promoting the
twinning of schools in the base countries from which Dalit Solidarity
Networks operate, with Indian State schools in Dalit or deprived areas,
to seek to generate partnership, support, funding and inspiration to
maintain the issues of Dalit and deprived sector education among public
given that Dalit minds and IQ represent 25% of Indias total IQ
resource and that we know that IQ is set at birth and is unchangeable,
there has to be a case for a focus in Dalit and deprived area State
schools on the systematic and committed teaching of a powerful personal
development DDC, known as Emotional Intelligence (EI).
unlike IQ can be entirely taught and positively and actively develops
the individual personality for self good and the good of society. This
tool, only really developed within the past 15 years, is already well
entrenched with many Trans National Corporations human
resource development programmes and is starting to be recognised in
India, where two seminars have already been held on the subject in
Bangalore and Mumbai during June 2006 and a further seminar is to take
place in Delhi in September 2006.
teaches how to understand the agenda of others, engage with people,
assign priorities and seek routes to achievement. It can enthuse a
person to understand how to succeed and encourage the desire to do so.
To no longer unquestionably accept the vagaries of existence, but to
understand how to motivate and to strive competitively to better
additional benefit is that EI has as a central core, the appreciation
and inclusion of the agendas of others. This in itself is a powerful
tool in the lowering of corrupt tendencies and discrimination. EI is
entirely teachable and in illustrative terms, if the IQ is the car
engine, the body is the person and wheels are the progress through
life, EI would represent the drive shaft, optimising the transition of
energy into progress.
one suggestion I would make is that DSN-UK should be encouraged to
reinforce its Ambedkar Principles with a concentrated effort to engage
Federal and State Governments to implement a structure of teaching EI
to Dalit and deprived children across junior schools. This could take
place first at the age of 7 when children are increasingly cognisant,
but still absorbing ideas and influences fast, again at 10 when their
life principles are solidifying and again at 14, as most leave school
and make life choices, however limited these may be at present.
the Dalit and deprived focus of the exercise, these schools will be
almost exclusively State schools and within the remit of State
Governments, who generally exercise tight control of their syllabi.
These Authorities will need to buy into the concept. For this,
realistically, DSN-UK would require the efforts of senior and respected
Champions within India. Also, most international companies operating in India
and most top-flight Indian companies have vibrant corporate social
responsibility (CSR) schemes and a willingness to assist with funds,
time and organisation.
funding will produce training resources, for teachers themselves to be
soundly taught the principles of EI, in order for them to pass on this
knowledge to their students and also allow for proper checks &
balances and inspections to ensure governance around the EI teaching
We must avoid the temptation to focus on a quick-fix solution or to stifle the meritocraticly driven efforts of corporate India,
as it seeks to compete in a global market. It would be counter
productive for the overall Indian proposition and would be likely to be
rejected by most mainstream international Indian business houses. MNCs
must be good corporate citizens, but it is hardly realistic to expect
them as commercial concerns answerable to shareholders, to disregard
the Dalit community should expect to receive the kind of assistance
that will enable it to grow into a self-sustaining and widely
participating bloc of wealth and value creation, within the greater
There is already an economic and demographic trend in India
where large numbers are progressively being elevated into a more
affluent grouping. The question is how many of these are Dalits; the
realistic answer is probably as yet, few.
am no economist, but intuitively and in addition morally, I know that
this should concern us. Again admitting my non-economic background it
seems to me that in a cyclical manner, if this phenomenon continues it
will eventually include the Dalit bloc. But when and how many?
Raising Morale - Sport:
Sport is one possible way of achieving the raising of morale and demonstrating oneness within India.
The Dalit community, by and large, is physically tough, used to
rigorous physical labour as is necessary in, say the world of
athletics. A sobering thought is that, with a population of 25% of the
planets humanity, in the last Olympics India achieved only one silver
Is this adequate focus on the use of available human resources?
Did anyone focus on training Dalit athletes, or has this been thought a natural preserve of the higher castes?
It is worth reflecting on the experiences of Kenya and the manner in which some in the farming community have raised Kenyas international prestige, with stunning middle and long-distance running abilities
wish is not to prescriptively focus on any short comings in the
Ambedkar Principles, which would be unworthy, self-defeatingly negative
and entirely inappropriate, or to focus on just one or two big ideas,
but rather to present my view that empowerment and advantage of Dalits
is best achieved by a medium to long-term holistic approach, engaging
all available resources, internationally and within India.
has a real role to play in assisting India to engage in a programme
which India, from its constitutional base and demonstrated by its
recent Supreme Court judgement is already fully aware that it has to
I see it, the greatest gift that DSN-UK can give to the Scheduled
Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes of India is to act
as a lightning rod for change. But this will require DSN-UK to engage
in a complex programme requiring time, organisation, government
co-operation, tenacity, inspiration, patience, forbearance and finding.
But if there is no appetite for such an endeavour, why are we here at all? I believe that Dalit Solidarity Network UK given their determination to date, is fully up for such a challenge and I wish them well as the task is faced.
A PARLIAMENTARY PERSPECTIVE
WORK ON CASTE DISCRIMINATION IN THE UK HOUSE OF COMMONS 2005/6
Rob Marris MP, Wolverhampton South West, Member of Parliamentary Trade and Industry Select Committee and Trustee of DSN-UK
Corbyn, the energetic MP for Islington North, London, and now the Chair
of DSN-UK, despite the many other demands on his time, has been doing a
large amount of work on the issue of casteism. As a new Trustee of
DSN-UK, I have tried to assist.
We continue to be inspired both by the courageous resistance of Dalits themselves and by the hard work done in the UK and other countries to try to abolish this unacceptable oppression.
Both of us are the only two UK Members of Parliament who consistently devote time to the issue so far.Nevertheless, we remain optimistic that we shall attract a few more MPs, as word gets out.
Early Day Motions are a way for backbench MPs to show the government their feelings on issues of importance.On 20 July 2005, Jeremy tabled EDM 648, which stated:
this House welcomes the three-year study on caste discrimination agreed
by the UN Human Rights Commission in April 2005; notes the concerns
expressed in recent International Development Committee and Department
for International Development (DFID) Reports about the continuing
threats and violence against Dalits resisting caste discrimination;
urges the Foreign Office and DFID actively to support the UN study,
including financially if necessary, and to work vigorously in the EU
and beyond to end discrimination by work and descent; and further urges
the Department of Trade and Industry to encourage all UK companies
operating in India to adopt the Ambedkar Employment Principles aimed at
overcoming suchdiscrimination in India and elsewhere.
are grateful to those MPs who have signed but there are only 27,
which show just how far we have to go to explain, and to build support.
Then, on 22 November 2006, Jeremy led a 90 minute debate in Parliament, on Caste Discrimination Overseas:the UK Governments Policy.Several MPs
participated in this debate, to which the then Foreign Office Minister
Douglas Alexander responded with a number of commitments.
I am on the Parliamentary Select Committee responsible for scrutinising the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI).On 22 June 2006 we published our report on Trade and Investment Opportunities with India.Part of our research for that report involved a visit to India.When there, I questioned business leaders about casteism.Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, they were tight-lipped. However, the questions did have two benefits:firstly, asking the questions shows that outsiders are watching what is going on in that vast country.Secondly, the other UK MPs on the Select Committee had their eyes opened to the scale of the problem.
I was delighted that the Committee agreed to include the following in our report:
97. A particular difficulty of the market in India is the issue of caste. This is an age-old system built on discrimination based on work or descent. It persists widely in India today. Historically, there have been four main castes in India, plus the Harijans (formerly known as 'untouchables'). Pursuant to the Constitution of India, they are formally referred to as 'Scheduled Castes'. They are about 17 per cent of the population of India. In addition, there are 'Adivasis': that is, individuals who are ethnically distinct, as indigenous peoples. They are formally referred to as 'Scheduled Tribes'. They are about eight per cent of the population of India. Together, these two groups are often today called both SCs and STs', or 'Dalits' (literally, the oppressed). Despite legislation, and provisions in the constitution of India, outlawing caste discrimination, both groups still face tremendous discrimination.
We recommend that UK companies operating in India should be careful not
to break the letter or spirit of these laws and preferably, they should
take note of the 'Ambedkar Principles', launched by the International Dalit Solidarity Network, and look carefully at their recruitment and employment policies in India.
The UK government must, by tradition, reply to this report including the recommendations within 3 months.I await their reply with great interest.
On 27 June 2006, when the issue of events in Nepal came up in the Commons, I put a Question to Foreign Office Minister Ian McCartney MP:
Rob Marris (Wolverhampton, South-West) (Lab):One of the factors driving the demand for political change in Nepal is the widespread existence in the country of casteism discrimination based on work or descent.What recent representations has my right hon. Friend made to the government of Nepal on the abolition of that pernicious and unacceptable form of discrimination?
Mr. Ian McCartney:I
have not been involved in any detailed discussion of that subject, but
it is an issue of human rights and their abuse that has to be dealt
with, not only in Nepal but in other countries.It
will probably form part of the work programme that we will agree over
the next two meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.It is one of the matters about which serious reservations have been expressed. I
assure my hon. Friend that the matter is one that the Foreign Office
will be involved, with the international community, in efforts to deal
did not know I was going to ask this Question, and his reply
demonstrated that he has a knowledge and sympathy for those suffering
from casteism.I congratulated him and aim to arrange a formal meeting with him soon.
ADDRESSING CASTE DISCRIMINATION IN AN INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT
Baroness Royall, DFID representative in the Lords
Caste Discrimination in India
Caste discrimination is not just experienced in South Asia; it affects communities across the world. But just taking some head line statistics from India
alone, I have been particularly struck by the practical implications of
identity based discrimination on peoples lives today. So-called
untouchable or Scheduled Castes, as they are classified by the Indian
constitution, constitute 20% of the rural population, but 38% of the
rural poor. They also constitute 14% of the urban population, but 37%
of the urban poor.
on the basis of caste identity constrains the human rights, livelihoods
and life chances of millions of men, women and children. Dalit children
are more likely to die before their fifth birthday; they are less
likely to go to school, to benefit from clean water or to receive free
school meals. Once they grow up, they earn less, and are less likely to
get a decent job or to own land.
are not isolated incidents. They represent a systematic injustice and
routine violation of the most basic human rights of millions of
individuals. This is why I am particularly pleased to be participating
in the seminar and to talk about the international implications of
caste discrimination, and how each and everyone of us has an important
role to play in addressing this issue.
seminar marks an important follow up to the Adjournment Debate on caste
in the House of Commons last December. My colleague Jeremy Corbyn MP,
Chair of Dalit Solidarity Network UK,
has been actively involved in activities to raise awareness about the
experiences of Dalits for some time. We believe that the framework of
international covenants and national legislation outlawing
discrimination based on descent is an important step towards its
Government and the Private sector
British government is committed to ensuring that businesses takes
account of the social and environmental impacts of their activities
worldwide, and follow the principles outlined in the international
instruments on Human Rights.We and the European Union
are committed to ensuring that human rights are respected, and believe
that the best ways to do this are to share our concerns with other
governments, and to raise awareness of responsible business behaviour
is also sound in practice. The Department for International
Developments new publication DFID and the Private Sector, for
instance points out that socially responsible practice have a direct
and positive impact on a companys productivity.
I am sure you are aware that the UK government endorses a range of international activities designed to encourage responsible business behaviour. As
a sign of its commitment, we have had a Minister for corporate social
responsibility for many years. In addition to promoting best practice
in the UK, the Government is involved with a number of international initiatives pushing for responsible business practices. .
the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Government supports and promotes the
OECD Guidelines for Multi National Enterprises. These are a baseline
for corporate behaviour to help such companies design their own
corporate codes of conduct.Later this month, the
Government will publish its response to a stakeholder consultation on
enhancing our arrangements for upholding the Guidelines.
Government, through the FCO, also strongly supports the UN Global
Compact. Kofi Annans initiative is an agreement with business to
uphold and promulgate a set of ten principles, including the promotion
and observance of human rights, as well as environmental protection and
anti-corruption.Principle 6 is particularly relevant
here, as the Ambedkar Principles outline, in that it requires
supporting companies to eliminate discrimination in employment.
Government to Government Initiatives
Through our work with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), we are encouraging India to comply with those ILO Core Conventions it has already ratified, including on forced labour and discrimination.
addition to our support for international conventions, we encourage
open debate internationally about discrimination. During the UK EU
Presidency for instance, the Prime Minister led the EU/India Summit in
Delhi last September, an EU-India Joint Action Plan was agreed which
identifies key areas where the EU and India agree to work together. One
area was human rights. The first meeting took place in December 2005.
It will be for the Finnish Presidency to follow up this dialogue in
But I am also aware that international commitments, and legislation outlawing caste, as experience in India
has shown, while necessary, are not sufficient to eliminate
discrimination. It is not easy to implement actions to counter it, as
our experience in the UK of tackling race and gender based discrimination has shown.
Caste Discrimination in the UK
We have however learnt a great deal from that work, and many of the lessons may be relevant in a different context. In the UK
for instance, we are now familiar with the concept of institutionalised
racism. Our experience has taught us that even when there is political
commitment; it is not easy for governments alone to tackle entrenched
behaviours and forms of discrimination.
has to take place on a number of fronts. In the UK, legislation to
outlaw discrimination, has been combined with strong legal safeguards,
in the home, on the street, and in the workplace, awareness raising
within society in general, and proactive policies and initiatives to
level the playing field for disadvantaged groups at work and at play.
The Dalit Solidarity Network UKs recent report on the situation of Dalit communities in the UK has produced some important information which may need to be looked into further.
DFID and Caste Discrimination in Nepal
we are less familiar with the idea of institutionalised caste
discrimination, we do know quite a lot about what might work to reduce
entrenched prejudices and to change behaviour.
Right Honourable colleague, Gareth Thomas MP, in the Department for
International Development has met representatives from the Dalit Solidarity Network UK on a number of occasions to discuss how DFID takes account of discrimination against Dalits in its programmes in Asia. They also address the issue in their policies and programmes.
Department considers the challenges facing Dalits as just one of the
many faces of social exclusion confronting poor people across many
parts of Asia. The experiences of just one office, Nepal,
will give you some interesting insights about how the British
Government overseas is supporting efforts to tackle caste
discrimination through a range of different approaches. You will see
there are some similarities with the way in which we are tackling
discrimination and institutionalised racism and sexism in the UK.
Dalits remain at the bottom of the caste hierarchy, and comprise about
13% of the population. Although a National Dalit Commission was formed
in 2002, this had no legal basis. The present new Government in Nepal declared Nepal a country free of untouchability only a few weeks ago. This is a major step forward.
Nepal places emphasis on supporting government and civil society
actions to reduce all forms of discrimination and exclusion. Exclusion
on the basis of identity in Nepal
has become an increasingly important political issue. Many now
understand that it is at the root of the problems that have beset the
country in recent years.
increasing number of people in government, as well as among the general
public, now realise that social exclusion cant be solved merely be
targeting welfare efforts to particular excluded groups. Additional
action is required to enable government and other institutions to be
aware of their discriminatory practices and change them. Some people in
also now recognise that it is important to support disadvantaged groups
to organise and mobilise to fight for their rights. As you will know,
effective and confident advocacy requires new skills and knowledge.
this end, DFID Nepal has supported the High Level Committee on
Reservations in developing recommendations for affirmative action and
reservations for women and Dalits in the civil service, political
bodies and key sectors such as health and education.
is also working closely with UNDP and other donors to support the
design and implementation of the national poverty and analysis
framework, which will disaggregate data on the basis of gender, caste
and other forms of discrimination. This will enable the government,
civil society and donors to assess progress against agreed targets to
improve social inclusion.
this, the office supports the development and strengthening of national
level excluded groups organisations to improve their voice and
influence with government and public opinion. To this end, they have
been supporting the Dalit Empowerment and Inclusion Project, which is
implemented through the Dalit NGO Federation, and which aims to build
the capacity of Dalit organisations to engage in political and public
debate. The office part funded the International Dalit Solidarity
Network Conference in Kathmandu in 2004.
you can see, todays seminar is just one part of a multi-layered,
international effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate discrimination
and exclusion on the basis of caste. I hope the discussions in the
seminar are helpful in pointing the way forward in addressing this
complex and important issue.
THE WAY FORWARD
David Haslam, Chair of Trustees, Dalit Solidarity Network UK
Neither Government policy nor legislation in India and the other countries of South Asia has seriously affected the deep-seated system of caste discrimination.Those Dalits who challenge the system are vigorously and sometimes brutally put down.The relevant legal, political, judicial and educational authorities in India seem neither to have the will nor authority to address the depths of the problem.
Outside bodies - governments, NGOs, companies and trade unions have a particular opportunity, with one foot inside and one foot outside the country, to raise searching
questions, probe more deeply into social and economic structures and in
their own practices make absolutely clear that they oppose caste
discrimination. They have both a moral and practical responsibility to do this. All of them together would certainly 'punch above their weight' in producing a long-term effect in the sub-continent of South Asia.
The South African experience has shown us that discrimination can be destructive both morally and commercially. The commercial argument is two-fold.
if a quarter of a billion potential consumers are excluded from a
decent education and employment opportunities, it results in
substantial lost possibilities.
ŘSecondly, tension to the point of low-intensity conflict and political instability in many areas of India is clearly bad for economic growth.
earlier this year the new DSN-UK Chair, Jeremy Corbyn MP, asked the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) whether they monitored the caste
composition of their staff, the Minister, Dr Kim Howells, responded
that they did not. But he went on to add:
Our posts in India
are equal opportunities employers and have a recruitment policy that is
open to all, regardless of caste, ethnicity and religion.
That is a highly disingenuous answer.Companies and INGOs have, however, told us the same thing.It
is absolutely crucial to take on board that one cannot engage in a
non-discriminatory manner where there is systemic discrimination and
offer 'equal opportunities', without taking positive action to level the playing field.
We believe the Ambedkar Principles offer the correct direction in this process.We recognise they place demands on a company, but how could it be otherwise?This is the responsibility of global business in a global economy.Good
morality - as was shown in the anti-apartheid campaign and is now being
demonstrated in relation to climate change - is good business.
Our first priority is for companies to endorse the Ambedkar Principles.
If it is not possible to do this immediately, companies can do the following:
Carry out the Dalit Discrimination Check to make an evaluation of where they stand on Dalit issues
Initiate a study on the caste composition of their staff
Undertake awareness raising and training for company personnel
Support Dalit communities either through Dalit-led NGOs or their own Trusts or Foundations
Involve Dalit representatives in the kind of monitoring suggested in the Ambedkar Principles
Target Dalit communities for investment or charitable assistance
Set up Dalit-targeted recruiting schemes in universities
Share best practice regarding tackling caste discrimination
If companies find it difficult to be caste-specific in such initiatives they must at least be 'caste-aware' recognising that, unless they are genuinely engaged in such projects, Dalits may again be marginalised.Investors need, as DFID is doing in the 'Education for All'
initiative, to disaggregate data along caste lines and monitor
activities in a manner that it is apparent to all that caste
discrimination is being tackled.
Specific suggestions for banks
Banks have a particular opportunity in relation to the legal requirement in India called 'Priority Sector Lending (PSL).They could decide to focus PSL towards Dalit communities in numerous different ways. For example:
Make loans available at very low interest rates to Dalit entrepreneurs
Set targets for Dalit loans, even agricultural ones
Small Scale Industries (SSI) advances can specifically target Dalit entrepreneurs
Create scholarships for Dalit students and contribute to strengthening schools which target Dalit children
targets for Advances to Weaker Sections (domestic banks have a target
of 10% of Net Bank Credit) which again can also specifically target
Help Dalit communities set up food and agro-processing units
Micro credit activities through Dalit organisations or directly to Dalit communities
SupportState and Non-State organisations which work with Dalit communities
this will be something of a learning process to start with, in the long
run, companies and banks only stand to gain. Companies and banks need a
clear action plan (as the Ambedkar Principles suggest) if they are to
progress in the area of caste discrimination. DSN-UK and IDSN are
willing to be involved in the awareness raising and training for staff
that will form an important part of this process.
To have endorsed the EEC Code of Conduct, or the Sullivan Principles, in the context of 1970s South Africa
- before everyone climbed on to the anti-apartheid bandwagon - would
have been both a prophetic act and one which would have labelled an
agency or company as a real leader.Our question therefore is - and this goes for Government Departments and INGOs too, 'Who wants to be the real leaders in the context of South Asia?'Who will be among the first to endorse the Ambedkar Principles?The
Principles are named after one of the most remarkable men of the last
century, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, a man who, with his four doctorates and
twenty volumes of writing - like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela
- pointed the way towards creating true human community. Are we
prepared to follow?
HSBC Holdings plc
Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered Bank
Barclays Bank plc
Unison / War On Want
London School of Economics
Jawaharlal Nehru Institute, India
Emory University, USA
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Minority Rights Group
Amnesty International UK
Friends of India
Dalit Solidarity Platform, Germany
The Danish Institute for Human Rights
Backward And Minority Communities Employees Federation
Solicitor, Lawrence Graham LLP
Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations
National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights
INVESTMENT AND RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS
Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group
Ethical Investment Research Service
Rob Marris MP
Member of Trade and Industry Select Committee
Government spokesperson for DFID in the House of Lords
Christian Aid, Asia Journalist
Chair of Trustees
Private sector Project Officer
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
(1) Thorat, Sukhadeo, Aryama, and Negi Prashant, Reservation and Private sector Quest for Equal Opportunity and Growth, Rawat Publications, New Delhi and Jaipur and Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, New Delhi (2006) (2) Thorat, Sukhadeo, Caste System, Economic and Market Discrimination Reflections on Theory, Concept, and Consequences, Ambedkar
Journal of Social Development and Justice, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar
National Institute of Social Sciences, Mhow, Volume 12 (2004) (3) Madheswaran, S and Thorat, Sukhadeo, Labour Market Discrimination A Critical Review of the Methods of Measuring Labour Market Discrimination, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies Working Paper (2006)(4)Thorat, Sukhadeo, Reservation Policy for the Private sector Why and How?, Occasional Paper Series I, Department of Sociology, UGC Special Assistance Programme, University of Mumbai (2005)
Thorat, Sukhadeo, Affirmative Action Policy in India Nature, Dimensions and Emerging Issues, Concept Paper, Overseas Development Institute, London (2005) (5) Thorat, Sukhadeo, On Reservation Policy for the Private sector, Economic and Political Weekly, (June 2004) (6)Thorat, Sukhadeo, The Varna of Efficiency, The Economic Times, New Delhi, (October 30th, 2004) (7) Thorat, Sukhadeo, Job Reservation in the Private sector, The Economic Times, New Delhi, (June 15th, 2005) (8) Thorat, Sukhadeo, Is Reservation in the Private sector Warranted? The Economic Times, New Delhi, (September 7th, 2005) (9) Thorat, Sukhadeo & Umakant, Caste, Race and Discrimination: Discourses in International Context, Rawat Publications (2004) (10) Negi, Prashant, Affirmative Action Diverging Perspectives www.esocialsciences.com (2006) (11) Darity, William, Jr., Economics and Discrimination, Volume I, The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, An Elgar Reference Collection, Aldershot, UK and Bookfield, US (1995) (12) Darity, William, Jr., Economics and Discrimination, Volume II, The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, An Elgar Reference Collection, Aldershot, UK and Bookfield, US (1995) (13)The Nature and Forms of Affirmative Action in Selected Countries, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (2005-2006) (14) Weisskopf, Thomas E., Affirmative Action in the United States and India - A Comparative Perspective, Routledge, London and New York (2004) (15) Mungekar, Professor Bhalchandra India's Economic Reforms and the Dalits: an Ambedkarian Perspective,
the 2002 Dr Ambedkar Memorial Lecture at Manchester University,
Ambedkar Institute of Social Change, Mumbai (Second Edition 2004) (16) Dismantling Descent-Based Discrimination: Report on Dalits Access to Rights, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights www.dalits.org (2006) (17)No Escape: Report on Caste Discrimination in the UK, Dalit Solidarity Network UK (2006 ) (18)Grey, Mary The Unheard Scream: The Struggles of Dalit Women in India, Centre for Dalit Studies, New Delhi (2004) (19) Haslam, David - Caste Out: The Liberation Struggle for the Dalits in India, CTBI (1999)
I have seen the effects of caste discrimination first hand and talked to those who suffer from it. Caste discrimination is Indias
elephant in the room. Foreign investors need to be willing to ask what
the elephant is doing there, and when is it going to be dealt with
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of DSN-UK
grateful to Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chair of DSN-UK, and others for raising
awareness within the government of the insidious nature of caste
discrimination, and for identifying areas where we might work together
to reduce potential abuses of basic Dalit human rights
Baroness Royall, DFID Spokesperson in House of Lords
 Government of India Economic Survey 2005-06, Economic Division, Ministry of Finance, New Delhi. India
Some of the affirmative actions taken by the Government of India in the
public sector so far include *relaxation of minimum age for entry into
the service *relaxation in minimum standard
of suitability within reasonable limit (subject to minimum
qualification) *relaxation in fees *pre-examination training *separate
interviews for Dalits and Adivasis *provision of experts from Dalit or
Adivasi backgrounds in selection committees etc.
 Gail Omvedt, Beyond Quotas, Times of India, 12 May 2006
 Shubhajit Roys article in the Indian Express on August 19, 2006, reported
on the Auditor General of India declaring that a large part of the SSA
funds meant for education programmes was actually spent on Hindu
ceremonies, air conditioners, mobile phones, repairing bungalows,
school grants to 2,369 non-existent schools in Jharkhand alone, text
books for ineligible students and many such un-budgeted activities.
States like Bihar
still have a teacher-student ratio of 1:130. Also 75,884 schools have
only a single teacher, 6,647 schools have no teacher at all, and a
shocking 40% of 6-14 year olds still drop out of school.
DI is Denmarks national employers confederation representing more than 6000 companies.
IFU is Denmarks Industrialization Fund for Developing Countries.
DALIT FREEDOM NETWORK - FRIENDS OF INDIA 13 WARNER ROAD, BROMLEY, KENT, BR1 3RR
Tel: 0208 464 7879; mobile: 0771 007 7871
Dalit leader, Dr. Udit Raj met British M.Ps
And church leaders to push through reservation in the private sector.
Christians and human rights activists are asked to support World Religious Freedom to be held on 14th October in India.
London, 14th sept, 06
The president of All India
Confederation of SC/ST Organizations, Dr Udit Raj, met British
Parliament Members, Jeremy Corbyn and Rob Marris urging them to ask the
British Government to issue necessary directions to UK investors to provide reservation to Dalits.At the same time the UK Government should pursue with other western countries to do the same.Since
Jeremy Corbyn and Rob Marris are in the select committee of British
Government dealing with foreign investment, we have requested them to
pursue this issue.In addition, Dr Udit Raj also asked
them to look into violation of Religious Freedom in states like
Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.Freedom of
Religion is like any other social problem such as human trafficking,
drug menace, child labour, and therefore members of Parliament are
rightly urged to take up the matter with the India government as well as at a global level.
The All India Christian Council and All India Confederation of SC/ST organizations have decided to hold a Religious Freedom Day on 14th October 2006 at Nagpur, India.The messiah of Dalits, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar quit Hinduism along with hundreds of thousands of Dalits on 14th October, 1956 at Nagpur.This is the Golden Jubilee of Religious Freedom.There
cannot be a better day than this when Ambedkarites, Buddhists,
Christians, Sikhs and Muslims all come together to raise their voice.World Religious Leaders, US Congressmen, Human Rights Activists, actors and actresses of Hollywood are going to participate at the event.He said that this is going to hit the headlines all over the world.Rosemary Morris, Dalit Freedom Network, David Griffiths, India advocacy desk officerof Christian Solidarity Worldwide, David Haslam of Dalit Solidarity Network, all based in London are working hard with full spirit to mobilize the support of Europe to the cause of Religious Freedom.Yesterday, Dr. Udit Raj along with Rosemary Morris and David Griffiths met high officials of the Archbishop of Canterbury and appealed that the Christians in UK should work with Dalits of UK in the interest of Dalits of India and Religious Freedom.Ambedkar Buddhist Organisation of Birmingham had responded positively to work with Christians in England, said Dr. Udit Raj.Dalits are being mobilized from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattishgarh to come over to Nagpur and choose the religion of their choice since they cannot do in their respective states because of anti-conversion law.
On 12th September, 2006,
Dr Udit Raj along with David Griffiths, Rosemary Morris met officials
of the European Commission and European Council to deliberate on the
severe violation of human rights happening in India.Most
importantly, they met a member of European Parliament Jan Mulder from
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, and Eoin Ryan TD MEP,
Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee on Development and
urged them to take up the issue in the coming summit with India, to
this they have responded positively.It is not only in the interest of Dalits and Christians in India, but investors as well.Unrest and violence always jeopardise the economic activities.Naxalism, a brand of communist militancy, is increasing fast in India
and more than 100 districts are infested with it and in those areas it
has become next to impossible to have investment and carry out normal
economic activities. Why this is happening is precisely that Dalits are
deprived of wealth, jobs and dignity. Even India government sees it as a social problem.To provide reservation to Dalits in private sector will help in establishing better law and order and social harmony.Dalits
are deprived of rights of land and whatever government has distributed
to them, the so called upper castes do not allow them to have position.
Udit Raj said that western countries governments, NGOs and human
rights activists have failed to understand the caste system in India,
and whatever resources and help are rendered to India through them, they are not reaching to Dalits.Rosemary
Morris was astonished to learn that the so called upper castes are
getting a lot of governmental and non governmental help on behalf of
Dalits, but Dalits are not even aware of that.She pledged that she would fight till Europeans understand caste discrimination in India and would see through that aids go to needy Dalits and deprived people.
of Dalit activists as well as Dalit organisations, led by National
Conference of Dalit Organisations ( NACDOR), from all over the country
will demonstrate against the brutal and gruesome killing of four
members of a Dalit family by the upper caste villagers in Khairlanji,
Bhandara district in Maharashtra last month. The inefficiency of Maharashtra government in tackling the issue and bringing the culprits to the book is shocking beyond expression. Nagpur is burning and so are other areas of Maharashtra where Dalits feel a sense of betrayal by the political class as R.R.Patil, deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, rather than taking action against the culprits, expressed his apprehensions of a 'Naxal' hand in the violence.
in various parts of Vidarbha had been demanding justice for the family.
A simple push to Shard Pawar by the Australians has become a prime time
national obsession yet the brutality and indignity heaped upon the
Dalits in general and in Khairlanji in particular attracted our
attention only when the Dalits took to the street. We feel the
government must be reminded of its human rights obligations under the
constitution as well as international treaties.
Therefore, Dalits have decided to protest against this indifferent bureaucracy and the government of Maharashtra,
which has no will to act upon the incident. Instead, the government
continues to shield the culprits. Jantar Mantar protest is therefore a
major decision by various Dalit organizations in the India Social Forum
beginning today. The shadow of Bhandara killings will be there in the
dalit discourse during the ISF summit. And rightly, Dalit organizations
wish to show their solidarity with the struggling masses of Bhandara
and other parts of Vidarbha.
As a mark of solidarity with the Dalits in Khairlanji village and to remind Maharashtra
government to fulfill its constitutional obligation, major Dalit
organizations led by National Conference of Dalit Organisations
(NACDOR) will stage massive demonstration at Jantar Mantar at on 10th November, 2006.
In the evening at , the
Dalit organizations along with human rights activists from all over the
country will carry a candle light procession at the India Social Forum
grounds symbolizing Dalit dignity and revolt against the patriarch cal
You are requested to depute your colleague to cover both the events.