Dalits mark 10th year of their unending struggles
17 March 2010 4:17 am
As the International Dalit Solidarity Network celebrates its tenth
anniversary on 10 March, the struggle for Dalit rights is gaining
increasing international momentum, including an endorsement by
Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
As the International Dalit Solidarity Network celebrates its tenth anniversary on 10 March, the struggle for Dalit rights is gaining increasing international momentum, including an endorsement by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Much, however, remains to be done if one of the world's most serious human rights issues, which affects 260 million people, is to be eliminated. Read below their statement issued on 9 March 2010:
It began with an appeal for solidarity from Dalit activists in South Asia who felt that their voices were not being heard. Their appeal lead to the creation of IDSN, and ten years later, their cause has become global. This week, some of the same activists and their colleagues are meeting members of the international human rights community in Geneva to discuss ways of taking the struggle against caste discrimination even further.
This struggle has been endorsed by the eminent South African human rights campaigner and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Desmond Tutu. At the beginning of the new millennium he expressed his support for the Dalits of India, and he now reiterates his desire to see an end to caste discrimination.
"In 2001, I noted that India was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid and expressed the belief that the Indian people would want to end the scourge of caste discrimination. I still hope that this is so, and I strongly urge the Indian government and my own government to endorse international efforts to end the practice of 'untouchability', which is a blot on humanity. Such support would be a boost to the struggle for Dalit rights, not only in India, but all over the world," Archbishop Tutu said.
His words offer great encouragement to a struggle that has gained momentum in recent years. International actors – including EU countries and important UN bodies – have realised that a global human rights issue that affects an estimated 260 million people cannot be ignored. Governments in some caste-ridden countries, including Nepal and Pakistan, have acknowledged their internal problems. And Dalit activists are fighting for their rights with increasing courage and confidence.
Please read the rest of their statement here: ISDN marks tenth anniversary.