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Launch of the South Asia Dalit Rights Forum

by admin last modified 2009-04-06 14:24

Launch of the South Asia Dalit Rights Forum

A South Asian Dalit Rights Forum (SADRF) has been launched as part of the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) during the World Social Forum held in Karachi between the 24th March and 29th March 2006. Representatives of Dalit Communities and Movements from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal have decided to fight for Dalit Rights jointly at SAARC and various International Forums including the UN and its Agencies like ILO.

 

NCDHR was instrumental in creating a platform and paving the way for building solidarity among Asian Dalit Communities and Movements during the World Social Forum. Speaking at the Meeting organized by NCDHR on the 27th March which was presided over by Dr.Sono Khangharani of the Thardeep Rural Development Programme (TRDP), Pakistan; Paul Divakar, National Convenor of NCDHR, India and Co-Chair of International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN)  explained the need for forming a Forum to ensure Justice to 260 million Dalits in South Asian Countries by raising issues related to untouchability, atrocities, civil and political rights; as also economic, social and cultural rights of this great chunk of population who have remained victims of  caste based discrimination down the centuries.

 

 Speakers from Nepal (Omprakash Swarnakar, Dalit NGO Federation); Bangladesh (B.G. Murthy, Bangladesh Dalits Human Rights); and Pakistan (Surender Valasai, Scheduled Caste Federation of Pakistan) who also spoke at the Meeting supported the idea for the formation of a South Asian Dalit Rights Forum (SADRF).

 

As follow up it has been unanimously agreed to convene a SAARC Dalit Assembly in the near future. It was felt that convening the Assembly would also strengthen Dalit Assertion in South Asian countries and holding the State accountable for failing to protect Dalit Rights.

 

It was also agreed to equip young Dalit women and men to take up Dalit Rights Advocacy at various UN Bodies like the newly created Human Rights Council, and other Forums like the Committee for Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and Committee for Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 

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