Caste a global concern: NGOs

On the second day of the NGO forum conference, Dalits achieved a major success, as at various commission-level discussions, it was agreed upon that the UN body on human rights charter will insert "caste" alongwith "race" and other forms of discrimination.

As per the convention, the UN sponsored inter-governmental conferences are preceded by NGO-level deliberations as it is assumed that government-representatives tend to suppress facts and realities. Thus, the NGO forum deliberations greatly influence proceedings of the inter-governmental level decisions, where decisions taken become final documents of the United Nations.

Dalits from India have successfully forced caste to be included in the UN-sponsored World Conference against Discrimination.

The conference works through its plenaries and commissions where the delegates are given time to present the case of their groups, followed by a question-answer session. Dalits have been recognised by the conference as the Dalit Cacuses alongwith other Dalits of different countries. The two plenaries on racism and racial discrimination and three commissions under the supervision of UN NGO forum Rapporteurs saw forceful presentations by Dalits including Dalit women.

On the topic "Hate crimes, Hate(d) groups, Ethnic cleansing and Genocide" the presence of caste was established by Dalit speakers.

The speakers ably presented their case arguing that it was because of caste system in India that ethnic cleansing has taken place. They argued that Brahminism has been responsible for spreading hate among the people of the country. It was because of this that the Dalits were excluded from every walk of life and also denied all rights - economic, political, religious and educational etc.

Dalits demanded that alongwith apartheid, caste should also become a globally known word. They suggested that in the preamble of every draft of the NGO forum declarations, alongwith the word apartheid the word "untouchability" should be adopted as an equivalent word, as the caste system has perpetrated generational genocides of Dalits.

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Referred by:Benjamin.P.Kaila
Published on:31 Aug,2001
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