Martin Macwan wins Kennedy human rights award

http://www.rediff.com/news/2000/nov/14award.htm
November 14, 2000
T V Parasuram in Washington

Martin Macwan, "a powerful advocate against the practice of 'untouchability' in India", has been selected for the 17th Annual Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Macwan, founder-director of the Navsarjan Trust, a group based in Gujarat, will be presented the award -- carrying a cash award of US $30,000 -- on November 21 by Robert Kennedy's widow and brother Senator Edward Kennedy.

The Navsarjan Trust organises dalits in 2,000 villages in India to fight untouchability and improve their socio-economic conditions, according to the Robert F Kennedy Memorial, which has instituted the award.

Under the leadership of Macwan, himself a dalit, the Navsarjan Trust has become one of the leading organisations in the advancement of dalit rights, it said.

The organisation promotes the use of non-violent action to protest against the dalit situation and provides legal services to both dalits and non-dalits.

In addition to his work with the Navsarjan Trust, Macwan has undertaken the responsibility of leading the national campaign on dalit human rights.

"One of the objectives of the campaign is to place the issue of caste-based discrimination on the agenda of the UN World Conference against Racism, which will be held in South Africa in August 2001," the memorial said.


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