India: Dalit Freedom Network Welcomes Human Rights Watch Report on Caste Discrimination.
15 Feb 2007
GREENWOOD VILLAGE; February 15, 2007. The Dalit Freedom Network welcomes the recent publication of a report by Human Rights Watch highlighting the Government of India`s refusal to properly address the Dalit issue and thereby follow treaty obligations. The report, "Hidden Apartheid, Caste Discrimination against India`s `Untouchables,`" is a "shadow report" to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
The report is a response to India`s long-overdue CERD status report which denies that the Dalit issue is connected with "race" or "descent" as specified under Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
"This report is a much needed refutation of India`s consistent denial of ongoing caste abuse against the Dalits," said Joseph D`souza, President of the Dalit Freedom Network. "The Government of India has broken her treaty obligations to the international community and, more importantly, has failed her own people by allowing millions to remain in perpetual bondage through Caste and Untouchability."
"Hidden Apartheid" highlights several areas of ongoing violence and atrocities, including police participation in violence against Dalits across the nation. According to the report "under a theory of collective punishment, the police often target entire Dalit communities in search of select individuals. Dalit women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence by the police. Dalits are also vulnerable to arrest under draconian security laws."
"Not only is the government denying that Caste abuse exists, it is contributing to the problem by allowing police across the country to commit atrocities against Dalits with impunity," continued Dr. D`souza. "The Government of India must stop denying that the Dalits are being abused and work with the international community to address a three thousand year old problem. Only then will the Dalits truly find freedom."
The report is available here: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2007/india0207/
The Dalit Freedom Network`s mission is to partner with the Dalits (India`s Untouchables) in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human dignity by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources. DFN works to raise the level of Americans about the plight of the Dalits and secure funding for indigenous ministries working in a variety of strategic areas including; Education, Economic Development, Healthcare, and Social Justice Advocacy.