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 Focus News (2006)

International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) Formed

Commission announced on the eve of 43rd International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


March 21, 2006; London (UK). The International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR), an independent and impartial international institution for dalit rights has been instituted with a mission to promote humanity, self-dignity and justice. This has been announced today in a press release by the Secretary General of the Commission DB 'Sagar' Bishwakarma on the 43rd International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


“We remember the 1960 massacre of 69 civilians from Sharpeville, South Africa by the police force at a peaceful protest against apartheid.  But 43 years on, nearly 260 million Dalit people worldwide and especially in South Asia, Japan (Buraku) and parts of Africa, are still suffering from segregation, modern-day slavery, "untouchability", and other forms of discrimination and physical violation.  Every year, thousands of Dalits are missing, killed and tortured by the so-called dominant/ruling caste because of their so-called "low caste" or descent. Racism and casteism are two sides of one coin. Caste imposes enormous obstacles to the full accomplishment of socio-economic, civil and political rights. However, the global human rights and social justice movements have failed to address casteism and related intolerance.“, says the release.


The release further says, “There is an urgent need for this movement to promote justice and dignity for the world’s poorest and most victimized Dalits at international level, focusing on caste or descent based discriminations. ICDR advocates the formulation of affirmative action policies and the implementation of international laws, principles and programs aimed at eliminating caste or work and descent-based discrimination, poverty and works as a monitoring watchdog, both at the national and international levels.”


“Social exclusion, extreme poverty and conflict are closely associated with caste discrimination in South Asia. Dalits, women and other ethnic minorities have been misused and victimized by the state security and Maoists in Nepal's decade-long arm conflict. Nepal’s democracy, freedom and human rights are increasingly under threat. The ICDR has condemned the Nepal's government restrictions over politics, the media, civil society and harassment for Dalit Activists. We urge the United Nations and the international community to advocate for the restoration of inclusive democracy and civil liberty in Nepal.”, the release adds.


The ICDR, in all its sincerity, appeals to the international community, Dalit/human rights defenders, Dalit Solidarity Networks, Dalits and pro-Dalit national and international institutions, media, academics and other similar institutions/forums to join hands to integrate the Dalit Rights movement with the global human rights and social justice movements.


Finally, the Commission affirming the fact that the struggle against injustice and casteism is not yet won, calls for all concerned to start working collectively with mutual understanding and respect at all levels. 

[Report by ICDR / nepaldalitinfo special correspondent]


 Focus News (2005)


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Current News:


The ICDR and VODI Jointly Submit a Memorandum to the King of Nepal:

The Murder of Rights Defender Daya Ram Pariyar Condemned


London, April 5, 2006. The International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) and Voice of Dalit International (VODI) have submitted this afternoon a joint memorandum to the King of Nepal through Royal Nepalese Embassy in UK, condemning the murder of Daya Ram Pariyar by the security personnel on March 24, 2006 at Janakchock, Janakpur District of Central Nepal. Mr. Pariyar was a Dalit and human rights activist affiliated with the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal who was in Janakpur for human rights monitoring work at grass-roots level. This was stated in a press release from the two London based organizations ICDR and VODI, urging for a special investigation and maximum punishment for those security personnel found to be involved in his murder and redress for his grieving family.


The memorandum added, “Every day, Dalits and other people are missing, tortured and killed by the security [forces]. The murder of Mr. Pariyar is an example of growing arbitrariness of Security forces. Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) does practice caste-based discrimination within their military system.”


The ICDR has appealed to His Majesty's Government to ensure that Dalits and other human rights defenders are able to carry out their work effectively without any restriction or arbitrary interference by the security personnel or other actors. The Commission has also called for the prosecution and condemnation of those responsible for incidents of caste-based discrimination, segregation, exploitation and violation, and for ensuring that anti-terrorism measures do not discriminate against anyone, on any grounds, including caste and political ideology and that they are not used against Dalit and human rights defenders including political activists.


The ICDR has also condemned the Nepal government’s restrictions over politics, the media, and civil society. The Commission further adds, “We would also like to urge an international diplomatic initiative to resolve the prevailing conflict and restore ‘absolute democracy’, peace and development in Nepal.”


The memorandum submitted was signed jointly by ICDR General Secretary DB Sagar Bishwakarma and Ms. Irean Culas, VODI Chairperson, with its copy sent to Heads of national and international rights organizations: Mr. Nain Bahadur Khatri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (Nepal); Mr. Ian Martin Chief of Mission, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights- Nepal Office; Ms. Nathalia Provez,, Secretary, UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN_CERD) (Geneva); Chair, Human Rights and International Committee, United Kingdom Parliament, House of Commons; Prof. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture (Switzerland); Ms Leila Zerrougui, Chairperson, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (Switzerland); and Ms. Hina Jilani , Special Representative of the Secretary General for Human Rights Defenders (Switzerland).


The International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) is an independent and impartial international Dalit Rights forum whose mission is to establish Dalit Rights in the contemporary world for humanity, self-dignity and justice. ICDR advocates the formulation of affirmative action policies and the implementation of international laws, principles and programs aimed at eliminating caste or work and descent-based discrimination, poverty and works as a monitoring watchdog, both at the national and international levels. (News source: ICDR, London)


World Social Forum (WSF) 2006 held in Karachi:


Dalit Movement of Nepal makes its mark holding a special program


March 27, 2006; World Social Forum, Karachi Pakistan – Nepali delegates in the World Social Forum (WSF) held here has organized a program today.  The program was attended so many distinguished and international personalities, dalit activists and delegates from Nepal as well as many other countries. The International media as well as many foreign participants attended the program with interest.  In the event, Mr. Moti lal Nepali, Chairperson of Dalit welfare Organization, Tripureshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal presented a paper on “Dalit Movement In Nepal”. He in his paper, portrayed the Dalits’ situation in Nepal and the problems they are facing due to the discrimination meted out to them by the so-called upper cast people.  The paper was commented by the following international delegates.  1. Mr. Ashok Bharati – Indian Dalit Activist, 2. Mr. Paul Diwakar – National president, NCDHR India, 3. Mr. Mukul Sharama – Convener WDF, 4. Dr. Gopal Krishna Siwakoti – Him Rights Nepal,  5. Dr. Arjun Karki – NGO federation Nepal, 6. Mr. Kishore Patel – President kotti Association Pakistan (Advocate), 7. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn – MP British Parliament  and others.


The program, which started at about 2.30 PM today on the chairmanship of Member secretary Mr. Hari Bahadur Gandhari was a huge success.. At the beginning of the program, a short drama that showed the typical problem dalits are facing in Nepal was played. This was followed by the welcome remarks given by board member of DNF, Mr. Resham Pariyar. Other dalit activists also gave their speech on the issue during the program. Dalit activist Mr. Om Prakash V.K Gahatraj anchored the program.


The Nepali Organizations that has participated in jointly organizing the program are Dalit NGO Federation, Dalit Welfare Organization, Feminist Dalit Organization and others.

WSF is a gathering of the civil society organizations to "reinforce the global movement against corporate-led globalization, wars, colonization, denial of rights of all sorts (including racial and caste discrimination), terrorism, extremism, fundamentalism, militarization". It is “an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo- liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a society centred on the human person". (From the WSF Charter of Principles).


WSF was started in January 2001 in Brazil. In 2005, the international committee in Porto Alegre decided that this year's WSF would be held in three different regions and would be known as the Polycentric WSF 2006. The Karachi WSF events which are slated for 24- 29th March are expected to draw more than 20,000 delegates from all over the world. 


Report by: Prakash Swarnakar, DWO from Karachi, Pakistan .


“Fighting everyday racism”, UN theme for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


Kathmandu 20 March, Kathmandu – “Fighting everyday racism” is the theme chosen this year to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In Nepal, this is a crucial day to reflect on the impact that racial discrimination has on the lives of all Nepalese. It is also an opportunity to commit to action to address and eliminate such hindering practices.

“Fighting racism and discrimination should not be seen as a campaign of charity but one of social justice that is needed for the economic and social progress of Nepal,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Matthew Kahane. “Discriminating any group of people ignores a critical mass of human potential and closes doors to development.”

Racism in Nepal particularly affects members of the Dalit and indigenous as well as refugees and other ethnic communities.

Caste-based discrimination has been recognized as a critical problem worldwide, with particular impact in South Asia. Its causes and effects are deep-seated and need to be addressed in a comprehensive way, by governments, non-governmental organizations and communities.


Nepal has international and domestic legal obligations to take action to eliminate caste-based discrimination,” said UN Resident Coordinator Matthew Kahane. “But today, we would like to focus on the issue of everyday racism and on how we can all take action to address what should be considered a great challenge to all Nepalese, women and men, girls and boys, from all walks of life.”


In villages, towns and cities, in the mountains and in the Terai, there are large numbers of Nepalese who suffer daily racial discrimination. The effect is devastating: loss of opportunities for education, health services, work and earning livelihoods, and access to community resources such as land and water.

Schools can be a place, which facilitate positive awareness, interaction and exchange of cultural differences as a way to oppose discrimination. Learning environments free from racial discrimination can nurture equality and the sense of social solidarity.


In the workplace, treating colleagues with respect and dignity and providing all with opportunities to perform and improve is the absolute minimum to be expected.

“Today, is a day for all of us to stop and think about what we could do to help eliminate racial discrimination in our communities: in the schools, the workplaces, in the village and towns. Small actions may trigger big changes,” said Kahane. Source:


* Dalit woman activist Gajmer named Member Secretary of National Women Commission


Ambika Gajmer, a Dalit woman activist has been named as Member Secretary of National Women Commission in Nepal with other five members of the Commission including Bandana Rana as its Chair. Ms. Gajmer is central general secretary of Feminist Dalit Organization, treasurer of Dalit NGO federation and central member of NGO federation. She has a record of more than a decade of dedicated social work for the emancipation of women in general and Dalit women in particular.


The nomination of a Dalit woman leader in the high position of Member Secretary of the Commission is definitely an achievement for Dalit movement in Nepal; it can be viewed as a result of continued pressure from Nepalese Dalit movement, international community, rights organizations, press and civil society for inclusive governance. However, some quarters within Dalit intellectual circle have viewed her appointment under the current autocratic direct monarchial rule in the country as ploy to sway Dalit leaderships away from the current movement for restoration of democracy in the country.


The National Women Commission was institutionalized in Nepal during the tenure of democratically elected Prime Minister Ser Bahadur Deuba, before he was dismissed by King Gyanendra.