Dat is de kern van het vandaag gepubliceerde 65 pagina's tellende rapport 'The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Caste Discrimination and the Conflict in Nepal' van het Amerikaanse 'Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice' (CHRSJ).

 

Het rapport is gebaseerd op jarenlang onderzoek in bijna dertig districten in Nepal. Het wordt vandaag in Genève gepresenteerd door vertegenwoordigers van het CHRSJ, Nepalese Dalit organisaties en het International Dalit Solidarity Network in aanwezigheid van de twee VN rapporteurs. De VN Mensenrechtencommissie heeft deze rapporteurs in april aangesteld om onderzoek te doen naar kastendiscriminatie en richtlijnen op te stellen om deze te bestrijden.

 

Het Nederlandse Dalit Netwerk Nederland (DNN), bestaande uit Cordaid, CMC, ICCO, Justitia et Pax, Kerk in Actie en de Landelijke India Werkgroep, is aangesloten bij het International Dalit Soldarity Netwerk. Zij voeren de campagne 'Stop Kastendiscriminatie – Steun de Dalits'.  

 

 

Caste Discrimination Root Cause of Conflict in Nepal

New report documents the impact of the civil war on Dalits

 

For more information contact: Smita Narula, + 1 917 209 6902 or Rikke

N*hrlind + 45 29 700 630

  

Press briefing in Geneva: Thursday, August 11, 1:45 p.m. – 3 p.m., Rm. 25

(XXV) Palais des Nations

 

(Geneva, August 11, 2005):  Caste discrimination is a root cause and an

insidious consequence of the civil war in Nepal, the Center for Human

Rights and Global Justice charged in a new report released today.  The

conflict will remain unresolved without a sustained commitment to ending

caste-based abuses. 

 

The 65-page report, titled "The Missing Piece of the Puzzle: Caste

Discrimination and the Conflict in Nepal," exposes the as yet undocumented

impact of the civil war on Nepal's most vulnerable citizens: Dalits or

so-called untouchables.  The report was released in Geneva today during

the two-week meeting of the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and

Protection of Human Rights. 

 

Maoists insurgents have capitalized on caste and gender discrimination in

Nepal by heavily recruiting Dalits and women for their "people's militia."

Maoist indoctrination often includes a special emphasis on the oppression

of the "lower castes," and the Maoists' alleged role in liberating them.

The dismantling of the educational system also has fed large numbers of

children into the militia. 

 

Once recruited, Dalits are relegated to the lower ranks of the movement

and are, in effect, taking the bullets for the Maoist insurgency.  Coupled

with reports that the practice of "untouchability" and sexual abuse

against Dalit women persists even within the ranks of the Maoist movement,

evidence shows that Dalits have begun to feel extremely alienated and

underserved by the movement that purports to liberate them.

 

"The 'People's War' has turned on the very people it purported to empower;

Dalits have proven to be the favored victim of both State forces and

Maoists," said Smita Narula, Executive Director of the Center for Human

Rights and Global Justice.

 

The militarization of the conflict has exacerbated caste dynamics and the

resulting abuses against Dalits in Nepal.  The overwhelming majority of

senior officers in the RNA continue to hail from "upper-caste"

communities.  While individual Dalit men and women have actively joined

Maoist forces, Dalit communities as a whole are collectively and summarily

punished by state agents, even when there is no evidence of their

involvement in the insurgency. 

 

Caste-based profiling is also a common occurrence at security check posts

and during village interrogation round-ups. The burgeoning presence of the

police and army in the villages has led to even greater sexual abuse and

exploitation of Dalit women.  The State has also armed upper-caste village

militias—or village defense committees—whose members abuse their power to

settle personal scores and target Dalits and religious minorities. 

 

"Rather than fulfilling its international human rights obligations to end

caste-based discrimination, the Nepalese government has branded Dalits and

the poor as 'terrorists' and has unleashed a wave of extrajudicial

killings and forced 'disappearances' under the cover of fighting the

global 'war on terror,'" Narula stated.  

 

Dalit civilians also face discrimination and egregious abuses at the hands

of Maoists.  Maoists openly murder and publicly torture those individuals

they have deemed to be adversaries of their movement and have ravaged the

civilian population throughout the countryside with tactics that include

sexual assault and forced overnight stays in Dalit homes.

 

Through the ongoing efforts of international human rights NGOs, the United

Nations, and the European Union, Nepal is increasingly under scrutiny for

egregious human rights violations committed by state security forces and

Maoist insurgents.  "The international community is trying to treat the

symptoms without diagnosing the disease," Narula added. "A focus on caste

discrimination is notably absent from international interventions in

Nepal." 

 

On February 1, 2005 King Gyanendra declared a state of emergency in Nepal

and vested all executive authority in the monarchy.  Hundreds of

journalists, students, and activists have since been detained.  Though the

state of emergency has been formally lifted, severe restrictions on the

media and civil society remain in place, making it increasingly difficult

to monitor human rights abuses in Nepal.   

 

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice called on the Nepalese

government to restore civil liberties and fulfill its human rights

obligations to end caste-based discrimination.  The Center also called on

the Maoist leadership to respect applicable international standards

regarding protection of Dalit human rights. 

 

The report is based on primary research conducted in nearly thirty

districts in Nepal over a period of two-and-a-half years between July 2001

and May 2005.  The research has been substantiated and corroborated by

reputable human rights defenders and caste discrimination experts in

Nepal. 

 

The U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

and the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

have paid increasing attention to caste discrimination in recent years.

CERD Member Morten Kj*rum and Sub-Commission Special Rapporteurs Chin Sung Chung and Yozo Yokota helped launch the report in cooperation with the

International Dalit Solidarity Network (www.idsn.org) and Anti-Slavery

International (www.antislavery.org).

 

The report, which includes recent photographs of the conflict and

political upheaval in Nepal, can be accessed at:

www.nyuhr.org/nepalreport.htm

 

 

Smita Narula

Executive Director & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Law

Center for Human Rights and Global Justice

New York University School of Law

245 Sullivan Street

New York, NY 10012

Tel: 212-992-8824

Fax: 212-995-4031

Email: smita.narula@nyu.edu

Rapport en foto's te vinden op:

www.nyuhr.org/nepalreport.htm

Meer informatie over Dalits en campagne Stop Kastendiscriminatie – Steun de Dalits: www.indianet.nl/dalits

 

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