Supporting Collective Voice and action against Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal-SAJHA AAWAJ

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  2. Supporting Collective Voice and action against Caste-Based Discrimination in Nepal-SAJHA AAWAJ

Dalits in Nepal are a historically state victimized disadvantaged community who have been compelled to lag at the bottom of the social structure and excluded from national development mainstream due to the caste system and extreme Hinduism for centuries. According to the government’s figures, Dalits comprise 13.2 percent of Nepal’s total population. Within the Dalit community, there are dozens of sub-caste groups from the hills (Hill Dalits), the Tarai (Tarai/Madhesi Dalits) and Newar community (Newar Dalits). The introduction of the caste system laid out detailed codes for inter-caste behavior and specified punishments for their infringement. Such discriminatory legal system and hierarchical social structures, in course of time, formed as a rigid ‘value system’ and ‘codes of social behavior and practices’. This value system and attitude are still dominant in every sphere of the society, which is propelling ‘untouchability’ and ‘caste-based discriminations’ though it is constitutionally and legally prohibited.

Caste Based Discrimination (CBD) is not only denial of equality and freedom but also isolation of basic human rights. CBD affected people have to face prohibition and discrimination in every aspect of their lives from labor to civic amenities. The physical and psychosocial violence is a major threat to their human rights and freedom. The limited support system at societal and institution level makes their access to justice difficult and constitutes grounds for vulnerability, poverty, and exclusion from public life. Discrimination in social and economic life particularly to access land water entrepreneurship, markets, education, health services, ad employment jeopardizes their potentials to harness life opportunities. The lack of information about their entitlements and sometimes prejudice treatment by the authorities become an obstacle for fair access to services.

The project is thus designed to combat CBD, a pressing human rights and governance challenges in Nepal. Under the overall funding support of European Commission, and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nepal National Dalit Solidarity Welfare Organization (NNDSWO), Media Advocacy Group (MAG) is going to implement the project through media advocacy in the five districts; Surkhet, Kalikot, and Jajarkot situated in province-6 represent the issues of Hill Dalits and Mahottari and siraha situated in province -2 represent the issues of Terai Dalits.

The overall objective of the action is to contribute to the elimination of caste-based discrimination (CBD) and promotion of human rights of all Dalits and non-Dalits people.

The specific objective of the project is:

  • To strengthen implementation of legal frameworks related to equality and non-discrimination for enhancing effective participation and access to services and justice to persons affected by caste-based discrimination(CBD) i.e, Dalits