Executive Summary

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented with over 99 million cases reported including over 2 million deaths. The spread of coronavirus across the globe has not only created a health crisis but has particularly affected the socio-economic and human capacities of most marginalized groups across the globe. More importantly, this virus has led to disruption of the economies, resulting in uneven impacts among the population in the developing countries of Asia. In particular, the Dalit communities in Asia have faced gruesome after-effects on their human capacities and livelihood systems including their daily survival during this era of the pandemic.

Dalits are communities discriminated on Work and Descent (CDWD) they are one of the most marginalized communities, with approximately 220 million people situated in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These communities are traditionally excluded communities based on their standing in the social hierarchy and their inherent nature of work dictated through principles of purity and pollution. These communities have been socially, economically and politically discriminated by the systemic structures and dominant communities in various forms and have sustained this discrimination through atrocities and violence. The position paper narrates the impact of COVID-19 on CDWD in South Asia and the need for free vaccination and universal health coverage. The position paper also monitors from point of view of human rights, non-discrimination and access to justice for life of dignity and peace of Dalit communities and the type and quality of response of the state and civil society institutions through their COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Read the full position paper here.