DWD – Social Justice Task Force of GCAP is organizing the first People’s Assembly on Discrimination based on Work and Descent on 22 September 2020 (10:00 GMT; 12:00 pm CET; 3:00 pm PST; 3.30 pm IST; 3:45 pm NPT; 4:00 BST; 6:00 pm MYT).

Zoom Link : https://zoom.us/j/94947949698

The First Regional People’s Assembly on Discrimination based on Work and Descent brings together Dalit and DWD communities from different countries in their quest for recognition, equality and inclusion in rights and development. Speakers from grassroots and national leaders will discuss their experiences in overcoming the challenges and prejudices, while special speakers from DWD affected communities sharing their experiences.  People’s Assembly aims to make specific demands to the various stakeholders from a unified DWD community from Asia.

Asia is home to 225 million DWD Dalit communities, from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia are the most marginalised and excluded communities in the political, social and economic development. These communities have faced discrimination and exclusion in inclusion in every sphere of life, however, particularly excluded in accessing justice and accessing gender rights.

This exclusion and discrimination faced by the community often leads to high incidence of poverty among them and precludes them from meaningful participation in public life. Untouchability which is the basis of the caste-based discrimination involves denial of equal rights and opportunities (SDG 16) due to the association of pollution with the so-called untouchable people.

Exclusion and violence are common features faced by these communities. Violence is used as a tool to subjugate the communities and obstruct any attempts of resistance by the communities affected by DWD to challenge the unequal social order. Despite rise in awareness level in past few decades the violence and atrocities has not subdued but in certain countries like India, Nepal violence seems to have been increased in recent years. The atrocities are more intense as it is perpetrated to remind communities affected by DWD about their status in the caste-based social structure, and ensuring that they remain there. These atrocities are committed to ensure that DWD affected communities live a life of indignity, humiliation and exclusion from the mainstream society; so that they continue to provide the caste-based services ‘so essential for society and remain at the bottom-rung without access to higher education and better economic opportunities.

The women from these communities have faced further exclusion on the basis of their class, patriarchy and caste, which has played an integral part of in defining their most vulnerable status in their respective society. Dalit women are entitled to the same fundamental rights, including economic rights, as everyone else and the right to enjoy the benefits that come from those rights as an individual. When women are excluded from the formal economy, they remain dependent on their husbands and male relatives, they are denied access to the public domain and control of the resources they rely upon for their own survival and the survival of their dependents.

The people’s assembly brings DWD Dalit communities from the grassroots to engage with DWD communities and experts in different spheres of life from different countries and continents, together in addressing the DWD and Dalit inclusion in development, gender rights and access to justice in Asia and globally.