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Swadhikar | International advocacy
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International advocacy

#DalitWomenFight against Caste-Based Violence- United Nations Human Rights Council 38 on 21st June 2018, 12:00 – 13.30 at Room XXVII, Palais de Nations, Geneva

At the UNHRC 38,  #DalitWomenFight against  Caste-Based Violence on 21st June 2018, activists from India released a campaign video and a report :‘Voices against Caste Impunity: Narratives of Dalit women in India’. The campaign has presented barriers to justice encountered by survivors and their families through witness accounts of few cases from Haryana and Rajasthan. The event presented before the international human rights community about the unchallenged state impunity in India, challenges and proposed strategies for the way forward.

The event attempted to locate new footholds for Dalit women to actively engage and build pressure within the UN system.

AWID Forum -AWID is an international, feminist, membership organisation committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. At the 13th AWID forum,on 9th September, 2016 at Gardenia, Brazil, The All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch organised a panel on how crime prevention and justice system have failed to deliver justice to Dalit women. The strong caste bias and prejudices of the judiciary combined with state apathy, weak economic condition and the feudal caste system  act as barriers in access and dispensation of justice for Dalit women. “When all these apparatuses have failed, where do we look to or who do we approach to access justice and protection for Dalit women?” We insisted on the need to form strong solidarity with women from similar experiences to reframe feminist articulations based on inclusion and most importantly from the experiences/articulations of the most marginalized.

June 2017 Human Rights Council, Geneva – Asha Zechariah and Christina Dhanaraj from AIDMAM organised the joint stakeholders workshop and met representatives from Norwegian Mission, OHCHR, ISHR and members of the Canadian Mission. With a wide range of experiences in the arena of International Advocacy, the team was keen on finding niche areas for concrete action with the objective of locating high impact and feasible options. Issues pertaining to Dalit women requiring intersectional approaches were the key linking factor to every engagement during this time.The team has taken back important learning’s and also a proper assessment of what can/should be done both in a long and short term.

3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum (APFF) – Chaing Mei, Thailand

In September 2017 feminists from Asia Pacific, joined Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) members and allies to strengthen our movements, our solidarity and our resolve to dismantle economic, social and political systems that produce obscene levels of inequality, drive climate change and necessitate violations of women’s human rights. The 3rd Asia Pacific Feminist Forum was a participatory event bringing together activists, women human rights defenders, academics, lawyers, and global allies. The forum facilitated the sharing of tools and resources, provided space for advocacy, strengthened capacities and invited over 300 feminists to collectively strategies to build our power in the era of authoritarian, patriarchal, late capitalism.

The AIDMAM team conducted a workshop at the APFF forum – #dalitwomenfight – educate. organise. Agitate. Through this workshop, women leaders from our movement presented on the systemic problems of India’s caste epidemic and the culture of impunity which increases the risk of backlash violence and surveillance. AIDMAM team shared experiences and analysis of  Dalit women’s struggle and the intersections of caste, gender, economic injustice and hetero-patriarchy. The team also shared about multiple strategies of engagement from the rural villages of India to the world stage adopted to highlight Dalit womens’ issues.

UN Minority forum – At the 10th session of the UN Minority forum held in Geneva in Dec 2017,  Anjum Singh, AIDMAM activist was invited as one of three panelists to speak on Minority Youth and Media:Acceptance and Opportunity. This panel discussion examined the challenges and opportunities offered by digital media technologies for minority youth, and young women in particular, to exercise and defend their rights. Participants spoke on how digital space can be used by various national and international institutions to challenge the dominant narratives in the traditional mainstream media and give a new voice to minority youth in the media landscape. The Panel discussion was moderated by Ms. Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, former Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and member elect to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Hungary) along with three young experts Ms. Marina Shupac, journalist and OHCHR Moldova Minority Fellow Coordinator (Moldova), Mr. Jonathan Jackson, Co-founder of Blavity.com (United States of America) and Ms. Anju, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. It is notable that  Anju is the first dalit woman to speak in the UN Minority forum. Anju highlighted how alternative media channels run by youth from marginalised communities and social media access are useful to counter hegemonies of mainstream media. She also highlighted cyber crimes and harassment that she has had to face as a young dalit women leader who articulates such issues on online forums.