Discussion: Caste Discrimination as a Global Human Rights Issue

Dalit Solidarity Network in Finland (DSNFi) and Felm (Suomen Lähetysseura) welcome you to join a discussion focusing on caste discrimination as a global human rights problem. The keynote speaker of the event is Ms. Meena Varma, Executive Chair of the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) and Director of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN UK). The event will be organised on Wednesday 21 March at 14.30–16.30 in the hall 28 in the Metsätalo building of the University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 40).

Caste discrimination affects an estimated 260 million people globally, the majority living in South Asia. Discrimination is also experienced among South-Asian diaspora around the world, e.g. in the UK. Similar forms of discrimination also exist in Japan, Yemen and some African countries.

Caste systems divide people into unequal and hierarchical social groups. Those at the bottom are considered impure and they are subjected to “untouchability” practices. “Untouchables” –known in South Asia as Dalits –face discrimination in every aspect of their lives and are often assigned the most dirty and hazardous jobs.

The International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) was founded in 2000 to advocate for Dalit human rights and to raise awareness of Dalit issues nationally and internationally. The network has had a significant impact on the internationalisation of caste discrimination as a critical human rights issue. The Dalit Solidarity Network UK (The DSN UK) is a campaigning and advocacy organisation working on caste in the UK. The DSN UK has campaigned many years for outlawing caste discrimination in the UK.

Program of the event:
• Opening words: Ms. Tytti Matsinen, Human Rights Adviser, Felm
• Keynote speech: Ms. Meena Varma, Executive Chair of the IDSN and Director of the DSN UK
• Commentary: Ms. Anu Vasamies-Hackenbruch, Manager, Development cooperation in Nepal, Felm
• Commentary: Dr Kaari Mattila, Secretary-General, Finnish League for Human Rights
• Free discussion

Date and time: Wednesday 21 March at 14.30–16.30
Venue: the hall 28 in the Metsätalo building of the University of Helsinki (Unioninkatu 40)

No registration (there are 30 sitting places in the hall).

The organizers:
The Dalit Solidarity Network in Finland (DSNFi) is a volunteer-based, registered organization. It advocates and raises awareness for the elimination of caste discrimination. dalit.fi

Felm is an international actor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and one of the biggest development NGOs in Finland. Felm has supported Dalits in Nepal almost 40 years through its projects. suomenlahetysseura.fi