Dalit Solidarity Network UK campaigns against the atrocities, humiliation and poverty that over 260 million Dalits suffer due to caste discrimination


Where is it found

Among the communities severely affected by caste discrimination are the Dalits of South Asia, in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, an estimated three million Burakumin in Japan, ‘caste people’ in West Africa and various communities in other African countries. Caste discrimination can also be found among the widespread Indian diaspora – so states a Working Paper prepared pursuant to a resolution by the UN Sub-commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights – including in East and South Africa, Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, the Middle East, Malaysia, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and North America.

All these communities, diverse in geographical and historical origin, share some key characteristics.Among these are:

  • The concept of ‘purity-pollution’, with certain social groups being regarded as ‘dirty’, and contact with them as being ritually or actually polluting;
  • An inherited occupational role, typically the most menial and hazardous roles within the society;
  • Inability or restricted ability to alter inherited status;
  • Socially enforced restrictions on inter-marriage;
  • Segregation in location of living areas, and in access to and use of public places
  • Subjection to debt bondage
  • Generalised lack of respect for their human dignity and equality

Caste discrimination occuring in multiple societies in Asia, most notably in South Asia. Can be represented as follows: These are not official statistics (with the exception of India) but estimates:

India – 167 million or 15-20 percent of total population (the actual number of affected people is more likely closer to 200 million)

Pakistan – App. 2 million or 1,20 percent of total population

Bangladesh – App. 4,5 million or 3-4 percent of total population

Nepal – App. 4,5 million or 15-20 percent of population

Sri Lanka – App. 4-5 million or 20-30 percent of total population

Japan – App. 3 million or 2-3 percent of total population

Diaspora communities : Europe, North America, Asia, Pacific.

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