Monthly Archives: October 2020

Director of DSN-UK to step down to lead global network

26th October 2020

Dalit Solidarity Network UK are sad to announce the departure of our Director, Meena Varma, who has been at the helm of our organisation for over 13 years. As some of you will know, she has been working full-time for both DSN-UK and our sister organisation, the International Dalit Solidarity Network, for the last few years, dedicating a huge amount of her time to keeping both charities running effectively. She has now decided that it is time to focus her efforts on IDSN and ensure that the issues of caste-based discrimination are kept on the agenda on the global stage. Under her directorship she has played a significant role in trying to implement legislative change to the Equality Act 2010, assisted in setting up the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits, and run a number of incredibly successful campaigns that have raised awareness throughout the UK. Her expertise has been called upon by numerous parliamentarians, journalists and activists, and her wealth of knowledge, unflagging energy and absolute passion for justice will be sorely missed. We wish her the very best of luck for the future.

Our Chair, Dr Corinne Lennox, has written a note about Meena and her contributions, which you will find below.

Launch of DSN-UK Report Everyday Casteism campaign

19th October 2020

Today DSN-UK is launching our ‘Report Everyday Casteism’ campaign to collect evidence of caste-based discrimination and casteist hate speech in the UK experienced by non-dominant caste people. Our dedicated webpage has a succinct reporting form with an option to remain anonymous. Everyone who has faced casteist behaviour in the UK is encouraged to submit incidents that might be serious or negligible, very offensive or so minor and normalised that you do not even give it much thought or feel the need to protest.

DSN-UK together with other like-minded organisations in the UK campaigned to include caste in the Equality Act 2010. However, after the public consultation on caste, the UK government announced its decision to repeal the duty in the Equality Act 2010 to make caste an explicit aspect of race discrimination. Since then, MP Bob Blackman has been pushing to ensure this is done as soon as possible.

We have often faced the challenge of providing enough concrete evidence on how widespread the issue of caste-based discrimination is in the UK. At the last DSN-UK Annual General Meeting suggestions were made of looking at the possibility of collecting everyday casteist incidents that may not reach courts or mass media attention. A catalogue of reported casteist incidents will strengthen our campaign by allowing us to illustrate how casteist behaviour manifests in the UK and what type of legislative or policy protections are needed to protect the victims and prevent such incidents in the future.

Report Everyday Casteism in the UK now and encourage others to do the same.