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DSN-UK’s Annual General Meeting 2021

19th November 2021

This year’s AGM was a relatively quiet affair, though that’s not to say that there wasn’t plenty to be dealt with. Apart from the usual matters of adopting the proposed Annual Report and Accounts for 2020/21, we were delighted to welcome Dr Prerna Tambay to our Board of Trustees. Prerna is an active leader in the Dalit movement, and already a long-standing member of DSN-UK, having contributed to past AGMs. Her specialisation is digitalisation and mobilisation, and she has a particular interest in women’s issues. We were also pleased that Corinne Lennox (Chair), Kate Solomeyina (Treasurer) and Ramani Leatherd were re-elected to the Board, so that the transition period between Directors can continue smoothly.  

Our membership numbers have continued to increase, although raising awareness of all aspects of caste discrimination is an ongoing issue, and we are often preaching to the converted. However, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits has been working hard to keep caste on the agenda. Members have tabled parliamentary questions and debates, including one on Human Rights in India, following the new bilateral trade agreement.   

Unfortunately, our Everyday Casteism project hasn’t been as successful as we would have liked, so DSN-UK is currently working on direct outreach to Higher Education Institutions. Meanwhile, our work on Human Rights and Business remains as important as ever, and through IDSN we have a great relationship with a lot of the UN Rapporteurs, ensuring that casteism is considered in global supply chains.  

The AGM had the pleasure of listening to M. Savio Lourdu from India discussing a litigation case that he is working on, which highlighted the problems of reservation in local elections, and how power is still being abused by the ‘dominant’ castes in communities. Furthermore, he asked the network to ensure that in any discussions between India and the UK, we make sure that our voices are heard over ongoing human rights abuses.  

While the pandemic has affected funding for many charities, it is important to remember that at the grassroots level, Dalits have suffered disproportionately. DSN-UK is proud of our achievements over the last year, and the support of our trustees, patrons, funders and members has been invaluable.  

If there is one thing you can do to help the movement, please remember to use the term ‘safe distancing’ rather than ‘social distancing’. Dalits have experienced several thousand years of ‘social distancing’ already!