Key Issues

While the situation of Dalits and other "untouchable" groups vary greatly, some problems are common -...

While the situation of Dalits and other “untouchable” groups vary greatly, some problems are common – click on the links to read more about each issue on the International Dalit Solidarity Network website:


Dalit Women

Dalit women are especially vulnerable to verbal abuse, physical assault, sexual harassment, rape, and domestic violence as a result of caste as well as gender discrimination.

Dalit Children

Dalit Children

New report indicated that low caste children suffer in India’s cottonseed industry. Dalit girls’ work in modern slavery conditions in textile industry in India.

Education discrimination

Discrimination in Education

Discrimination against Dalits in the educational system is a widespread problem, and illiteracy and drop-out rates among Dalits are very high due to a number of social and physical factors.


Manual Scavenging

Dalits are often forced to make their living through this vile, inhuman and outlawed practice of removing human excrement from dry toilets and sewers using only basic tools.

Political participation

Political participation

As a result of their social marginalisation, Dalits are often limited from equal and meaningful political participation.

Access to justice

Access to justice

Even though legal mechanisms to protect the rights of Dalits exist, atrocities against Dalits are committed with impunity as implementation of legislation remains alarmingly weak and insufficient.

Caste and business

Caste and business

Business operations in caste-affected countries are at a high risk of being based on the economic exploitation or seclusion of caste-affected communities and others at the “low” end of the caste hierarchy.

Forced prostitution IDSN

Forced Prostitution

Many Dalit women have been forced into sexual slavery or suffer systematic sexual abuse by dominant castes.

Pakistan WFP

Humanitarian Aid

Research indicates that Dalits are discriminated against when receiving humanitarian aid in an aftermath of disasters.

Caste-based slavery

Caste-based slavery

Despite being prohibited in many countries, slavery is widespread in South Asia. Forced and bonded labour, resulting in a loss of control over labour conditions and terms of work, is often interlinked with the caste system and related types of customary feudal agricultural relationships.

Photos by Jakob Carlsen