News

Californian case of caste-based discrimination re-awakens the need for specific legislation in the West

28th July 2020

For those who doubt the existence of caste-based discrimination among the South Asian diaspora, a case in America has revealed just how insidious it is. California regulators have decided to sue Cisco Systems over alleged caste discrimination perpetrated by two Indian-American employees against a third. Whilst US employment law doesn’t include caste discrimination, The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has filed a lawsuit against the tech company, claiming that they did not act on the victim’s report of harassment. Cisco have argued that caste discrimination is not illegal, but perhaps this might encourage a landmark ruling, much like [..]

READ MORE

DfID and FCO to be merged

9th July 2020

On 16 June Boris Johnson announced that the Department for International Development (DfID) will be merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), under the rebranded department name of the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. Due to be formally established in September, the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will head up the new department while International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will remain only until the merger is completed. Why does this matter? Well, let’s start with the fact that no consultation was made with the UK’s international development and humanitarian sector, who firmly believe that DfID is the most transparent and [..]

READ MORE

UK’s Largest Indian Dating Website removes Question on Skin Tone

23rd June 2020

We reported in our spring newsletter that an Asian dating website was responsible by means of an algorithm to exclude Scheduled Castes (Dalits) from certain matches. Shaadi.com, a marriage site for the Indian community in the UK, the US and elsewhere, is back in the headlines again. Originally, subscribers to the website were asked how dark or light their skin tone was – it is commonly believed that a darker skin tone denotes a lower caste and that lighter skin tones are more desirable. Following the Black Lives Matter movement, a subscriber from the US started a petition to remove [..]

READ MORE

6 States in India Change their Labour Laws at Significant Cost to Workers and their Rights

16th June 2020

Labour laws are considered to be one of the most important tools in protecting the workforce from exploitation, ensuring anything from the maximum number of working hours to health and safety at work. Why, then, are some states in India throwing out the rulebooks? Supposedly this is in response to assisting the economy in recovering from the Covid-19 crisis, while some have suggested that it may be an attempt to steal back some of the cheap labour market from China. Regardless of the reason, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are all making changes that contravene [..]

READ MORE

The Disproportionate Effects of Covid-19 on Dalits

7th May 2020

The UK is mostly an incredibly generous population – even in this time of crisis where job uncertainty is rife and financial security is a thing of the past, we continue to donate not just to causes in the UK, but also those across the world who require help to deal with Covid-19 and its implications. However, in caste-affected countries, history has taught us that when it comes to distributing aid, Dalits are often those most in need and those most often denied access to relief and state benefits. They may already be living in highly crowded spaces with limited [..]

READ MORE