GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION AGAINST
--Report from Isis International-Manila
||Human rights organisations
around the world staged protest actions on 3 July 2001 to
raise public awareness and pressure governments to
address the problem of caste-- an ugly daily phenomenon
faced by more than 260 million Dalits, the lowest caste,
in caste-based societies in South Asia.
Along with the question of Palestinian
occupation, caste-based discrimination has been
identified by Asia-Pacific NGOs as priority issues when
governments meet up for the World Conference against
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related
Intolerance (WCAR), which will be held from 31 August to
7 September 2001 in Durban city, South Africa.
||The exclusion of the caste
issue from the official documents that will be presented
in WCAR has triggered concern among human rights
activists, who organised the 3 July campaign.
In the Philippines, the campaign was led
by the Philippine NGO WCAR Committee, a coalition of
non-government organisations who are in the forefront of
advocating the rights of women, migrant workers,
indigenous peoples, religious and ethnic minorities,
"After about a half hour,
of us chanting and beating on drums and different people reading
out our letter and other statements, the ambassador asked us to
. We managed to also plaster the gates of the embassy
with all of our posters and slogans"
George, ISIS International
|Members of the Philippine NGO
Committee staged a picket before high noon in front of
the Indian Embassy located in lush Dasmariņas Village,
Makati City to protest the Indian governments
stance to exclude the caste issue in the official agenda
of the WCAR. The demonstration lasted for almost an hour,
with protestors chanting slogans such as "Caste out
caste" "What do we want? Justice for the
Dalits!" and reading out load the petition letter
and press statement outside the embassys gates.
Some representatives from media were present to cover
news and shoot photos.
Alerted by the embassy, village security
guards did not allow entry to a number of protestors and media
Follow-up activities such as showing of
the film about caste "Lesser Humans," school campaigns,
radio and television guestings, mass mobilisations and other
advocacy activities will be conducted within the next few weeks.
The members of the Philippine NGO WCAR
Committee are: the Asian Womens Human Rights Council,
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia and the Pacific,
KAKAMMPI, Kanlungan, Migrants Forum Asia, Womens
International League for Peace and Freedom, and Isis
Posted on 2001-07-18