Related LinksMore on Dalits in India
Minorities at the UN: Ensure Dalit women's political participation in India
Lee Macqueen of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, represented Dalit women in the recent UN Forum on Minority issues, focusing on Dalit women’s political participation in local governance. She took the floor to highlight the obstacles faced by the marginalized community.
Macqueen states that even though one-third of the seats in local government offices or panchayats, are reserved for women, amongst the Dalit community women representatives act little more than representatives for their husbands or male relatives. Their need to earn a livelihood deprives them of taking part in the panchayats. She also argues that Dalit women are deemed to be ’lower’ in social status and lack the information, negotiating skills and self-confidence needed in political representation due to low levels of education.
Amongst its recommendations to the UN, NCDHR argues for the need for Special Procedures to work with local Indian organisations to take up the issue of violence against Dalit women in local governance and for the Human Rights Council to create a Special Procedure on Discrimination on the Basis of Work and Descent. Read the full NCDHR statement here.