Slide1 l.jpg
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 30

Securing Dalit Rights: The Case for Affirmative Action in the ‘New Nepal’ PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 353 Views
  • Updated On :
  • Presentation posted in: Travel / Places

“. ”. Securing Dalit Rights: The Case for Affirmative Action in the ‘New Nepal’. Suvash Darnal Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow National Endowment for Democracy 12 February 2009.

Download Presentation

Securing Dalit Rights: The Case for Affirmative Action in the ‘New Nepal’

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript


Slide1 l.jpg


Slide2 l.jpg

Securing Dalit Rights:

The Case for Affirmative Action in the ‘New Nepal’

Suvash Darnal

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

National Endowment for Democracy

12 February 2009

The views expressed in this presentation represent the analysis and opinions of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for Democracy or its staff.


Slide3 l.jpg

Part I: Background InformationPart II: The Case for Affirmative Action Part III: Means of Implementation

Presentation Outline


Slide4 l.jpg

PART I: Background Information


Population distribution of dalits l.jpg

Population Distribution of Dalits

Source: Harka Gurung


Caste pyramid 1854 civil code l.jpg

Caste Pyramid (1854 Civil Code)

The area showing different groups does not represent population size. Darker shade shows the Hindu caste groups.

Source: World Bank/DFID, Unequal Citizens: Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal (2006).


Dalit movement in nepal l.jpg

Dalit Movement in Nepal

  • Over 3,500 years of caste-based discrimination in South Asia

  • Buddha was the first to voice concerns about discrimination in Hindu society

  • 1846–1950: Dalit resistance begins during the Rana regime and slowly builds momentum

  • 1947: Important Dalit organizations are founded

  • 1954: 700 demonstrators arrested at Pashupati Temple


Dalit movement in nepal cont d l.jpg

Dalit Movement in Nepal (cont’d)

  • 1960–1990: During Panchayat regime, the movement is largely underground and localized

    • The word ‘Dalit’ is banned

    • Many are tortured and killed by state security forces

  • 1996: The People’s War (Civil War)

  • 2006: Dalits assist in organizing the People’s Movement

    • Attempts to establish democracy and peace process

    • Large-scale mobilization against the monarchy

  • 2008: Involvement in Constituent Assembly


Understanding affirmative action l.jpg

Understanding Affirmative Action

About 50 democratic countries—including the US, UK, Canada, France, India, South Africa, and Brazil—have implemented various forms of affirmative action to empower disadvantaged groups.

  • Distributive justice

  • Positive discrimination

  • Preferential policy

  • Reservation or quota system

  • Substantive equality


Reflections on affirmative action l.jpg

Reflections on Affirmative Action

“You do not take a person…bring him up to the starting line of a race and say, 'you are free to compete with all the others,' and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.”

–President Lyndon B. Johnson

“In the context of Nepal, we are not thinking about affirmative action in a “traditional way.” We established this agenda through the movement and struggle. It should deal with the socio-economic, cultural and political problems facing Nepali Dalits. It concerns the rights of Dalits, rather than charity from the state.”

–Aahuti, Activist and member of Constituent Assembly


Part ii the case for affirmative action l.jpg

Part II: The Case for Affirmative Action


Five reasons for affirmative action l.jpg

Five Reasons for Affirmative Action

  • Freedom from Discrimination is a Fundamental Human Right (International Legal Obligations)

  • National Legal Obligations

  • Poverty and Structural Inequality

  • Political Participation and Inclusive Democracy

  • Conflict and Aftermath of Civil War


Slide13 l.jpg

I. Freedom from Discrimination is a Fundamental Human Right

  • Untouchability exists in all sectors of Nepali life

  • Dalits face 205 types of discrimination

  • Entrance to temples, educational institutions, homes, hotels, and restaurants is restricted

  • Dalits cannot conduct religious services, nor can they wear the “sacred thread”

  • Access to common resources–like water–is denied

  • Participation in public activities and governmental functions disallowed


Slide14 l.jpg

I. Freedom from Discrimination is a Fundamental Human Right (cont’d)

  • Prevalence of Jadau system and “practice of obeisance”

  • Mass rape of Dalit women

  • Inter-caste marriage is prohibited: If a high-caste member marries a Dalit of either sex, he or she is ostracized

  • Children of higher-caste groups will not attend schools that employ Dalit teachers or staff


Slide15 l.jpg

I. Freedom from Discrimination is a Fundamental Human Right (cont’d)

International Legal Obligations:

  • International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

  • Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)


Ii national legal obligations l.jpg

II. National Legal Obligations

Interim Constitution of Nepal (2007):

“To carry out an inclusive, democratic, and progressive

restructuring of the State…in order to address the problems related to women, Dalits, indigenous tribes, Madhesis, oppressed and minority community and other disadvantaged groups, by eliminating ,class, caste, language, sex, culture, religion and regional discriminations.”

  • 2005: 12-Point Agreement of the 7-Party Alliance

  • 2006: Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)

  • Agreement between Nepali government and Madhese Jana Adhidkar Forum, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, and various other political and social groups


Iii poverty and structural inequality l.jpg

III. Poverty and Structural Inequality

  • Average annual income of Dalits: US $764.00

  • Average life expectancy: 50 years

  • 80% of Dalit population are landless

  • Forced and bonded labor causes unfair division of workforce

  • Discriminatory hiring practices

  • Displacement from traditional occupations


Iii poverty and structural inequality cont d l.jpg

III. Poverty and Structural Inequality(cont’d)

  • The 9th Plan (1997) and 10th Plan (2002):

    • Recognizes social exclusion as main cause of poverty

    • Addresses deprivation suffered by women, certain caste and ethnic groups, and people in remote areas

    • 1985: Brahman/Chhetri’s participation in public service was 70%; by 2004, it had reached 90%


Slide19 l.jpg

III. Poverty and Structural Inequality (cont’d)

Poverty by caste and ethnicity

Source: World Bank/DFID, Unequal Citizens: Gender, Caste and Ethnic Exclusion in Nepal (2006).


Iv political participation and inclusive democracy l.jpg

IV. Political Participation and Inclusive Democracy

  • Dalits occupy less than 1% of senior political posts

  • Dalit issues are addressed on an ad hoc basis

  • Government implements “caste discrimination–free areas” in 1963, 2001, 2007, and 2009, but does not have positive effects

  • No mechanism in place to include Dalits in political, governmental, or social affairs


Iv political participation and inclusive democracy cont d l.jpg

IV. Political Participation and Inclusive Democracy (cont’d)

Caste composition of Nepali Parliament:1992–2008

Source: Suvash Darnal, Dalit Agenda in the Constituent Assembly (2009)


V conflict and aftermath of civil war l.jpg

V. Conflict and Aftermath of Civil War

  • Out of 19,000 members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), an estimated 7,000 are Dalits

  • Dalits heavily participated in the insurgency that toppled Nepal’s monarchy, leading to 1,100 deaths, and thousands to be displaced and hundreds “disappeared”

  • Excluding Dalits from political processes following the end of the civil war will cause additional strife


Part iii means of implementation l.jpg

Part III: Means of Implementation


Proposed policies for the inclusion of dalits l.jpg

Proposed Policies for the Inclusion of Dalits

  • Economic Empowerment

  • Proportional Representation

  • Legal Protection

  • Education

  • Employment


Proposed policies for the inclusion of dalits25 l.jpg

Proposed Policies for the Inclusion of Dalits

I. Economic Empowerment:

  • Land reform

  • Occupational training and technologies

  • Shares in national and international companies

  • Loan system for small businesses

  • Support and encourage co-operatives


Proposed policies for the inclusion of dalits cont d l.jpg

Proposed Policies for the Inclusion of Dalits (cont’d)

II. Proportional Representation:

  • Implement a proportional electoral system

  • In local villages, district and federal levels, and in parliament—both the upper and lower houses

  • Government ministries, commissions and departments


Proposed policies for the inclusion of dalits cont d27 l.jpg

Proposed Policies for the Inclusion of Dalits (cont’d)

III. Legal Protection:

  • Incorporate Dalit rights in the new Constitution

  • Declare discrimination a crime against humanity

  • Introduce new legislation concerning atrocities committed against Dalits

  • Legalize and encourage inter-caste marriage


Proposed policies for the inclusion of dalits cont d28 l.jpg

Proposed Policies for the Inclusion of Dalits (cont’d)

IV. Education:

  • Fund scholarships at all levels of education

  • Prioritize training at technical universities

  • Reform and revise school curricula

    V. Employment:

  • Allocate 15% of seats in government, the police, and army, as well as a certain number of private sector jobs, to Dalits


Proposed institutional framework l.jpg

Proposed Institutional Framework


Implement lessons learned from around the world l.jpg

Implement Lessons Learned from around the World

  • Be mindful of context and resulting justifications

  • Clearly define and identify disadvantages in society

  • Create and then prioritize a “designated category”

  • Target specific sectors—for instance, the economy, education, and political participation

  • Establish a time frame for improvement

  • Monitor and accurately measure progress


  • Login