Norm Entrepreneurship at the UN - Dalits and Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent

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Paul Divakar Namala


Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings. However, caste-based discrimination is one of the areas that most human rights mechanisms overlook. As a result of several interventions by Dalit and human rights organisations, the erstwhile United Nations body, in 2000, has termed it ‘discrimination based on work and descent’. The above Dalit and other International organisations have also brought evidence before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which has endorsed caste-based discrimination as part of the discrimination based on descent, in Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Further, it was also brought to the notice of various Special Rapporteurs and UN Committees that communities discriminated on work and descent (CDWD) face severe human rights violations and abuses that continue to restrain the socio-economic development of these specific groups of people in several countries globally. Dalit organizations and their solidarity bodies have gone ahead through a process of ‘norm entrepreneurship’ at the UN levels. This article narrates and analyses the challenges and human rights consequences of caste and discrimination based on work and discusses the norm entrepreneurship journey of Dalits and CDWD at the UN level.

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How to Cite
Namala, P. (2021). Norm Entrepreneurship at the UN - Dalits and Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent. CASTE / A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 2(2), 235-264.
Research Articles