2024-02-17 00:00:00
09:00AM – 11:30 AM (Nepali Time)
Organizer : Asia Dalit Rights Forum (ADRF)
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Towards a Declaration of the Rights of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (CDWD) including the Dalits

Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (CDWD) including the Dalits do not share a common history or origin, but a common scarring by the social structures that ascribe a permanent status of devalued personhood and require the performance of stigmatized and exploitative forms of labor. Although this mode of oppression diminishes the life chances of well over two hundred and seventy million people around the world, which would make up the 5th largest country in the world, their condition has yet to be fully recognized by the global community including the United Nations and its institutions.


Similar to the discrimination based on caste among the Dalits in Asia, the phenomenon of descent and work-based discrimination is common, enforced through complex cultural beliefs and behavioural systems in Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America. The Haratins in Africa, the Roma/Romani in Europe, the Burakumin in Japan, and the Quilombolas in Brazil are a small selection of various groups who experience oppression through discrimination on work and descent. CDWD are vulnerable to routine forms of human rights violations against them. In addition, exclusion, sexual and gender-based violence, the enslavement of women and girls, and control of their reproductive rights are common enforcement mechanisms of the imposed “social order” for all CDWD. Many of these countries do not have proper policies to address these concerns.


CDWD are considered lesser human beings culturally whether in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or Europe due to the stratified social systems which are hierarchical. They are forced into manual and menial work and their labour is highly devalued. Many of them receive subsistence forms of wages, though they possess exceptional skills and knowledge of the work. They are discriminated against in various ways at workplaces, including denial of proper wages, employment opportunities, basic civic amenities, and places of stay. Most of these forms of discrimination against CDWD are pre-colonial and the governments in various countries are not actively engaged in executing proper policies and welfare mechanisms to remove these barriers.


Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD) is a collective to voice the rights and entitlements of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. GFoD calls for justice and the protection of CDWD and demands their rights to be free from discrimination, violence, and exclusion. Acknowledging that discrimination based on work and descent affects more than 270 million persons spread across all continents, including women. Children, LGBTQI and disproportionally affects children and youth, GFoD is working towards addressing the concerns by having a UN Declaration framed for the rights of CDWD including Dalits.

The draft resolution on the rights of CDWD including Dalits has been prepared in consultation with UN experts, academics, CSOs, and key stakeholders. The declaration strongly condemns discrimination based on work and descent and its analogous forms and seeks inclusive and equal opportunities to CDWD including the rights to equal/proportional political participation and governance, access to justice, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, ownership of land, access to public and social services, etc. among others.


The declaration has shared previously with the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) in October 2023 and the NGO Forum of the Commission adopted it. The declaration urges all Member States of the UN to acknowledge the existence of discrimination based on work and descent as a distinct form of discrimination that deserves the attention of the international community and affects descent-based discriminated communities around the world.


Meeting and its Purpose:

Asia Dalit Rights Forum (ADRF) along with GFoD will be holding an event along with its member organizations from all South Asian regions at the World Social Forum (WSF) 2024 on 17 February 2024 to deliberate on the proposed declaration. The primary focus of this meeting is to discuss the proposed declaration. The meeting aims to engage in thoughtful deliberations, articulate and manifest necessary provisions to address Dalit and CDWD concerns, and actively seek support and solidarity. The ultimate aim is to demand a United Nations Declaration on the Rights of CDWD that ensures global protection of rights and establishes the legitimacy of all CDWD individuals worldwide.


Methodology and Session Plan:

The program will be two and a half hours, and more than 200 participants are expected to participate from different parts of the world. The program shall be a combination of a keynote address along with a draft declaration,  panel discussion, Q&A, and call to action as key takeaways.

  1. Opening Session
  • Welcome and Introduction by ADRF and GFoD representatives
  • Overview of the event’s purpose and objectives
  • Keynote address by a prominent advocate for human rights and social justice
  • Presentation of the Proposed Declaration
    • Detailed presentation of the draft resolution on the rights of CDWD
    • Explanation of the consultation process with UN experts, academics, CSOs, and other key stakeholders
    • Highlighting the endorsement by the NGO Forum of the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights.
    • The need for similar discussions at different regional forums
    • Why CSOs are relevant in the discussion
  1. Statement and contributions by the penal members
  • Perspectives of  South Asian countries,
  • Invited other key panel members i.e. WSF-NOC, WSF-IC, other platforms etc.


  1. Discussions and Deliberations (floor open for the questions and concerns)
  • Interactive sessions with participants, including representatives from CDWD communities, NGOs, individuals, and other stakeholders
  • Addressing questions and concerns raised by participants
  • Discussions on SDG indicators, government engagement, UN special mechanism, and civil society involvement
  1.  Responses and Conclusions
  • Respond to the concerns raised by the participants
  • Concluding remarks and calls to action
  • Invitation for continued collaboration and engagement beyond the event


Expected Outcomes of the event:

Increased Awareness and Recognition of CDWD Concerns: The event aims to raise awareness and recognition of the discrimination faced by CDWD, including Dalits, on a global scale. The goal is to highlight the widespread nature of this issue and garner acknowledgment from all stakeholders.

Deliberation on the Proposed Declaration: Participants are expected to engage in thoughtful discussions to articulate and manifest necessary provisions that address the concerns and rights of CDWD. The expected outcome is a refined and comprehensive declaration that condemns discrimination based on work and descent.


Solidarity and Support: The event is expected to actively seek support and solidarity from various stakeholders, including civil society organizations (CSOs), and the wider public. The ultimate aim is to build a global coalition that advocates for the rights of CDWD and works towards ending discrimination of all forms.


Specific Recommendations for SDGs: The deliberation is expected to identify and address the needs and concerns of CDWD by calling for specific indicators in the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This outcome will contribute to filling significant gaps that currently exclude CDWD from the UN’s vision for a sustainable and equitable future.


Call for Civil Society Engagement: The meeting seeks to urge the wider civil society to actively engage in ‘Undoing Discrimination on Work and Descent.’ This outcome aims to mobilize support beyond the event, encouraging ongoing efforts to combat discrimination and promote the rights of CDWD.