In South Asia poverty persists alongside growing wealth. A disproportionate number of those in extreme poverty are Dalits. Poverty, inequality and caste are deeply enmeshed, yet there is little appetite to address caste oppression in the international development community.
Caste-based discrimination remains one of the world’s worst and least addressed injustices, affecting the life chances of many millions of people and involving violence, untouchability and humiliation. This is despite the fact that South Asian governments have made caste discrimination illegal, and introduced various provisions and protections for Dalits.
In recent years, Dalits who have protested, claimed their rights, or struggled for dignity have often faced brutal reprisal. The issue of caste injustice has been silenced in wider national and international communities. It is assumed that caste inequality is an internal matter of culture and religion and that it will be erased by the forces of market economy and modernisation.
But the evidence seems to be against this. Research shows how caste is an ongoing aspect of modern economies, shaping labour markets, access to services, health, education, opportunity and well-being.
As the development of Sustainable Development Goals refocuses international attention on social inclusion and human rights for all, it is time to examine the relationship between caste and development.
It is in this context that a group of UK INGOs in collaboration with SOAS South Asia Institute decided to organise a one-day conference to shed light on the issue and generate debate:
- Is caste a continuing force in South Asian economy and society?
- Does caste injustice create economic discrimination today?
- How do the effects of caste and gender intersect?
- How has caste discrimination been challenged?
- What role do international development agencies have?
Our speakers include prominent academics and practitioners from the sub-continent who will share their insights with an audience from the UK/international development community. The event will bring together key world-leading researchers on caste, economy and development, the principal campaigners exposing the reality of caste-based discrimination and caste-gender intersections, and leaders and experts from organisations working practically for development with economic justice and Dalit human rights.
The conference will throw light on a subject that has been kept in the shadows. It will offer expertise for shaping appropriate policy on caste injustice, poverty and development by different development agencies.
This is a conference of vital importance to every organisation with an interest in development in South Asia – and beyond, since in today’s interconnected world caste-based discrimination is an issue of global importance.
It will be an interactive conference, with plenty of opportunity to contribute your own thoughts and experiences.
Caste – out of the shadows
Date: 5 September 2015Time: 9:00 AM
Finishes: 5 September 2015Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Brunei GalleryRoom: Brunie Gallery Lecture Theatre and Suite
Type of Event: Conference
Book and get more information from here.