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Dalit Rights in New Constitution

Regional Level Consultations completed with the representatives of women, marginalized communities, Dalit community, political leaders/cadres, Dalit activists, intellectuals, CA members, and other community people at Four-Development Regions (Siraha, Kaski, Dang and Dadeldhura). A total of 309 participants from regional consultations have interacted with more than 1800 local people and Dalit organizations based on booklet and materials produced. Lobbying visit and submission of memorandum to the major political parties’ leaders have been made to incorporate the issues of Dalit rights in new constitution. There are total 389 (Male-289 and Female-100) participants in the different activities of the project. Dalits and non-Dalits have been organized and mobilized to support the issues of Dalit rights. Public awareness raised on constitutional rights of Dalit. As efforts and networks made through this project are continued to promote Dalit rights in the future, Dalit activists and people from community level will be mobilized accordingly until the constitution is promulgated in terms of raising the voice of Dalit rights.

Press conference and submission of memorandum to leader of major political parties were made to create a pressure for authorized body to guarantee Dalit rights in new constitution. Most of the leaders and participants expressed their view to do strong lobby and advocacy with concerned authorities and political parties in terms of incorporating the issues of Dalit rights and representation. Top leaders of political parties have provided their commitment to incorporate the issues of Dalit rights and meaningful representation in new constitution.

A one-day Regional Level Workshop conducted on the issue of ‘Ensuring Dalit Rights in New Constitution’ at Biratnagar and Dhangadi on 21st and 24th of September 2014 respectively. These workshops aimed to sensitize the Dalit community and political activists with the Dalit agenda to support ensuring Dalit rights in the new constitution. The participants were mainly from the Civil Society Organizations and political parties working on the issues of Dalits and other excluded groups; subject experts, academicians, lawyers, government representatives and media persons. The workshop on “Issue of Ensuring Dalit Rights in New Constitution” at Biratnagar on 19th Sep 2014 participated seventy-seven (77) Dalit activists, representatives of political parties, journalists, government officials, and civil society representatives were present in the workshop. Nineteen (19) of them were women. Workshops provided a guidance to make collective efforts for representation, safeguarding and establishing the achievements of the already agreed points of fundamental rights of Dalits in the CA-I the aspects of Dalits need to be continued. Based on the suggestions and opinions put forwarded in the workshops, it is imperative to discuss on some of the steps for initiating the advocacy campaign to promote and ensure Dalit rights until new constitution is publicized.

The effort of promoting Dalit Rights in new constitution has provided a common understanding & commitments among the CA members and civil society members on Dalit issues and collectively identifying the way forward. Whatever issues or matters concerning Dalit community have been included in the preliminary drafts of the Constitution so far, they are significant. It has also created the basis for providing inputs to the draft constitution during public consultation. Those valuable suggestions and recommendations on Common Agenda of Dalit Community in New Constitution are expected to incorporate in the constitution while giving final shape. Constitutional guarantee of Dalit rights and opportunities for the next generation will be ensured. With the advent of republicanism in Nepal, an inclusive restructuring of the State, along with the institutionalization of the federal republic, has become necessary. This requires a proportional electoral system for elections, and a pro-people constitution should be written in which the rights of the Dalit people are mentioned.
 

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Jana Utthan Pratisthan (JUP) is a national organization which campaigns for the human rights of the Dalit community. Since its inception it has been raising a voice against racial, caste, work and decent based discrimination. Mass media and advocacy campaigns have been central to the organisations pursuit of its vision of an "Equitable and non-discriminatory Nepali society". JUP has been successful in lobbing against caste, work and decent base discrimination with national and international bodies. JUP gained Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the UN in 2007 in recognition of its human rights work with the Dalit community in Nepal.

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Jana Utthan Pratisthan

GPO Box:7017

Jawlakhel, Lalitpur

Phone:(+977)-1-5534936

Fax: (+977)-1-5534936

E-mail: jucn@wlink.com.np

Website:jupnepal.org