UPDATE: Reply from Mary Robinson regarding ‘betrayal of Dalits’


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-44-2001
ISSUES: Caste-based discrimination,

Dear Friends 

Further to the appeal we made for you to write to Ms. Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights (regarding her failure to raise the discrimination and atrocities faced by dalits and other low caste people during the ‘South Asians for Human Rights’ meeting in Delhi in November), we have been forwarded the following reply from her office by a subscriber who had responded to the Urgent Appeal. Since Ms. Robinson has requested it be circulated, we are doing so without further comment. 

Urgent Appeals Desk 


Subject: High Commissioner’s reply to your Urgent Action UN: High 
Commissioner must not betray Dalit human rights 

“Dear Sir/Madam, 

I acknowledge receipt of your message regarding my statement at the 
meeting of the South Asian for Human Rights (SAHR) in New Delhi on 11 November, during my visit to India from 11 to 19 November 2001. First of all, let me assure you that the situation of the Dalits has been one of my major areas of concern during my official visit to India this November. 

The purpose of my statement at the SAHR meeting was to stress the importance I attach to the creation of a sub-regional organisation of human rights defenders, especially at difficult times such as present. It focused on the work my Office is undertaking at the global and regional level, not on major human rights concerns in the South Asian sub-region. 

However, during the official part of my visit to India, which started 
on 16 November, I raised my concerns about the situation of the Dalits in 
my meetings with the Minister of External Affairs and the Minister for 
Social Justice and Empowerment. The situation of the Dalits was also mentioned in my conversations with members of the National Commission on 
Human Rights and the Bar Association. Finally, I made specific reference to the situation of the Dalits in the press briefing organised in New Delhi just before my departure. 

Please be assured that I will continue to raise my concerns about the 
situation of the Dalits as and when appropriate, including in the context of the follow-up to the World Conference against Racism, held in Durban, South Africa, from 31 August to 7 September 2001. 

I would appreciate it if you could distribute this message through your 
e-mail network 

Yours sincerely, 

Mary Robinson 
High Commissioner for Human Rights”

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-44-2001
Countries : Asia,
Issues : Caste-based discrimination,