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Meet the Activists: Esther Somoire 

MRG’s Web and Production Editor, Kristen Harrison, met Esther Somoire at the Minority Voices Training in Botswana. Esther is the founder of Centre for Indigenous Women and Children (CIWOCH), a community-based organisation working primarily with the Maasai communities of Southern Kenya. The Maasai are a pastoralist people with a strong and vibrant culture. As nomadic people, most Maasai move from place to...

Himalayan glacier melt will affect 1.3 billion people: scientists 

As a result of global warming, glaciers that feed 10 major Asian rivers are melting at an astounding rate. Minorities in the mountains of Nepal are among the first to feel the impact as changing weather patterns and shifting growing seasons threaten food supplies.  Wangal Tamang sits outside his stone house with his wife, Mendo, and some of his 10...

Cynthia Morel discusses a landmark ruling on indigenous land rights 

In the early 1970s, the Endorois community was forcibly displaced, without adequate consultation or compensation, for the creation of a wildlife reserve. In a landmark decision released in February 2010, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) delivered its first ruling recognising an indigenous community's rights to its ancestral land and natural resources. It is also the first case globally to adjudicate...

A scientist discusses glacial retreat in the Himalayas 

This is one of two audio recordings about the effects of glacial melt. In this clip Samjwal Bajracharya, a scientist at the ICIMOD, discusses the effects of glacial retreat in the Himalayas. The ICIMOD team have been collecting data that supports the claim that real physical effects can now be felt from climate change in the Himalayas. Read more about the research...

Nepal: A farmer discusses the effects of glacial melt in the Himalayas 

This is the second of two interviews about the effects of glacial melt.In this recording, farmer Wangal Tamang (voice 1, with translation) says he can no longer grow enough food to feed his family. Lakpa Tamang (voice 2) says the water has become warmer over the past 20 years. The clip ends with sound of women and children pounding and sifting...

Activists call for end to violence against the world’s ‘untouchable’ women 

On the United Nations Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25th of November, Dalit women activists are urging the world to pay attention to the plight of women subjected to horrific acts of violence because of their caste and gender. While the world is busy praising India’s booming economy and status as ‘the world’s biggest democracy’, Dalit women are subjected...

A Journey to Imja Lake: Climate change in the land of the Sherpa  

A film by Anna Colom, for Minority Rights Group InternationalIn the Everest region of Nepal, the Sherpa people are already facing the harsh impact of climate change in the Himalayas. Changes in snow and rainfall patterns are affecting food production and communities face an ever present threat of flooding. A Journey to Imja Lake tells this story by taking us on a winding path...

MEPs: The EU must act now to help end one of the biggest human rights issues in the world  

PRESS RELEASE from The International Dalit Solidarity Network Brussels, March 1, 2011 (IDSN) --- MEPs stated that EU action must be taken to help end caste discrimination, affecting 260 million people worldwide. The statements came during a hearing on caste discrimination in South Asia, at the European Parliament Monday afternoon. This was also the message delivered by Dalit rights advocators at the hearing, who...

Nepal: Feminist Dalit Organisation celebrate International Women's Day 

To celebrate the 100th International Women’s Day in Nepal, FEDO (Feminist Dalit Organization) hosted an event featuring photography, art and film with Alliance Française (a French cultural centre).The event featured the film “Women are heroes” which shows a French artist travelling the world to photograph women who are victims of discrimination. He then helps local people put up the photos on huge canvasses in...

Nepal: impunity for perpetrators of communal violence 

Nepal's government has failed to achieve justice for the victims of communal violence that exploded in 2007 in the Kapilvastu district. On June 2, human rights groups met to discuss their efforts to push the government to take action. The Kapilvastu Violence Victim Struggle Committee (KVVSC) reported that the organization was able to obtain official government reports on the violence that killed 13 people...

Nepal: activists call for Dalit rights to be enshrined in new constitution 

Activists are calling on Nepal’s government to make special provisions for the rights of Dalit in the new constitution. A recent conference organized by the Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO) yielded the “Kathmandu Proclamation”, which will be submitted to authorities in charge of formulating Nepal’s new constitution.Among other measures, the proclamation suggested that the constitution ensure proportional representation for Dalit women in all government bodies...

Nepal: UN welcomes new law on caste-based discrimination 

United Nations human rights officials and their counterparts in Nepal welcomed a new law prohibiting discrimination against people who are considered members of low castes and are known as “untouchables” or “Dalits.” The Bill on Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability that was passed May 25 had been before Parliament for the past two years, according to a joint statement issued by the UN Office...

Nepal: Dalits hope their true numbers will be revealed in census 

Dalits in Nepal are hoping their numbers will be accurately reflected in the 2011 census after civil society groups carried out a public education campaign. Previous figures show that Dalits make up for 13 percent of Nepal’s population. But civil society groups have long claimed this figure is inaccurate. They claim that Dalits may account for more than 20 percent. ...

Nepalese Minority Groups; Struggle for Identity & Representation 

Nepal has experienced a series of remarkable changes over the past few years as it has evolved from being a Hindu Kingdom with a Maoist insurgency to a secular Republic with a Maoist-led government. The people’s movement of April 2006, the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the armed conflict, and the April 2008 Constituent Assembly election all marked critical steps towards the...

MRG Podcast: August 2011 

Welcome to Minority Rights Group International’s August 2011 podcast. This month we visit an isolated cow-herding community in Cameroon and hear about how competition for land and resources leads to conflict between neighbours, and learn about the challenges Dalits in Nepal face to escape the age-old caste system. Our minority music selection this month comes from Colombian superstar Toto la Momposina, whose tunes, like...

Nepal: launch of 100 day campaign against caste discrimination and untouchability 

“I commit to end caste-based discrimination and untouchability!” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, in her video message, kicking off the bold 100 day campaign launched by her office and the National Dalit Commission (NDC) in Nepal. The High Commissioner is encouraging everyone to pledge their commitment to end caste discrimination* and untouchability and the campaign website - http://www.100daysagainstcastediscrimination.com/index.php -...

Nepal: Killing underscores persistent problem of inter-caste discrimination 

Recent violence sparked by an inter-caste marriage in a Nepali village shows the government must do more to end caste-based discrimination, advocates say. Rights groups say the family of a woman from a so-called upper caste attacked and killed Sete Damai, a 50-year-old Dalit man in central Nepal in August. The violence was sparked after the man’s 20-year-old son, Santa Bahadur Damai, eloped with...

Discrimination on religious grounds still persists in secular Nepal  

In a bid to address the long standing demands of ethnic minorities parliament declared Nepal a secular state on May 18 2006. The declaration ended the country's two-and-half century long distinction as the world's only Hindu state and demolished long-standing cultural disparities. The declaration of secularism was an attempt to remove a symbol of Nepal as a Hindu nation and bring equality...

South Asia: Dalit women voice concerns at the UN Forum on Minority Issues 

Dalit representatives from India, Nepal and Bangladesh voiced their concerns about effective political participation of Dalit women at the 4th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues. The thematic focus of the session, which was held in Geneva on 29-30 November 2011, was “Guaranteeing the rights of minority women”. Several Dalit representatives actively participated in the panel discussions and side events of...

Nepal: More violence sparked by inter-caste marriage 

A Dalit family in western Nepal is homeless after their house was burned to the ground. The violence was sparked by anger over an inter-caste marriage, human rights groups say. Rights groups say Ambara Devi Kuma and her children were asleep when assailants barred the doors, then set the building alight. The family was able to flee, but the two-room house was razed to...


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