Address Caste-Based Discrimination in Disaster Risk Reduction: ADRF


By – Asia Dalit Rights Forum

With recognizing the high vulnerability of Asia region to disasters, hence the importance of the World Humanitarian Summit as a platform to input into the HFA 2 process for inclusive DRR and climate change adaptation, to influence and inform the national and local level policy, and upholding the need for convergence with the Sustainable Development Goals

Recognizing that 260 million are affected worldwide with Caste-based discrimination (social arrangement based on occupation and birth, leading to untouchability of those hailing from the so called lower castes) (Caste discrimination:A global concern, Human Rights Watch report 2001), and its intersectionality with gender, age and disability;

Acknowledgement of the findings of vigilant monitoring by civil society groups in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, has revealed the consistent and comprehensive patterns of discrimination and exclusion are faced by Dalits and other structurally discriminated based on caste, work and descent in all interventions pertaining to disaster response, mitigation and risk reduction, and climate change adaptation;

We, the members of the Asia Dalits Rights Forum engaged in protection of the rights of caste discriminated groups, at the national, regional and international levels over many years, call upon the leaders of the Conference to give urgent attention to the recommendations below:

1. Explicitly recognize caste/descent and work based discrimination in HFAII

Explicitly recognize the 260 million people who are historically socially excluded and discriminated based on caste/descent and occupation (Caste discrimination: A global concern, Human Rights Watch report 2001), in the South Asia region in disasters. Similar caste /descent based discrimination exists in Senegal, Brazil, Nigeria, Japan, Mauritania, Yemen, UK, making it a serious issue of review by the UN Treaty body. Such discrimination and social positioning determines the extent and access to humanitarian aid and development by the excluded groups making recovery (psycho social and material improvement) process longer.

2. Inculcate the spirit of human rights into the 2030 Development Framework

Make humanitarian response, recovery and rehabilitation a matter of people’s rights linking up with the rights and entitlements post disasters at national levels, linking directly with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR).

3. Affirmative action in-built into the Government Policies and programmes on Disaster Management

Mandate affirmative action through government policies and schemes /disaster management specific programmes. The government policies, legislation on disaster management and schemes and recovery norms should take into consideration the caste induced socio-cultural and political vulnerabilities. The norms of compensations and recovery by federal governments must have affirmative action inbuilt into the vision of these norms and legal policy frameworks.

4. Recovery in 2030 Development Frameworks /Building Back Smarter

Recovery in 2030 Development Frameworks should enable inclusive and forward building /transform communities as opposed to merely adaptive communities regaining normalcy. The new development framework should also mandate pre-disaster vulnerability mapping in hazard prone regions, and disaggregated reporting by the governments and humanitarian stakeholders on caste and DWD communities, across the spectrum of interventions from disaster prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

5. Social auditing

Include the process of (social) equity audit for monitoring the extent of social equity and inclusion of persons affected by caste and DWD in Recovery programmes.

6. Empowering Women and Communities for Inclusive Recovery

Recognize the inter-sectionality of gender with caste (low caste women become doubly marginalized owing to her gender and caste/notions of pollution and purity) take actions to empower them with the information of the rights and entitlements following the disasters.

7. Role of Civil Society in Recovery

Call for the mandatory collaboration and engagement of the Governments and humanitarian agencies with the rights based/people’s organizations representing and /or led by the excluded communities’ groups.

8. Recovery in Slow-onset disaster situations

The recovery in slow-onset disaster situations should be linked with government schemes and flagship programmes, like guarantee of minimum days of employment from the government and ensuring food provision so on. Slow onset disasters like droughts have a longer impact and affect these socially excluded communities, which by default are again the CBD and DWD communities. Because of their dependence on external sources for survival (share croppers, casual /daily wage labourers and landless sections) the recovery process takes longer for them, leading to inter-state and trans-boundary migration.

ADRF Head office
C/o Feminist Dalit Organization (FEDO)

Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal
Office: +977-01-5520982

ADRF Camp office
C/o National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

8/1, 2nd Floor, South Patel Nagar

New Delhi-110008, India 01125842249 &

ADRF is a platform of civil society organizations in Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka working for the empowerment and emancipation of the communities subjected to descent and work based discrimination and violence.

It aims at addressing the rights and entitlements of these communities in the respective countries and collectively in Asia and at international level.




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