National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights is committed to the protection of Dalit rights in the country, since 1998. The National Dalit Watch (NDW) is an effort spearheaded by NCDHR in 2009 to respond in an organized and systematic manner to the scenario of exclusion of Dalit communities during disasters. NCDHR learnt about rampant caste discrimination during Tsunami 2004 and later, it conducted surveys for evidence based advocacy for inclusion and equity in disaster management/DRR during the massive flooding in Bihar in 2007-8.Since then, NDW has intervened in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka after massive floods in 2009, Assam in 2009/11 &12 and Odisha (2011-12), with technical assistance and small scale interventions during the Thane cyclone in Tamil Nadu and Phailin cyclone in Odisha. The modus operandi has been vulnerability assessment; surveys; assistance to community leaders and victims in securing their entitlements; advocacy with the same with concerned authorities at the local, state and national level for official recognition to caste based discrimination which is rampant in India and other South Asian countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Caste and descent and work (DWD ) based discrimination exist across the globe including in Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania, Yemen and Japan, and South Asia with 260 million reportedly affected worldwide (Caste discrimination: A global concern, Human Rights Watch report 2001).
Since 2009, NDW has instituted tools and methods to identify, expose and document caste based discrimination, and used the evidences and experiences for influencing disaster management guidelines of the Govt. of India and get commitment from humanitarian agencies. It also capacitates the community volunteers and local organizations in inclusion monitoring. This has enabled many (Dalit) rights organizations, local activists and the community leadership to take actions for realisation of the rights and entitlements of the excluded and other marginalized communities through community mobilization and dialogue with the administration. NDW engages in dialogues and collaboration with the UNDP, Sphere India and ECHO besides other major humanitarian stakeholders at the national level and Inter Agency Groups (IAGs) at state and district levels.
Disaster Reduction Goal
Have inclusive legislative safeguards and law on disaster management that recognizes caste based discrimination, and thereby ensure a truly inclusive disaster preparedness mechanism; and get in place a just system of Recovery and Rehabilitation.
Policies and Programmes in DRR
1. Create awareness and empower the communities about the entitlements under National and State Disaster Response Funds norms and facilitate action with concerned authorities to secure their entitlements;
2. Develop vulnerability mapping and inclusion monitoring tool which captures caste induced vulnerability and discrimination pre and post disasters and assist other organizations in assessing vulnerability causes of the socially excluded sections with accompaniment support;
2. Engage with the National Disaster Management Authority and other constitutional bodies with key Policy ASKs;
3. Engage with humanitarian agencies like Sphere India, ECHO, UNDP India and INGOs;
3. Engage with the Parliamentarians on the issue;
4. Engage with SAARC Disaster management institute and disaster management and social work department at academic institutions etc.
Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)
Lee Macqueen Paul, Research & Advocacy Officer