February 8, 2010

Questions in Dutch Parliament on measures against ‘untouchability’ and caste-based discrimination and violence against Dalit Christians in Kandhamal, Orissa

Three Dutch political parties (including two of the three parties in the present coalition government) have raised two sets of questions to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Economic Affairs (in charge of trade issues) on the situation Dalits in India and on the situation in Kandhamal, Orissa.

The first set of 11 questions was triggered by the report "Understanding Untouchability" which was recently published by the NGO Navsarjan and the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. The questions deal with a range of policy initiatives that the Dutch government could undertake, largely in the context of the EU and the UN, to address the issue of untouchability and caste discrimination. Normally it takes around six weeks for such questions to be answered but the Members of Parliament asked for the answers before the 13th Session of the Human Rights Council which starts at the 1st of March.
The questions and answers in English and in Dutch.

The second set of 8 questions was triggered by the EU delegation that recently visited Kandhamal in Orissa to investigate the situation of the victims of Hindu-extremist violence in that area. It asks, among other things, about the measures taken via the fast-track courts to do justice do the victims and the rehabilitation of the victims of the violence. It also refers to claims that Hindu-extremists and government officials tend to blame the violence on conflicts between Dalits and Adivasi to distract the attention from the the activities of the Hindu-extremists.
The questions and answers in English and in Dutch.

Landelijke India Werkgroep - March 22, 2010