Why We Cannot Advance Democracy Without Addressing Caste

10 December 2021  08:30 - 10:00

Virtual Event | Organised by International Commission for Dalit Rights | Held in US in English
Contact details: [email protected]
Advancing respect for human rights
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Join the International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) for a virtual discussion about the importance of advancing caste-based issues in democracies worldwide.

As the US and other countries worldwide seek to commit themselves to creating more secure and robust democracies, they must address the issues that marginalize groups within their population. Fundamentally, democratic systems cannot succeed without participation and consent from the people. Without equitable and just social, economic, and legal policies and practices, key segments of the population are unable to genuinely participate and are therefore barred from improving their societies.

According to recent estimates, over 300 million Dalits are impacted every day by caste-based atrocities, lynching, and discriminatory practices that were formally outlawed by national constitutions and international laws, including by the US. In a December 2021 memo delivered to the US Department of State by leading human and civil rights groups, we called for the US Government to recognize the fight against caste-based discrimination as a key US foreign policy objective. Among other policy recommendations, we recommended that the US Government include caste-based discrimination within the human rights section of the White House Summit for Democracy and in the commitments relevant national governments are bringing to the Summit.

At this event, we plan to dive deeper into why caste-based discrimination should be a key tenet of the US and other countries’ democratic reform policies, as well as discuss what the US can do to advance caste-based issues at home and internationally.


  • Prof. Laurence Simon, Director, Center for Global Development and Sustainability, Brandeis University
  • Dr. Manisha Bangar, National Vice President, People Party of India (Democracy)
  • Dr. Suraj Yengde, Senior Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Dr. Roja Suganthy Singh, President, Dalit Solidarity Forum USA and Assistant Professor, Department  of Sociology, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, New York
  • Mr. Vasu Mohan, Senior Global Adviser for Conflict, Displacement and Minority Rights, IFES
  • Mr. N. Paul Divakar, Convenor, Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent
  • Moderated by: Mr. Rick GoldChair, ICDR International