National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) is an effort to galvanize movements into a representation body that can collectively organize, educate, agitate and demand for ending discrimination once and for all in both government and civil societies. NCDHR is a forum launched in 1998, committed to the elimination of discrimination based on caste. A democratic secular platform led by Dalit women and men activists, with support and solidarity from movements and organizations, academics, individuals, people’s organizations and institutions throughout the country who are committed to work to protect and promote human rights of Dalits.
NCDHR had been anchored in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry with the vision “To regain and establish the human dignity, rights and security of Dalit Community”.
In its first phase, NCDHR undertook interventions for raising visibility of Dalit issues at various levels and has managed to successfully raise the visibility of Dalit issues at the state, national and international level. Some of the key achievements during this phase were:
- Massive Signature campaign with 25 lakh signatures submitted to the Prime Minister
- The UNWCAR Durban Conference of 2001
- Dalit Swadhikar Rally conceptualised during the Dalit Sector Consultation at Hyderabad, started on 6 December 2003
- The Millennium Dalit Charter was released on 10th - 11th August 2005, at Jaipur, Rajasthan
In phase two, NCDHR’s work was instrumental in bringing the kind of international attention and media coverage, which has made many in India and around the world sit up and take notice of the injustice and oppression faced by Dalits. To name just a few, NCHDR had been involved in events such as the World Conference Against Racism in South Africa (‘01), all World Social Forums, the historic 40-day Dalit Swadhikar Rally across India converging into World Social Forum in Mumbai (‘04), the first ever public hearing on The Situation of the Dalits in India, at the European Parliament in Brussels (Dec ’06), and the first International Conference on the Human Rights of Dalit Women at the Hague (Nov ’06). The positive results of these efforts include the first-ever recognition of the Dalit Human Rights problem by the United Nations (Aug 2001), the European Union (May ‘07), and the United States Congress (July ‘07), important events which have increased international pressure on the Government of India to address the serious Dalit issues it has up to now paid only lip-service to.
In phase three, NCDHR sought foremost to hold the State responsible for not checking the ‘impunity’ being enjoyed by non-Dalits in the criminal justice administrative system. Specifically, we challenge the State and its justice delivery mechanism, including the Human Rights institutions that are in place, to actually implement and enforce its constitutional and legislative measures to safeguard, protect and promote the basic human rights of Dalits. During this phase, the emphasis was on grass-roots mobilization, linking and strengthening campaigns, alliance building, and systematic monitoring and advocacy of atrocities against Dalits to pressure the Criminal Justice system to act.