Battle Against Caste Discrimination

March 15, 2023


I am very pleased to join you in this award ceremony to be part of this short film competition on ‘Caste Based Discrimination’ which is jointly organized by Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Film director’s Guild Nepal and UNDP’s Access to Justice Project.

First of all I would like to thank all our filmmakers for making wonderful films and advocated on the inequality. All 56 films carry message for equality, justice, peace and harmony in the society.

As we all know, art has a wider reach, and I believe it can really communicate the depth of issues to people. Caste based discrimination is one of the deep-rooted issues of our society.  The deeply rooted discrimination prevailing in the society has been an impediment of the overall development in Nepal. A community called dalit has been subjected to discriminations, deprivation and prohibitions. Hence, It is very important to raise our voice against any form of discrimination.

According to National Human Rights Commission, between 2015 and 2020, 52 complaints of unlawful killings were registered. Likewise, there are hundreds of cases received and recommendations made on dozens of cases by the National Dalit Commission. Likewise, there are dozens of directives issued by the Supreme Court of Nepal for necessary steps to eliminate the caste based discriminations and uplift for their overall wellbeing.

According to a report by the human rights group Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance, 12 of 18 custodial deaths.. they reported from 2015-20 occurred among members of the Dalit, Madhesi, or other marginalized communities.

As per HUROSAKA Journal, over twenty Dalit Caste groups are estimated, with Dalits accounting for 13.09 percent of the population. The total Dalit population is 3,030,067 people, with Kami accounting for 29.57 percent and Halkhar accounting for 0.12 percent, and Dalit women accounting for 51 percent (Shrestha, 2002).

In the fiscal year 2019/20, a total of 49 cases of caste-based discrimination were registered at the National Human Rights Commission. During the first Covid-19 lockdown, as many as 753 cases of caste-based discrimination, including 34 murders of Dalits, were reported across the country. Most victims were women and children.

Caste-based discrimination is not only a serious violation of human rights but also a major obstacle to achieving sustainable development goals. Victims of caste discrimination are routinely denied access to water, schools, health services, land, markets and employment. The exclusion of Dalits and similarly affected communities by other groups in society lead to high levels of poverty among affected population groups and exclusion, or reduced benefits, from development processes, and generally precludes their involvement in decision making and meaningful participation in public and civil life.  

The constitution has come up with federal structure, provisions for inclusivity and numbers of rights enshrined as the fundamental rights. The overall objective of the constitution is to advance social justice of women and vulnerable communities. The

In partnership with the government, UNDP has been providing support to enhance access to justice of women and marginalized communities like Dalit in Nepal. The Ministry has been leading the project and one of the key pillars of this initiative is to intervene through law reform and provide legal aid services for the effective remedy against injustices.  Besides, that we work with local bodies and provinces through other initiatives on socio and economic well being of those who are furthest behind.

Nevertheless, I believe that all the films carry the strong message on battling caste-based discrimination which are still prevalent in many parts of Nepal. The films have really raised a serious concern to address the social inequality for the minors and disadvantaged groups who need strong social support, inclusive environment and brought to the mainstream development.