Friday, March 16, 2012


The term "Dalits" stands for broken people, people who are denied all possible human rights, and consequently they are victims of social discrimination. More than 160 million people in India are considered "Untouchable"—people tainted by their birth into a caste system that deems them impure, less than human. Dalits have been oppressed, culturally subjugated, and politically marginalized.
Dalits face pain and violence every day. They live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten, tortured, burnt alive and raped with impunity by upper-caste Hindus seeking to keep them in their place. Merely walking through an upper-caste neighborhood is a life-threatening offense.
Dalits are not allowed to eat with other caste members, to marry with other caste members, to enter into village temples, to ride a bicycle inside the village, to wear sandals or holding umbrellas in front of dominant caste members.
This broken people are forced to perform the most disgusting jobs that nobody wants to do. Some are forced to clean toilets, transport human excreta manually, clear animal carcasses and human remains, while others are forced to work in the hazardous leather and tanning industry.
If a Dalit enters a tea shop and request a cup of tea, they are served in a clay cup rather than a glass or metal cup that others receive. After drinking their tea, they are expected to crush the cup on the ground so that no other person risks being polluted by the cup the Dalit touched.
The Dalits are history’s longest standing oppressed people group. The only parallel to the practice of untouchability was apartheid. In a country where everybody is supposed to have equal rights and opportunities, one out of four people is condemned to be untouchable.
Every hour two Dalits are assaulted; every day three Dalit women are raped, two Dalits are murdered, and two Dalit homes are torched.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Child Marriage

Although both girls and boys can suffer from this violation of human rights, there are mostly girls who are forced to marry an older man. According to Universal Declaration of Human Rights, people have the right to free and full consent to a marriage. Anyone under the age of 18 is not able to make a fully informed choice whether or not to marry; even if a young girl consents to marry, she has no idea about her decision. 
Child marriages occurs due to poverty, in the majority of the cases. Parents who have few resources cannot afford school for their daughters, instead they see marriage as a way of giving them a better future by providing male guardianship, protect them from sexual assault, avoid pregnancy outside marriage, and hope they can benefit from it financially. However, girls who marry young have an increased chance of being poor and remaining poor.
The consequences of child marriage are several. Girls are sexual abused and exploited. They have to face a separation from family and friends and become social isolated. They cannot count on anyone except on themselves. 
Child marriage compromises the girls' development once they are forced into sexual activity with her husband at an age where the bride is not physically and sexually mature. This has severe health consequences. Furthermore they are exposed to such serious health risks such as early pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, like HIV/AIDS.
They are constantly under pressure, they always have to perform large amounts of domestic work, take care of their children while still children themselves, and they have no opportunities for employment and self-realisation.
Child marriage is a worldwide phenomenon but is most prevalent in Africa and Southern Asia. It is estimated that in the next decade more than 100 million girls are likely to be married before the age of eighteen. That is 25,000 new child brides every single day for the next ten years. 
Due to these facts governments must take immediate action! For example they can establish 18 as the legal age of marriage for girls, as well as boys, and ensure its implementation. Promoting birth and marriage registration will help enforce these laws. Besides expanding children’s knowledge and empowerment is crucial, particularly for girls once educated girls are less likely to agree to marry at a young age.