Press Release


Voice of Dalit International, in co-operation with Dalit Solidarity Network UK and the communities of Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha, Bhagwan Valmiki Welfare Trust and Ambedkarites and Buddhist Organisations in UK has conducted an International Conference on Dalit Human Rights (Dalits in the new millennium) on the 16th and 17th of September 2000 at Shri. Guru Ravidass Temple, 28 Carlyle Road, Manor Park, London E 12 6BN.

131 people from different walks of life and from different countries participated in the conference. Mr. Ramdas Athawale, Honourable M. P. from India inaugurated the Conference and Rev. David Haslam, Chair, Dalit Solidarity Network UK gave the key note address. Dr. Balchandra L. Mungekar, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Bombay, Mr. N.C. Naithani, the Representative of the Indian High Commission, were the other speakers in the opening session., Mr. Yogesh Varhade, Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace, USA, Ms. Lawrencia Kwark, Project Officer C.C.F.D. France and Ms. Catherine Gaurdard, Freres des Hommes- France, Mr. Leo Bashyam, Head, Asia Desk, Christian Aid UK are among others who presented papers. Various issues affecting Dalits such as Dalits and Human Rights, The Constitution and Dalits, Role of Overseas Dalit Organisations, Northern Aid Agencies and Dalits, Plan for the Millennium were presented and discussed.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn, the Honourable MP from the British Parliament spoke on the valedictory session. Along with highlighting the growing incidents of atrocities on the Dalits in India and their deteriorating human right situation speakers after speakers called for the immediate attention of the International community to the problems of Dalits. Mr. Jeremy Corbyn MP stressed the need for building up pressure on the Government of India to comply with its own laws and the various international human rights covenants to which it is a party. The conference unanimously adopted the enclosed LONDON DECLARATION.

Irene Beckett

(Chair, VODI)