Even though the caste system, the division of society into social classes, has been abolished, Dalits, Adivasi and members of religious minorities still suffer from discrimination often leading to violence, intimidation and human rights abuses. Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie bridges the divide between communities from different ethnic, religious and caste backgrounds. We respond to the injustices faced by the marginalised communities and prevent potential conflicts.

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+/- € 390,867

Budget

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11

Local partners

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1,050

Participants activities

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18,000

Indirect reach

Human rights violations

Indian society is divided into four main castes. Below that, are the outcasts or untouchables. Dalits (outcasts) and Adivasi (indigenous groups) are the lowest in the caste hierarchy. Despite constitutional guarantees, the rights of millions of Dalits and Adivasi are not adequately protected. Centuries of discrimination, exploitation and oppression have left these populations in dire poverty. They face human rights violations, mistreatment, (sexual) abuse and other atrocities. They have little knowledge of their rights nor the skills to defend them.

In addition, the political influence and dominance of Hindu fundamentalist groups is growing. This has resulted in the rise of violence and discrimination against religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians who mostly consist of Dalits and Adivasis. Critical voices from journalists, academics and activists against exclusionist government policies and actions are actively repressed.

Dalits and Adivasi face human rights violations, mistreatment, (sexual) abuse and other atrocities. They have little knowledge of their rights nor the skills to defend them.

Our response

We, along with our 9 local partners focus on promoting equality and inclusion of Dalits, Adivasi and religious minorities. We facilitate dialogue and inter-group action to bridge the historical divides between people from different castes, ethnicities and religions. We do this through:

Promoting peaceful coexistence
We promote peaceful coexistence between caste groups and between religious groups. We establish and facilitate local peace committees, which have proven to be instrumental in maintaining peace and transforming conflict at the local level. Through these committees, trained women, youth and students are able to recognise and prevent conflicts.

We promote peacebuilding education in schools, conduct research on appropriate peacebuilding methods, and we facilitate dialogue within and between communities to foster peace. We collaborate with community and religious leaders to organise exchange visits between religious, ethnic and caste groups. Through such visits, participants representing different gender, caste and religious backgrounds get to know one another, their backgrounds, their stories, which leads to reduced prejudices. In addition, we also train local government officials on a constructive way to respond to conflicts and how to prevent conflicts from occurring in their localities.

Justice in the face of atrocities
While we explore possibilities of reducing existing tensions, we respond to the serious injustices faced by Dalits, Adivasi and religious minorities. We train both male and female community leaders to provide basic legal aid to victims of sexual violence, land grabbing and ill-treatment at the hands of the higher castes, government officials and the police. We also support marginalised groups in legal claims for their entitlements.

Youth leaders learn how to design and implement their own actionable peacebuilding plan.

Although I was among the best in my class, I was often opposed. Studying seemed impossible. Thanks to Christy, I am now studying to become a police officer. So that I can intervene if the rights of other Adivasi are violated. – Siju (22)

Together with our local partners, Mensen met een Missie has managed to:

  • Establish over 200 Peace Committees amongst women, youth and students
  • Raise the awareness of and promote peacebuilding among nearly 10.000 people
  • Support approximately 1500 women, youth, students and religious leaders to design and implement their own actionable peacebuilding plan
  • Conduct research on over 30 different peacebuilding methods
  • Train over 450 people in conflict resolution. They have addressed and prevented over 200 conflicts from escalating
  • Train 150 government officials on effective responses to conflict
  • Support over 2.000 people in their claims for various entitlements.

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