About ICDR International:
ICDR International is a global policy advocacy and networking organization leading a global movement of people striving to eliminate Caste or Work and Descent-based Discrimination (CWDD), inequality and injustice. We campaign for the rights and dignity of nearly 280 million Dalits, marginalized and underprivileged people worldwide who face CWDD and Social Exclusion.
With over 255 members across the globe, ICDR collaborates, networks, and provides technical support for its associates, civil society, government agencies, and the communities, as they strive to promote equal opportunities, civil rights, dignity, and rule of law. We empower Dalits, marginalized and underprivileged people, who often face disproportionate challenges and obstacles to live a dignified life. We investigate, expose discrimination, educate and mobilize the public, provide community services, and campaign to leverage for changes in policy and transform societies.
We understand how caste, race, origin, and gender-based discrimination can have multiple consequences on vulnerable people. We believe that ICDR has the capacity to promote the rights and dignity of Dalits and other underprivileged people through integrating their struggles with the global social justice movement.
ICDR staff consists of professionals, including lawyers, development practitioners, policy-makers, advocates, country experts, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 2006, ICDR is known for its international policy advocacy, impartial reporting, effective coordination and mobilization of diverse organizations, media, and collaboration with targeted civil society organizations.
Co-Chair, Mr. Rick Gold a rule of law expert and veteran of the USAID, Co-Chair-Emeritus, Dr. Donald L. Zimmerman along with Dr. Steve Folmar, Ms. Elizabeth Clay Roy, Mr. Krishna Sob, Mr. Raj Cherukonda, and Dr. Purvi Mehta are currently providing leadership of the Board.
We are grateful for hundreds of multi-talented experts, volunteers and leaders who drive the ICDR’s day-to-day operations. Some of them are: Ms. Asifa Haniff has served as Web producer; Ms. Laxmi Rajak has served as Content Analyst; Mr. Krishna Lohani has served as IT Coordinator; Mr. Tika Prasad Gurung has served as Web Designer/Developer; Ms. Kenya Tyson, Esq., Policy Advisor; Dr. Lasonja Kennedy has served as CFI Consultant; Ms. Amanda Gant has served as Chief Operating Officer and Ms. Neha Kumar, an Australian Lawyer, has served as Vice President. Likewise, Rahul Dandge (India), Advocate Gajanan Lasure (India), Rajan Lohani (Nepal) and Narayan Charmakar (Bangladesh) have served as country representative in their respective country.
We rely on the generosity of people like you to implement our mission objectives and save lives of victims. Your tax-deductible gift can help us to provide public litigations and services to vulnerable people around the world.
OUR MISSION AND OBJECTIVES
ICDR’s mission is to eliminate Caste or Work and Descent-based Discrimination (CWDD), and to defend the dignity and rights of Dalit, marginalized and underprivileged people worldwide. We adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that "the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all people is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." We respond to the impact of the CWDD and Social Exclusion against Dalits, and marginalized and underprivileged people worldwide through campaigning, networking, collaborating, and promoting dialogues between policy-makers, civil societies and diverse communities for changes in policy and transform societies.
a) Increase public understanding of and respect for the constitutional and international human rights laws, obligations, and hold governments accountable under law.
b) Work for equality, diversity, socio-political inclusion, equal opportunity, including human rights, affirmative legal policies, and meaningful access to justice for all people.
c) Eliminate caste, descent and all forms of discrimination, inequality and injustice in all levels and all sectors, including public and private.
d) Promote the dignity and rights of Dalits, marginalized, underprivileged, minorities, and all people in all levels.
e) Provide benefits, programs and services, which promote members’ or allies’ institutional and professional growth and quality of service and life.
f) Provide and promote pro-bono public interest services by the legal and other professionals.
What We Do and What We Achieved
In recent years, ICDR expanded its activities to include a campaign to encourage specific anti-discrimination legislation and relevant policy measures for governments and their agencies, UN and other international agencies, educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Our work on this issue is to produce and update Caste Freedom Index as a key component under the existing international human rights principles, obligations, and frameworks.
In 2014, along with Diaspora, Ambedkarite and inter/national organizations, for the first time in the history, we organized the Global March Against Caste-Based Discrimination in Washington D.C., particularly in front of the White House and US Congress. The objective of the Global March was to strengthen links among US and international organizations fighting caste or work and descent-based discrimination; and to urge US Congress to pass a law against Caste and All other Forms of Discrimination that expands the geographic scope of the House’s historic concurrent resolution on untouchability in India.
In 2015, ICDR hosted the First Global Conference on Dalit Rights and adopted the Dalit Rights Global Declaration 2015, a global framework to promote rights and dignity of Dalits, marginalized, and underprivileged population. We have also published reports that have helped spark grassroots, state, federal, and international policy reforms, inclusion and hold government accountable as well as corporations for social responsibility under law. In 2015, ICDR worked to ensure rights and proportionate representation of Dalit, marginalized, and underprivileged population in the New Constitution of Nepal.
The same year, ICDR’s work was acknowledged by the senior officers at the US Department of State. In the appreciation letter, the officer said “I am writing to thank you once again for helping us to better understand, and elevate the visibility of, caste discrimination in South Asia. In part because of your good work, we included a specific recommendation in the November 2015 cycle of the Nepal Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on engaging and addressing the needs of Dalits in disaster relief. This is a first for our Nepal engagement through the UN mechanism, and it has set an excellent precedent for the region.”
In 2016, ICDR extended its pro-Bono public services focusing on low income families and immigrants in the U.S. Our public service activities include Access to Health, Workforce Development and Equal Employment Opportunity, and Referral programs. ICDR deals various equal and civil rights issues. Most recently, we filed motion before Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on the matter of reviewing the findings of New York State Division of Human Rights. Likewise, ICDR International has urged Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS), Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepali nationals living in the United States.
Our Leadership and History
2001: A Nepali human rights advocate Dil Bishkarma popularly known as D.B. Sagar engaged and participated in the United Nations World Conference of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance 2001 (WCAR 2001), which provided, for the first time, an opportunity to integrate the voice of underprivileged, and Dalit population at the international level. 2004: D.B. Sagar, then President of Dalit NGO Federation of Nepal, worked with other Nepal-based bilateral, multilateral, inter/national NGOs and grassroots organizations, and arranged International Consultation on Caste-based Discrimination in Kathmandu, Nepal. This event seeded a milestone idea to create a global platform of grassroots-driven organizations of underprivileged, marginalized and Dalit, marginalized and underprivileged populations, and the international community of human rights organizations.
The response to the new idea was enormous and helped to mobilize hundreds of organizations in efforts to educate and alert the governments and the international community – including the United Nations - to the many ways that the human rights of Dalits and other underprivileged people were being routinely violated. These efforts by human rights activists and leaders in different countries would eventually evolve into the backbone of the organization that became the International Commission for Dalit Rights (ICDR) or, as recently renamed, ICDR International.
2006: On the occasion of International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21, 2006), the general meeting of leaders and activists in London formally endorsed the General Charter of the ICDR, and announced the formation of the ICDR International as a global organization to defend and promote the dignity and rights of Dalit, marginalized and underprivileged people worldwide. The General Charter is a fundamental set of principles and policies that stands besides and supports the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Convention of Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international human rights conventions.
2008: ICDR in Washington, D.C., United States was set up through the leadership of Fulbright scholar and economist Dr. Damber K Gurung; Professor (Emeritus) of Economics at University of Michigan Dr. Thomas Weisskopf; Professor of Sociology at Florida State University Dr. Mary Cameron; Professor of Anthropology at Wake Forest University Dr. Steven Folmar; Peace Volunteer at Peace Corps, and Ms. Wendy Serafin. , became the key members to set up the ICDR in Washington, D.C., United States. Mr. Ashok Kumar Bharti, Founder of National Confederation of Dalit & Adivasi Organizations of India and an Ashoka Fellow provided leadership and served as the first Chairperson of the ICDR’s Board of Directors until 2011.
2011: Mr. M. Farook Sait Esq., then Special Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a civil rights attorney, had served as the Chair of the Board from 2011-2013. Likewise, Mr. Gajadhar Sunar, Dalit rights leader and then National President of Dalit NGO Federation of Nepal and Mr. Narayan Charmakar, human rights lawyer in Bangladesh have served as Vice Chair and a Member respectively of the organization’s International Governing Council since 2013.
2012 and beyond: ICDR International expanded its activities and leadership throughout South Asia, Europe, the U.S., and Diaspora. ICDR started reformation and has become an emerging global organization under the new leadership of diverse Board of Directors. Donald L. Zimmerman, Ph.D. has provided leadership and served as the Co-Chair of the Board of Director since 2013. In 2012, an emerging social and economic justice advocate Ms. Elizabeth Clay Roy joined the team and served as Vice President and later Board of Director. A veteran of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a human rights/rule of law expert Mr. Rick Gold joined as a Board Director and Co-Chair of US Legislative Initiative and Global Initiative since 2012. Mr. Krishna Sob, an international development practitioner became a Board of Director and has served as Co-Chair of the Global Conference Organizing Committee and Diaspora Engagement Initiative since 2012. Dr. Maria Suchowski, a statistical evaluation and measurement consultant working with Statistics Without Borders (SWB) on various international aid projects joined the ICDR and has been served as a Board of Director and Co-Chair of Committee of Caste Freedom Index. A senior manager and statistician with the UK government’s Office for National Statistics, Mr. Myer Glickman became a part of the ICDR as a Board of Director and Leading Member of the Caste Freedom Index committee. In 2014, a leading social entrepreneur and philanthropist Mr. Raj Cherukonda joined the ICDR as a Board of Director and Co-Chair of Diaspora Engagement Initiative among the other leading responsibilities in the organization. Dr. Purvi Mehta, Assistant Professor at Colorado College became a Board of Director and has served as Co-chair of Academic Initiative since 2015.
(Last Updated 08/02/2018)
About ICDR International:
ICDR International is a global policy advocacy and networking organization leading a global movement of people striving to eliminate Caste or Work and Descent-based Discrimination (CWDD), inequality and…