Photo: Hans Jørgen Brun
Laureate 2007

National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights

Defenders of the downtrodden

The 2007 Rafto Prize was awarded to the Indian organization The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR).  The NCDHR received the prize for its work to promote Dalit rights and for its efforts to make the international society aware that discrimination and oppression resulting from caste prejudice is a serious violation of human rights.

Vincent Manoharan (centre), Secretary General of the NCDHR, Dr. Vimal Thorat (left), Co-Convenor and Paul Divakar (right), Convenor received the award on behalf of the organization.

Of India’s 1,3 billion citizens,  215 million are labelled Scheduled Castes, and to various degrees considered  ‘impure’ or ‘untouchable’. These people call themselves Dalits, meaning ‘the downtrodden’. For thousands of years they have suffered humiliation, discrimination, and exclusion by being born into a social and cultural system which fundamentally conflicts with the notion that all human beings are born free with equal rights. The forms of caste-based discrimination vary largely between localities. It traditionally includes that Dalits are only allowed to work in occupations with low status and income, primarily occupations requiring the handling of ‘impure’ material, such as garbage, human and animal waste, animal skin and products of the soil. Dalits customarily; have to live segregated, are often also segregated in schools and in the workplace, are not allowed to hold real estate as property, are not allowed to use public utilities such as roads, water, temples and public office buildings. They are disproportionally poor, undereducated, and victims of violence. Many Dalits work as bonded labour, or in forms of modern day slavery. Caste-based discrimination is prohibited by law in India, but still prevalent, and especially in rural areas.

The purpose of the NCDHR is to oppose all forms of this horrifying discrimination. The Campaign and its supporters work to combat violations of human rights in general, usually by documenting human rights violations. The Campaign also provides legal aid to victims of discrimination and violence, and serves as an advocate of Dalit rights in India and at the international level. The NCDHR is now a coalition of four movements, each working to overcome different aspects of caste discrimination:

  • promotion of economic, social, educational and cultural rights.
  • promotion of the rights of Dalit women, wh often suffer double discrimination as Dalits and as women, and caste-based violence.
  • coordinating efforts to secure land rights and livelihoods for Dalits, and to secure proper legal responses and financial remedies for survivor and victims of violence and other violations
  • documenting and mitigating the vulnerability of Dalits in disaster preparedness and response

The NCDHR works internationally at the UN and with various states to address atrocities, and campaigns for strengthening the criminal justice system. Much of this work is conducted together with the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), of which DSN Norway is a member. The Rafto Foundation is a founding member of DSN Norway. 

OFFICIAL AWARD STATEMENT NCDHR (2007)

Ahangar Og Parvez Raftoprize 2017 Hjb
Laureate 2017

Parveena Ahangar & Parvez Imroz

Decades of campaigning for human rights in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir

Hjb Rafto Yanar Mohammed Web
Laureate 2016

Yanar Mohammed

Defender of women's rights in war-torn Iraq

Padre-Melo-2
Laureate 2015

Padre Melo

A fearless voice in a violent country

Pavel Chikov
Laureate 2014

Agora - Pavel Chikov

Defender of the rule of law in Russia

BCHR-Hans-Jørgen-Brun
Laureate 2013

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR)

The inconvenient demand for human rights in the Gulf

2012-Nnimmo-Bassey-©Hans-Jørgen-Brun
Laureate 2012

Nnimmo Bassey

Defender of victims of climate change

2011-Frank-Mugisha-SMUG-©Hans-Jørgen-Brun
Laureate 2011

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)

Defender of LGBTI rights

Raul-Lopez
Laureate 2010

José Raúl Vera López

Defender of the vulnerable and the rejected

malahat nasibova
Laureate 2009

Malahat Nasibova

The brave voice of Nakhchivan

bulambo lembelembe josue
Laureate 2008

Bulambo Lembelembe Josué

Bringing hope for the victims of war

Thich Quang Do @IBIB
Laureate 2006

Thích Quảng Độ

Peaceful oppositon against the communist regime

lidia yusupova chechnya
Laureate 2005

Lidia Yusupova

Defender of the forgotten victims of the war in Chechnya

Rebiya Kadeer
Laureate 2004

Rebiya Kadeer

Defender of the repressed Uyghurs

Paulos Tesfagiorgis
Laureate 2003

Paulos Tesfagiorgis

Lifelong work for democracy in Eritrea

sidi mohammed daddach
Laureate 2002

Sidi Mohammed Daddach

The Sahrawi people's struggle for self determination

Shirin Ebadi
Laureate 2001

Shirin Ebadi

Rights for women and children under the Islamic regime

Kim-Dae-Jung
Laureate 2000

Kim Dae-jung

Giving hope of re-conciliation with North Korea

Gennady Grushevoy
Laureate 1999

Gennady Grushevoy

Protecting the victims of the Chernobyl disaster

ECPAT logo
Laureate 1998

ECPAT

Committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation of children

Ian Hancock
Laureate 1997

Ian Hancock

Advocate for the rights and dignity of the Romani

1996 palermo anno uno logo 166x221
Laureate 1996

Palermo Anno Uno

Standing up against the Mafia and organized crime

1995 soldiers mothers logo 166x221
Laureate 1995

Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia

Working for peace on behalf of those forced to wage war

1994-leyla zana
Laureate 1994

Leyla Zana

Peaceful struggle for the human rights of the Kurdish people

jose-ramos-horta
Laureate 1993

José Ramos-Horta

Promoting independence for the people of East Timor

1992-Preah-Maha-Ghosananda
Laureate 1992

Preah Maha Ghosananda

Leading role in reconciling a country torn by war

Jelena-Bonner-2004-Svart-hvitt
Laureate 1991

Yelena Bonner

Lifelong work for political and religious freedom in the Soviet Union

aung san suu kyi
Laureate 1990

Aung San Suu Kyi

Leading the struggle for democracy in Burma

doina-cornea
Laureate 1989

Doina Cornea

Writing for freedom in a communist dictatorship

peter molnar
Laureate 1989

FIDESZ - Péter Molnár

Founders of a democratic Hungary

trivimi velliste estonia-2
Laureate 1988

Trivimi Velliste

Reviving the past to liberate the future

Jiri-Hajek
Laureate 1987

Jiří Hájek

Foreign Affairs Minister of the Prague Spring and brave spokesperson for civil rights