2000: Martin Macwan, India
Bringing an End to Human Rights Violations and Discrimination against the "Untouchable" Dalit Population in India.
In 2000, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights honored Martin Macwan with the Human Rights Award for his work in leading the dalit rights movement in Gujarat, India. (Dalits are commonly referred to as the “untouchable” caste in India.) Martin is the founder of Navsarjan Trust in Gujarat (www.navsarjan.org), India which combats caste discrimination at all levels, socio-economic and civil and political. Since Martin founded it in 1989, Navsarjan has grown into one of the most effective dalit. rights organizations in India working in 3100 villages across the state of Gujarat. The discrimination against and treatment of dalits is modern-day apartheid. Children are forced to sit at the back of the classroom, access to water is segregated and the lowest caste of dalits are relegated the worst occupation imaginable, manual scavenging or human waste removal by hand.
RFK Center is facilitating projects for Martin and Navsarjan using, technological solutions to combat human rights violations against dalits. An Information Management Project is underway to digitally track the impact of its campaigns and gather comprehensive data across the areas Navsarjan works in including, gender, health, and manual scavenging. The Water Justice Project’s seeks to identify and/or develop a water and sanitation system which eliminates the practice of manual scavenging.
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