More women die in childbirth in South Asia — 500 for every 100,000 live births — than any other place in the world except sub-Saharan Africa. Equally troubling is that more than half the women in the region cannot read or write. South Asia is also home to the largest number of adolescent and teenage mothers in the world. Pervasive discrimination further impedes equal access to fundamental economic and social rights, with women behind men in all areas, including education, health, and economic participation in the labor force.
Two-thirds of the world’s malnourished children live in South Asia. Conditions are attributed to low birth weight, infant and young child feeding practices, poor household hygiene, and low status of women in society. South Asia also has the highest incidence of low birth weight children in the world (31%), and is the only region in which girls are more likely to be underweight than boys. A recent UNICEF report found that children living in the poorest households in South Asia are five times less likely to receive skilled assistance at birth, three times more likely to be underweight, twice less likely to receive basic immunizations, and three times less likely to receive a secondary education, than children in the richest households. The region also has the highest number of out-of-school children (33 million), and half of its nearly 615 million children live in poverty.
Adivasis is the collective name used for the many indigenous peoples of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Adivasis constitute 8% of the population in India, the 1,5% in Bangladesh and the 36,4% in Nepal. The vast majority of Adivasis live in rural areas with government programs generally seeking integration into mainstream society rather than protection of culture and way of living. The destruction of Adivasis’ traditional economic base and environment, carried out by both State and non-State actors through land grabbing and non-recognition of customary law, results in systematic violations of socio-economic rights. Adivasis have higher rates of illiteracy, malnutrition and mortality, and risk of evictions from lands on which their livelihood depends.
Discrimination of Dalits is deeply rooted in the Hindu caste system. Described as a “hidden apartheid”, Dalits refer to people traditionally regarded as “untouchable”, and viewed as falling outside the four-fold caste system central to moral, and social foundations of Hindi society. There are approximately 260 million Dalits worldwide, with the vast majority living in South Asia. Close to 20% of India and Nepal’s population are classified as Dalit, with 75% of Dalits in India completely landless, and the most involved forms of bonded labour. The Muslim community in South Asia has also adopted a caste hierarchy, structured similarly to the Hindu system.
Housing is a core component of the right to an adequate standard of living. Read More.
It is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Right to Life, observes Supreme Court of India. Read More.
State has to guarantee that the right to health is available, accessible and of high quality. Read More.