US State Department Honors Nepali Activist Sarswati Nepali as a Global Anti-Racism Champion

In a remarkable acknowledgment of her tireless advocacy for the rights of marginalized communities, the US State Department has bestowed the prestigious ‘2023 Global Anti-Racism Champions Award’ award upon Sarswati Nepali. The award was presented by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken  during a ceremony held at Washington DC, highlighting Sarswati Nepali’s extraordinary dedication to advancing human rights and combating systemic racism and discrimination.

Sarswati Nepali’s influence has extended over two decades, during which she has been an unwavering advocate for the human rights of marginalized castes, disabled individuals, and the impoverished in Nepal. As the President of the Dalit Society Development Forum, she has undertaken pioneering efforts that have led to profound transformations in Nepal’s societal landscape.

One of her most notable achievements is her instrumental role in securing legal rights to land and justice for countless Dalit families residing in Nepal’s rural western districts. Through her persistent efforts, Sarswati Nepali has succeeded in dismantling barriers and granting marginalized communities the dignity and respect they deserve.

Among her numerous achievements, Sarswati Nepali’s triumph in achieving the first successful prosecution of caste discrimination in Nepal’s history stands as a testament to her unyielding commitment to justice. Her precedent-setting work in the landmark case of 2007 marked a significant milestone in the fight against caste-based discrimination, inspiring positive change and progress in Nepali society.

The US Embassy in Kathmandu lauded Sarswati Nepali’s contributions, describing her as an exemplar of courage and dedication in the pursuit of equality and respect. Her journey has inspired countless others to join the fight against systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia, both within Nepal and on a global scale.

The ‘Global Anti-Racism Champions’ award, established in 2023, recognizes  individuals from civil society globally who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, leadership, and commitment to advancing the human rights of members of marginalized racial, ethnic, and Indigenous communities, including people of African descent, and combating systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in their communities. The GARC awardees are outstanding civil society leaders, who were nominated by U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world.

This year’s award recipients also include a Roma human rights activist from Moldova, a black anti-discrimination activist from Tunisia, an indigenous activist and tribal leader from Bangladesh, an Afro-Peruvian social activist from Peru, and an indigenous leader and lawyer from Brazil. Each of these remarkable individuals has made invaluable contributions to dismantling systemic racism and discrimination, leaving an indelible mark on their respective societies.