It is estimated that there are some 250 million Dalits living in South Asia today. In the societies in which they live, caste systems and religious traditions define them as "untouchable" or "polluting" on the basis of their descent.
Through the National Council of Churches in India, churches have taken Dalit liberation on as a core priority for their ongoing mission. The WCC supports the churches' efforts to advocate for the elimination of this centuries-old discrimination on the basis of caste.
The goal of the WCC's Dalit Solidarity Programme is to support the Dalit struggle in India by assisting its internal organization and development, and raising awareness of Dalit issues within WCC member churches, international fora including the United Nations, and the wider international constituency.
Concretely, it supports the work of the NCC India, the participation of Dalit activists in international events such as the World Social Forum, and co-operates with the NCCI, the Lutheran World Federation and the Christian Conference of Asia to build international support for the Dalit liberation movement.