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CDWD’s Simona Torotcoi addresses HLPF on how science & tech can empower community

Distinguished delegates, my name is Simona Torotcoi, I am a from Romania from ERGO Network, and I am part of the , experiencing similar forms of discrimination with the Quilambola and Palenque in Brazil and Colombia, the Roma in Europe, the Dalits in South Asia, the Haratins and others in . Such exclusions are found worldwide. Discrimination based on Work and Descent is a unique exclusionary mechanism that evolved through social stratification of people, dividing us based on our identity, and the occupations our ancestors were associated with. Our communities are subject to violence, gross human rights violations, structural discrimination, all of which acting as barriers to our socioeconomic, political, religious, and cultural development.

Technological and digital advancements have connected the whole world. Yet, these advancements have exacerbated the gaps in the access to their benefits furthering the marginalising of those already marginalised, including Roma, Quliambola, Dalits, , Haratins and others, especially women and girls.

As representatives of CDWD (Communities Discriminated Based on Work and Descent), we recognise on the one hand, the growing digital divide, affecting especially women and girls from our communities, on the other the pivotal role that inclusive technological advancements play in dismantling systemic barriers. Our goal is to harness these innovations to promote equitable access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, ensuring no one is left behind.

Academic research on our communities is essential for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This research provides the necessary data to understand and address the unique challenges faced by these marginalised groups, ensuring that no one is left behind. Disaggregated data from such studies help in assessing progress, identifying gaps, and formulating targeted policies and programs. It enables decision-makers to create inclusive strategies that promote equitable access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Moreover, involving CDWD communities in research processes ensures their perspectives are included, fostering more effective and sustainable solutions. By emphasising a rights-based approach, academic research supports the global effort to uphold human dignity, equality, and justice, aligning with the core principles of the UN and the SDGs.

We urge the global community to adopt a rights-based approach in science and technology policies, integrating the needs and voices of marginalised groups including the women and girls and CDWD.. By fostering inclusive innovation ecosystems, we can empower communities, drive sustainable development, and uphold the principles of human dignity and equality.

Let us work together to create a future where technological progress benefits all, fostering a world of shared prosperity and justice.

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