News

Apr 08 2013

JOIN US ! in Parliament Sq, Tuesday 16th April 12.00-15.00 pm

by Meena Varma in News

We call upon all those, who want to see our future generations liberated from this pernicious form of discrimination, to join us and add their voice to the debate in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16th April 2013 to : OUTLAW CASTE DISCRIMINATION WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY Public Rally – Unite for Dignity Public Rally on Tuesday 16th April – 12.00 to 15.00 hrs Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3AA  Unite against caste discrimination in UK Asian communities who have faced Caste based Discrimination for decades are now calling to make the practice unlawful in the UK. A Public Rally was held in Parliament square, on Monday, 4th March 2013 when House of Lords debated the “Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill” that came up for discussion. The Peers of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dailts moved an amendment in that Bill to insert a new clause in the Equality Act 2010 to include ‘(d) Caste’ after section 9(1)(c) to make Caste a protected Characteristic in Law. Peers in House of Lords backed this amendment with a massive majority sending signals to people in this country and rest of the world that no form of discrimination, including caste based discrimination, will be tolerated against any of its citizens. In order for it to become law, this bill has to secure a similar mandate in the House of Commons and it expected to come up for discussion on Tuesday 16th April. Steering group of campaigners for caste victims are now lobbying the Members of Parliament directly and through their constituents and we have no doubt that a massive majority would also be secured through MP’s who would vote to ensure that British Society leads the world in human rights by demonstrating that its citizens continue to enjoy dignity and freedom from any form of prejudice including caste based discrimination.   Supported by:  CasteWatchUK, Dalit Solidarity Network (UK), VODI, ACDA & Kanshi tv Contact:  info@castewatchuk.org  Tel: 07891058712    

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Mar 18 2013

Important !! ERR Bill. Take Action Now !

by Meena Varma in News

We have already heard that the government looks likely to turn down the amendment despite its overwhelming majority in the House of Lords. Below and attached is the letter and email you could send to your local MP to urge them to support the amendment in the ERR Bill and vote for its acceptance when the Bill reverts to the Commons. We need as many MPs as possible to vote on the day from across the House. We anticipate the Bill will return to the Commons after Easter and will need to be passed by May 7. Please write to your own MP. That this House supports the majority vote passed in the House of Lords to outlaw caste discrimination in the UK by including caste as an aspect of race in the Equality Act 2010; notes the UK’s international human rights obligations; and calls on the Government to reconsider its position and to uphold the essential British value of equality and justice. Hit the link for a copy of a standard letter which can be used to lobby your MP MP template letter and brief BY POST: Print out the letter and address it to your MP. Add their name above the address of Parliament and add your own address at the top right so that they know it’s from a constituent.  You can find out who your MP is at: www.theyworkforyou.com BY EMAIL: You can copy the letter into an email and send it to your MP electronically. You can email your MP by going to: www.writetothem.com Also we need them to sign EDM 1183  http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1183 It would be great to hear back from you when you have sent the information to your MP so we can keep track of how much of an impact we are making as a network.

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Mar 11 2013

‘The Ongoing Atrocity of Caste’

by Meena Varma in News

Dalit Solidarity Network UK are delighted to be partnering with Human Rights Watch to screen the acclaimed documentary on abuses against India’s Dalits, Jai Bhim Comrade, as part of the 2013 HRW London film festival 2013. The film will be followed by a Q & A session with the film’s maker,  Anand Patwardhan.  Showing at 6.15pm on Wednesday 20th March at the ICA Cinema in The Mall, London. For the trailer and tickets (£10/£8 concession) hit the link below : http://ff.hrw.org/film/jai-bhim-comrade. The film is in English, Hindi and Marathi with English subtitles.

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Mar 05 2013

Dalit Groups Win the Day, Monday 4th March 2013

by Meena Varma in News

Outlaw Caste Discrimination in the  UK  We want Justice Now! This was the rallying cry from the 100s of protesters that assembled outside Parliament Square on Monday 4 March to protest against the UK government’s decision NOT to legislate against caste discrimination – despite provisions enabling it to do so in the Equality Act 2010. Our government has continued to fail to provide the necessary legal redress and protection for victims of caste discrimination in the UK. In its long awaited response to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research report (published 2010), on Friday 1 March 2012 the government released a statement that it would not enforce legislative measures, but instead introduce an educational programme to address caste discrimination in the UK This, despite the fact that the NIESR report specifically recommended legislation to provide explicit protection, summing up that educational measures were unlikely to work. So why ignore these recommendations, why ignore the voice of the Dalits who have consistently demanded legal recourse as being the only way to get justice ?. In the end, Dalit groups won the day as the protest culminated in a House of Lords amendment to legislate against caste discriminating. Members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits, Lords Harries and Avebury and Baroness Thornton, joined by Lord Deben from the Conservative Party moved an amendment in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to bring caste in to the Act as an aspect of race – thus outlawing it in the UK. [ All photography : David Bonitto ] hit the links below to view more pics  >  UK DALIT DEMONSTRATION 1  >  UK DALIT DEMONSTRATION 2  The debate began at 4.36pm with a powerful opening statement from Lord Harries – saying that he found the government’s decision to go down the education not legislation route was ‘disappointing and genuinely distressing’ and going on to state that such a programme could be ‘highly counter productive’. Lord Deben was clear “I do not think it a worthy decision’ and he was ‘not convinced by the government’s argument’. Lord Avebury asked ‘why should caste be treated differently…to any other protected characteristic’? The government response was not a surprising one. On behalf of the government Baroness Stowell recognised that there is some evidence of caste prejudice and discrimination taking place in the United Kingdom. However the government’s view is ‘this education programme, which will explore all the issues, not just those covered by discrimination legislation, is an appropriate and targeted way of dealing with incidents related to caste’ Baroness Shreela Flather, who is a Hindu of Indian origin quite pertinently asked: ‘Who is going to educate whom? We have put down so many things under education that I should think they could fill a whole blackboard. Without legislation, I do not understand who will give this education and who will be educated.’ The Minister however did go on to state ’The Government are largely in accord with the aims of this amendment. We all want to see an end to caste-based prejudice and discrimination. We are not closing the door to legislation. We have no plans to remove the power from the Act, and we will leave it there in case new evidence emerges…’ We are still wondering how much more evidence there needs to be. Plenty has now been amassed over the past 10 years and documented from the Dalit Solidarity Network UK report in 2006, to Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance in 2009 and the National Institute’s ‘robust’ report in 2010. The amendment went to a vote at 6.05. And we had a result! 256 peers voted for the amendment – with support from all sides of the House and all parties; 153 voted against. At 103 votes in favour, it was an outstanding and comprehensive victory. We know that other discrimination legislation did not change hearts and minds overnight. What they did do was to begin to change behaviours. Only when we had a law to protect and made certain discrimination morally and legally wrong did we see a change in attitudes. Lord Deben ended his speech by imploring the government ‘…do not fail the Dalits’.  

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Feb 20 2013

Mass Rally, Parliament Square, Monday 4th March 2013 1.30-3.30 pm

by Meena Varma in News

We call on all our friends and members to join us in Parliament Square, Westminster, London to add their voice to the debate to outlaw Caste Discrimination. The Peers of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Dalits have moved an amendment in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill to make ‘caste’ a protected characteristic in the Equality Act. The House of Lords will debate the amendment on March 4 and given time will call for a vote.  IF SUCCESSFUL THIS WOULD BE AN IMPORTANT STEP TOWARDS FINALLY OUTLAWING CASTE DISCRIMINATION WITHIN THE UK We will be joined by our friends from CasteWatch UK, VODI, ACDA and Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha UK – co organisers of the Rally

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Feb 17 2013

Landmark Case for Caste discrimination imperilled

by Meena Varma in News

The Guardian An employment tribunal hearing the first claim for unfair dismissal on the grounds of caste discrimination has collapsed after information handed to the judge by police led the judge to recuse herself from the case. Vijay Begraj, a former practice …  > click here to read the full article

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Feb 11 2013

Landmark Coventry Case

by Meena Varma in News

The UK’s landmark test case of caste discrimination is stalled for the fourth time. In a bizarre twist to the Begraj case, an application for the judge to be disqualified is now pending. > Read more of this now

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Feb 06 2013

“Delhi Declaration”

by Meena Varma in News

Led by the Chair of the National Federation of the ‘Dalit Land Rights Movement’,                Vincent Mahoharan – also Patron of DSN-UK .  Activists of the ‘Dalit Land Rights Movement’ drafted the “Delhi Declaration” at a two day national constitution to demand equitable land distribution for Dalits This event concluded on Tuesday January 22nd 2013 Click here to access the “Declaration“

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Jan 10 2013

House of Lords 9th January 2013

by Meena Varma in News

Baroness Thornton’s amendment clause 28ZD on Caste in the Equality Act to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012 was tabled in the House of Lords in the evening of Jan 9. 2013 Both DSN-UK and ACDA were present at the meeting Unfortunately, in spite of very powerful arguments from Baroness Thornton, herself, Lord Avebury ; Lord Harries and Lord Deben all calling for the legislation to be activated the Government felt unable to accept this amendment. Baroness Stowell of Beeston, speaking on behalf of the Government, did however agree to a further meeting with all stakeholders Baroness Thornton proposed an ‘big thank you’ to Lord Avebury and Lord Harries for their enormous contribution to this campaign as well as to Lord Deben for his significant comments made during the debate. She concluded by saying: ‘The Government are getting this wrong and they need to remedy it’. For the ‘Hansard’ transcript of this meeting please hit the link below http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/text/130109-gc0002.htm#13010974000272  

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Jan 07 2013

International Human Rights Day 10th December 2012

by Meena Varma in News

Human Rights Day 10 December 2012 At a reception to mark the London launch of the UK’s campaign for election to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, DSN-UK and CasteWatch UK continue to take up the cause for Dalit people in the UK and internationally. Here they met with the  Ambassador of Nepal; Keith Porteous Wood – Executive Director, National Secular Society; Baroness Sayeeda Warsi – Senior Minister of State for Human Rights, Foreign and Commonwealth Office  and Baroness Uddin – Politician and Community Activist. Issues discussed included the need for the UK Equality Act legislation to be activated as well as further discussions on the campaigns in South Asia specifically India and Nepal    Meena Varma,Director DSN-UK; Davinder Prasad, Director, CasteWatch UK              Davinder Prasad; Baroness Warsi  Davinder Prasad; Ambassador of Nepal (cenre)  from left:Keith Porteous Wood; Baroness Uddin; Meena Varma; Davinder Prasad

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