Evidence of Caste Discrimination in the UK revealed

18th August 2011

A Government-commissioned study on caste discrimination in the UK finds evidence of caste discrimination in work, provision of services, education, and harassment and violence as a result of caste discrimination.

The study was commissioned and published by the UK Government Equalities Office and conducted by Hilary Metcalf and Heather Rolfe at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

Caste discrimination was found to have extensive personal consequences including reduced career prospects, lower earnings, detrimental effects on education, social isolation, reduced access to social provisions, depression, anger, and loss of self-esteem. The discrimination identified in the study was amongst people with roots in the Indian sub-continent (who comprise five per cent of the population) and perpetrated by higher castes against the lower castes.

The study was commissioned in order to inform Government in relation to possible legislative or educational measures to combat caste discrimination in the UK. The study recommendations are that the Equality Act 2010 provisions on religious discrimination cannot cover caste discrimination and harassment as effectively as caste-specific provisions would and that the Government might tackle caste discrimination and harassment through extending anti-discrimination legislation to cover caste (i.e. using the power in the Equality Act 2010 to make caste an aspect of race) as well as through educative routes.

The Dalit Solidarity Network – UK, alongside other concerned groups, have worked hard to bring the issue of caste discrimination to the attention of the UK Government and will continue to press for action to be taken in terms of legislative measures to end caste discrimination in the UK, including the Government enactment of a clause on Caste contained in the Equality Act 2010.

More information:

>> The UK Government-commissioned report into the prevalence of caste prejudice and discrimination undertaken by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) was published in December 2010 and can be found here. A summary of the report is also available.

>> Contact the DSN-UK for further info on +44 (0) 2075018323 / info [at] dsnuk.org

>> Read an article from UK newspaper The Guardian on Caste Discrimination in the UK here

>> To order free copies of the Research Findings, please contact GEO Enquiries, Government Equalities Office, Floor 9, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SW1E 5DU. Email: enquiries@geo.gsi.gov.uk Tel: 0303 444 0000 Fax: 020 7944 0602.