13-15 March 2015 LibDem Spring Conference states their commitment to end caste discrimination

1st April 2015

DSN Director Meena Varma  spoke at the LibDem conference in Liverpool on 14 March 2015 at a side event organised by the Humanist Secular Lib Dems. Joining her on the panel were Dr Julian Huppert MP and Jo Swinson MP. The meeting was chaired by Gordon Lishman. Our thanks to the Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrats for making the event happen and for their ongoing support.

The Party’s Equalities Motion, and the policy paper that it endorsed at the Autumn Conference, both included a commitment to tackle caste discrimination.

The motion was carried without any relevant amendments, so the following quotes now represent party policy.

The most relevant sections of the policy paper and the motion are below:

Policy Paper 120: Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential

(Equalities Policy Paper)

Executive Summary: Recognising Diversity in Communities

“Liberal Democrats welcome differences in faith or culture, to promote diversity in communities, so we will:

* “Accelerate moves to give caste recognition in law on  level footing with other protected characteristics (3.3.3)


  1. Inclusive Environment

3.3 Recognising Diversity in Communities

3.3.3    Caste

In line with international law Liberal Democrats reject any notion that the circumstances of someone’s birth should determine their future role in society.  The Enterprise and regulatory Reform Act 2013 requires the Government to include caste as an aspect of race within the Equality Act 2010.  While we await the Government’s consultation on this matter we think caste needs recognition in law on a level footing with other protected characteristics and Liberal Democrats would accelerate the implementation of caste discrimination provisions.


F27 Policy Motion: Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential (Equalities Policy Paper)

Conference notes that:

  1. Liberal Democrats are rightly proud of a commitment to equality that goes back decades, and the vision for a fair, free and open society is enshrined in our constitution.
  2. In government Liberal Democrats have championed equality, working for a fairer society.

Conference believes that:

  1. There is still much more to be done to reduce inequalities, poverty and disadvantage for those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 – Liberal Democrats want to expand opportunity and unlock potential by promoting equality in education and employment, in health and wellbeing and in an inclusive society.
  2. Liberal Democrats want Britain to take the lead in tackling inequalities abroad.
  3. At the heart of our approach is the promotion of human rights to empower individuals to reach their full potential and have more control over their own life, to live in a way that is right for them and free from discrimination.

Conference therefore endorses policy paper 120, Expanding Opportunity, Unlocking Potential, and particularly welcomes its proposals to:

  1. Build an inclusive society that celebrates diversity through:
  2. a) Accelerating the recognition of caste as an aspect of race under the Equality Act.

(Agenda, pages 53-55)


Equalities Policy Paper, Autumn Conference 2014 :


Agenda, Autumn Conference 2014: