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Our International Work

How can we eliminate caste discrimination? Caste discrimination is one of the biggest human rights violations...

How can we eliminate caste discrimination?

Girls dancing in a camp for freed bonded labourers in Sindh, Pakistan. Photo: Jakob Carlsen.

Caste discrimination is one of the biggest human rights violations facing the international community today; both in terms of the numbers affected and the severity of the human rights violations caused by this form of discrimination. DSN-UK is therefore a member of the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN).The UN human rights bodies have addressed the issue of caste discrimination in several reviews of caste-affected countries and relevant thematic UN studies, including the UN Sub-Commission study on discrimination based on work and descent.

Change has to come from within caste affected countries themselves, but IDSN raises awareness and engages with policy makers at international level in order to create pressure from the outside.

DSN-UK Submissions to the United Nations (Geneva)

In August 2011  DSN-UK alongside IDSN submitted a Shadow Report to the Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination

UN human rights bodies have on a number of occasions addressed the issue of caste discrimination in the UK, calling for the UK Government to amend its legislation, including the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has twice recommended the UK Government to enact a prohibition against caste discrimination in 2003 and in 2011 to invoke Clause9(5)(a) of the Equality Act, recalling CERD General Recommendation 29 on “descent” in article 1(1) of the Convention (2002).

Recalling its previous concluding observations (CERD/C/63/CO/11 para. 25) and its General Recommendation 29 (2002) on descent, the Committee recommends that the Minister responsible in the State party invoke section 9(5)(a) of the Equality Act 2010 to provide for “caste to be an aspect of race” in order to provide remedies to victims of this form of discrimination. The Committee further requests the State party to inform the Committee of developments on this matter in its next periodic report.”

> DSN ISDN CERD79 UK report

In May 2012  DSN-UK made a submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review in their review of the UK.

The UPR is a country’s Human Rights MOT. The UPR report from the review of the UK on 24 May has now been adopted, and includes one strong recommendation on caste-discrimination made by Nicaragua, who expressed concern at reports of caste based discrimination in the UK. The recommendation reads that the UK should,

“Put in practice a national strategy to eliminate discrimination against caste, through the immediate adoption of the Equality Law of 2010 that prohibits such discrimination, in conformity with its international human rights obligations, including CERD’s General Recommendation 29 and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism (Nicaragua)”

> UPRsubmission_UK2012

The UK government did not accept the recommendation.

I D S N Work

> Learn more about IDSN’s work with the United Nations

> Learn more about IDSN’s work with the European Union

Other IDSN’s members and associates also engage in dialogue with national and regional decision makers  – learn more via their respective websites.