Written Question European Parliament

By: Jean Lambert

Regarding: Caste discrimination

Caste based discrimination affects more than 260 million people globally. Caste communities live in physical and social segregation, face gross injustice before the law and have limited access to land, employment, education and health care. The UN Special Rapporteur on Racism in his follow up to the World Conference against Racism has stated that this issue "should be given priority in the follow-up to the Durban Conference, in the fight against all forms of discrimination and the promotion of human rights worldwide."

Recommendations for action to counter caste discrimination have been made at EU level mainly through the European Parliament resolutions on human rights in the world and its recommendations for the UN Commission on Human Rights sessions. In contrast, it seems that no action has been taken by the Commission or the Council to enhance the political and human rights dialogue with caste afflicted countries on the issue of the continued practice of caste discrimination. Analyses of caste based discrimination are yet to be included in the Council's annual human rights report. Effectiveness of the EU's human rights policy in terms of addressing caste discrimination still remains to be assessed.

Given the continued gross violation of human rights:

  • What actions and measures have the Commission set in place to respond to the continued dehumanising practice of caste discrimination?

  • What steps have been taken to promote the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on caste discrimination?

  • What steps can be taken by the Commission to make sure that references to this enormous human rights problem together with suggestions for remedial measures are made in all relevant EU statements, including it's own Country Strategy Reports?

  • Will caste discrimination be included as an agenda item at forthcoming EU India summits?

    March 29, 2004

Landelijke India Werkgroep / India Committee of the Netherlands - April 6, 2004