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The EU should use all its programs, policies and agreements to combat caste-based discrimination in third countries, says a resolution voted on Thursday. Worldwide, about 260 million people from groups defined by descent and occupation suffer poverty, segregation and abuse due to discrimination, it notes.

Caste should be recognised as a distinct form of discrimination rooted in the social and/or religious context, say MEPs, and as a human rights issue. A special attention should be given to caste-sensitive approached in times of humanitarian crises, say MEPs, when the marginalised groups should receive aid and support as well.

MEPs call the EU to raise this issue at the highest level with the governments of affected countries and to include, where relevant, a "caste-based discrimination clause in all trade and association agreements", says the text.