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2013/2676(RSP) - 10/10/2013 Text adopted by Parliament, single reading

The European Parliament adopted a resolution tabled by the Committee on Development on caste-based discrimination. Members noted that caste-based discrimination existed in numerous countries across the globe, with the highest number of victims being found in South Asia, but also in Africa, the Middle East and the diaspora community, affecting an estimated 260 million people worldwide. It condemned the continuing human rights violations committed against people suffering from caste hierarchies and caste-based discrimination, including the denial of equality and of access to the legal system and to employment, continued segregation and caste-induced barriers to the achievement of basic human rights and development. Members particularly expressed serious concern about the social exclusion of Dalits in India and the widespread impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of crimes against Dalits and other victims of caste-based human rights violations.

Parliament called on the Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU to:

  • recognise caste as a distinct form of discrimination rooted in the social and/or religious context, which must be tackled together with other grounds of discrimination, i.e. ethnicity, race, descent, religion, gender and sexuality, in EU efforts to fight all forms of discrimination;
  • consider people affected by caste-based discrimination as an identifiable group in policies and programmes and mainstream the fight against caste-based discrimination in EU legislation, policies and programming documents and to adopt operational guidelines for its implementation;
  • enhance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in order to assess effectively the impact of EU action on the situation of people affected by this form of discrimination;
  • carry out a systematic assessment of the impact of trade and/or investment agreements on groups affected by caste discrimination, and address these issues with industry representatives, government authorities and relevant civil society organisations;
  • provide stronger support for development projects combating caste-based discrimination as a serious human rights violation that exacerbates poverty, and to take this form of discrimination into account in all projects with a focus on education, women, access to justice, political participation or labour in relevant countries;
  • raise the issue of caste-based discrimination at the highest level with the governments of affected countries during bilateral summits and other international meetings;
  • promote joint initiatives to eliminate caste discrimination with the governments of states, such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, where caste-affected communities are subjected to so-called ‘untouchability practices’, and, more broadly, to combat discrimination based on work and descent, which occurs in various countries, including Yemen, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Somalia; recalls that caste discrimination has gone unmentioned in agreements with many of these states;
  • include, where relevant, a ‘caste-based discrimination clause’ in all trade and association agreements;
  • promote non-discriminatory and inclusive policies and procedures in business operations with caste-affected countries, including affirmative action for Dalits and similarly affected people in the labour market and the private sector;
  • promote regular, broad consultation with civil society on caste-based discrimination and to allocate adequate resources to civil society organisations for fighting caste discrimination;
  • promote a caste-sensitive post-2015 development agenda, with the reduction of inequalities based on or aggravated by caste as a crucial and measurable goal.