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Procedure : 2012/2909(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0576/2012

Texts tabled :

B7-0576/2012

Debates :

PV 13/12/2012 - 15.2
CRE 13/12/2012 - 15.2

Votes :

PV 13/12/2012 - 16.2
CRE 13/12/2012 - 16.2

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2012)0512

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 136kWORD 68k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0574/2012
11.12.2012
PE502.573v01-00
 
B7-0576/2012

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure


on Caste Discrimination in India (2012/2909(RSP))


Karima Delli, Franziska Keller, Jean Lambert, Barbara Lochbihler, Rui Tavares, Satu Hassi, Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Margrete Auken on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Caste Discrimination in India (2012/2909(RSP))  
B7‑0576/2012

The European Parliament,

- Having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular its Resolution of 1 February 2007 on the human rights situation of Dalits in India and its annual reports on the situation of human rights in the world, notably the one of 18 April 2012;

 

- Having regard to European Parliament resolution of 26 March 2009 on an EU-India Free Trade Agreement

 

- having regard to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;

 

- having regard to the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination CERD, and its General Recommendations XXIV;

 

- having regard to the Government proposal by Mukul Vasnik, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment on "The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012" presented to the Parliament on 3rd September 20

 

- having regard to other international human rights conventions signed and ratified by India;

 

- having regard to the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination on Discrimination based on Work and Descent;

- having regard to the statement on the topic by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay of 19 October 2009, and her appeal to UN member states to endorse of the aforementioned draft UN Principles and Guidelines;

 

- having regard to the recommendations by UN Special Procedures and UN treaty bodies and in the two Universal Periodic Reviews on India of 10 April 2008 and 24 May 2012

- having regard to the 9 July 2012 report of the United Nations Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on India, in particular recommendations 138.43, 138.47, 138.68, 138.71, 138.72, 138.73, 138.75, 138.87, 138.118, and 138.63;

 

- having regard to the deep concerns expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders on the situation of Dalits’ rights activists in India;

 

- having regard to the Maila Mukti Yatra, the nation-wide march of thousands of people for the eradication of manual scavenging from 30 November to 31 January, crossing 18 States of India

 

- having regard to the EU-India thematic dialogue on human rights;

- having regard to Articles 2 and 3(5) of the Treaty on the European Union;

 

- having regard to Art. 122(5) of its rules of procedure;

A. Whereas India has made enormous economic progress and as a member of the BRICS countries plays an important role in world politics, whereas however caste discrimination continues to be widespread and persistent

 - 

B. India's Constitution grants its citizens equal status and discrimination based on caste and untouchability are deemed illegal by Articles 15 and 17 of the Indian Constitution; whereas Dalits have served in the highest political functions; whereas India has laws and regulations intended to protect Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, such as the 1976 Protection of Civil Rights Act and the 1989 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act; whereas Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made several strong statements about prioritizing combating violence against Dalits;

C. Whereas despite these efforts, some 170 million Dalits and indigenous people continue to suffer from severe forms of social exclusion; whereas the ILO estimates that the overwhelming majority of bonded labor victims in India are from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes; and whereas in many Indian states and regions Dalits are forced into manual scavenging and other inhumane and degrading activities;

 

D. Whereas manual scavenging, despite being legally banned, continues to be widespread with hundreds of thousands of almost exclusively female Dalits performing this utterly degrading and inhumane form of dry latrine cleaning servitude, with the Indian Railway being the largest single employer of manual scavengers

 

E. Whereas Dalit and Adivasi women are the poorest of the poor in India, face multiple discrimination on the basis of caste and gender and are subjected to gross violations of their physical integrity, including sexual abuse by dominant castes with impunity, and are socially excluded and economically exploited; whereas in 2011 a Thompson Reuters Trust Law survey identified India as one of the five most dangerous places in the world to be a woman;

 

F. Whereas in the state of Haryana numerous Dalit women and girls have been raped in recent months and whereas according to some estimates the vast majority of crimes against Dalit women are not reported due to fear of social ostracism and threats to personal safety and security;

 

G. Whereas in one particular case in Haryana State a 16-year old Dalit girl was gang-raped in the village of Dabra, Hisar district, on 9 September 2012; whereas her father committed suicide after discovering what happened and the police only decided to take belated action when faced with mass protests;

 

H. Whereas on 20 November, 2012, in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu State, a mob of approximately 1,000 people from higher castes looted and torched at least 268 houses in Dalit communities without any intervention by the police force present;

I. Whereas implementation of existing legislation and judicial follow-up of atrocities and cases of discrimination is insufficient in many states and regions; whereas according to official figures, two women are raped every 60 minutes in India and a young woman is found beaten to death, burnt or driven to suicide, every six hours.

J. Whereas the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 lacks effective implementation and whereas the pervasive prejudice against women in the police force, legal system, medical establishment and the political class, impedes the dispensation of justice

K. Whereas the conviction rate under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (PoA Act) seeking to prevent atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes continues to be very low, providing no deterrence for crimes.

L. Whereas according to various local and international sources between 100.000 and 200.000 girls – the majority of whom are Dalits - are trapped in bonded labour in spinning mills in Tamil Nadu which supply yarn to  factories that produce garments for western brands;

 

M. Whereas India, when presenting its candidacy for the Human Rights Council, ahead of the elections of 20 May 2011, pledged to uphold the highest standards to promote and protect human rights;

 

 

1. Expresses its deep concern over the continued human rights violations committed against people affected by caste discrimination and widespread untouchability practices and particularly the practice of manual scavenging;

2. Expresses its solidarity with the victims of the caste-based crimes and welcomes the Maila Mukti Yatra 2012-2013;

3. Condemns the high number of atrocities committed against Dalits in India, the weak enforcement of law for crimes committed against Dalit and the resulting impunity

4. Deplores the non-intervention by state actors in acts of communal violence against Dalits, and the institutional inertia in securing access to justice and due process;

5. Acknowledges the significant work that has already been done at federal, state, regional and local levels to eradicate caste discrimination;

6. Remains however alarmed by the Haryana and Dharmapuri cases and other reported and unreported atrocities against Dalits;

7. Urges the Indian authorities, at federal, state, regional and local level to live up to their pledges, to implement existing legislation, to ensure protection of Dalits and other vulnerable groups in society and to ensure a police- and judicial follow-up of reported atrocities and other cases of discrimination;

8. Urges the Indian authorities to ensure victims can safely register their cases with police and judicial authorities;

9. Calls on the Indian authorities to repeal those provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act which do not conform to international standards and potentially undermine the work of nongovernmental organizations, incl. Dalit organizations and other organizations representing disadvantaged groups in Indian society by prohibiting them from receiving funds from international donors,

10. believes that the provisions of the FCRA poses a growing challenge to the effectiveness of the EU’s policies towards India and calls for immediate action by the European Commission and member states to address these undue restrictions on the political space of Indian civil society organisations.

11. Calls on the Indian Parliament to act on its plans to pass a new Bill prohibiting employment of manual scavengers and securing their rehabilitation; and calls on the Government to secure its immediate enforcement;

 

12. Supports the UPR recommendation to maintain disaggregated data on caste and related discrimination

13. Calls on the Council, the Commission and Member States to recognise caste discrimination as a global human rights issue and to endorse the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent in the UN Human Rights Council;

14. Calls on the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, the EU Special Representative on Human Rights, and EU Member States to develop and endorse an EU policy on caste discrimination;

 

15. Calls on EU and Member States' representations in India to include the issue of caste discrimination in their dialogues with the Indian authorities and to prioritize programmes addressing caste discrimination; expects that any agreement or EU cooperation with India be priory assessed as to how it would affect caste discrimination;

 

16. Calls on the Commission to address the problem of cast discrimination in the ongoing negotiations on the EU-India Free Trade Agreement and stresses the importance of a strong and binding social and environmental sustainability chapter, including compliance with ILO core labour standards and labour protection, as well as a civil society monitoring mechanism authorized to make recommendations on sustainability;

17. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to India's Prime Minister, India's Minister for Law & Justice, India's Home Minister, India's Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, the Council, the HR-VP for Foreign and Security Policy, the Commission, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the Secretary-General of the UN and the President of the UN General Assembly.

 

Last updated: 11 December 2012Legal notice