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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Caste Discrimination in India

11.12.2012 - (2012/2909(RSP))

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

Jacky Hénin, Mikael Gustafsson, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Willy Meyer, Sabine Lösing, Patrick Le Hyaric on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0574/2012

Postopek : 2012/2909(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Caste Discrimination in India


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the hearing held by its Committee on Development on 18 December 2006,

– having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2006 on the EU's economic and trade relations with India and Parliament's Human Rights annual resolutions,

– having regard to the European Parliament's Resolution on the human rights situation of the Daltis in India of 2007,

– having regard of the European Parliament's Resolution on place the 9th EU - India City Summit of 2008,

–   having regard to General Recommendation XXIX (descent-based discrimination) adopted by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 22 August 2002 and the 48 measures to be taken by the State Parties,

–   having regard to the various provisions in the Constitution of India for the protection and promotion of the rights of Dalits, concerning at least 167 million people, including the provisions on the abolition of the practice of untouchability, the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of caste, equality of opportunity in matters of public employment and educational, employment and political affirmative action through reservations in State-run institutions and political representative bodies; having regard also to numerous legislative measures ordering the abolition of some of the worst practices of untouchability and caste discrimination, including bonded labour, manual scavenging and atrocities against Dalits,

–   having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Caste System is a reactionary system of social oppression with the worst affected being the Dalits, or Atishudras, or Scheduled castes;

B. whereas according 2001 Indian census 16.2 per cent of the total population are of scheduled castes;

C. whereas caste discrimination is found in varying degrees in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, Yemen, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cameroon, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Micronesia. It also occurs in diaspora communities in Europe, North America, and Asia;

D. whereas caste oppression is a feudal originated reactionary system of class and social division having heredity, compulsory and endogamous characteristics;

E. whereas the caste system and the suppression to the Dalits have been utilised by colonial powers in the Indian subcontinent in past and by the big monopolies in present as a tool of exploitation of the workers and farmers,

F. whereas the Dalits and are subjects of forced and bonded labour, are paid less and work longer hours, are more likely to face unemployment

G. whereas the privatisation of the Indian public sector has directly effected the preservation of quoted positions for Dalit employees;

H. whereas the agrarian reform by the Government of India and the secession or phasing out of the subsidies agricultural products of small farmers has resulted to an agricultural sector crisis effecting the employment of Dalits in rural areas;

I. whereas Dalit women, who alongside "Tribal" women are the poorest of the poor in India, face double discrimination on the basis of caste and gender in all spheres of life, are subjected to gross violations of their physical integrity, including sexual abuse and prostitution by dominant castes with impunity are socially excluded and economically exploited,

J. whereas the privatisation and the class barriers in education have resulted to scheduled castes children to have higher school dropout and illiteracy rates than these of the general population [1];

K. whereas the privatisation of the Indian health system and the dismantling of the public food distribution system has resulted to the malnutrition of the Dalit children population; whereas half of India's Dalit children are undernourished, 21% are "severely underweight", and 12% die before their fifth birthday[2]

L. whereas, despite the fact that many Dalits do not report crimes for fear of reprisals by the dominant castes, official police statistics averaged over the past 5 years show that 13 Dalits are murdered every week, 5 Dalits" homes or possessions are burnt every week, 6 Dalits are kidnapped or abducted every week, 3 Dalit women are raped every day, 11 Dalits are beaten every day and a crime is committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes[3]


1.  Welcomes the various provisions in the Constitution of India for the protection and promotion of the rights of Dalits; notes however that, in spite of these provisions, implementation of laws protecting the rights of Dalits remains grossly inadequate, and that atrocities, untouchability, illiteracy, inequality of opportunity, manual scavenging, inadequacy of wages, bonded labour, child labour and landlessness continue to blight the lives of India's Dalits;

2. Welcomes the ban on the employment of children as domestic servants and workers in roadside eateries, restaurants, teashops etc. and urges the Indian Government to take immediate steps towards the complete banning of all forms of child labour;

3. Calls on the Government of India and the State Governments to set up land reform plans for the redistribution of the land to the small farmers including the Dalit farmers;

4. Urges the Indian Government to fully implement the special reserved seats and posts for Dalits and Scheduled Castes for the public sector; adopt similar legislation for the private sector with full respect on employment rights.

5. Calls on the Indian Government and the State Governments to put forward an infrastructure development plans in Dalit and Scheduled Castes areas;

6. Calls on the Government of India to ensure complete and time-bound implementation of all policy and budgetary measures towards the welfare and development of Dalits, including full implementation of the Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes; stresses the need for the creation of a National and State level Commissions to monitor the implementation of schemes connected;

7. Expresses its concern at the low rate of conviction for the perpetrators of such crimes and calls on the Government of India to improve its criminal justice system in order to facilitate registration of charges against perpetrators of crimes against Dalits, to increase the conviction rate for such perpetrators, to significantly reduce the duration of court procedures; and to take special measures for the protection of Dalit women; calls the Government of India to amend and strengthen the Prevention of Atrocities Acts (1989); asks for the full financial rehabilitation of victims and families of caste related violence and discrimination;

8. Asks for the halting of privatisation and commercialisation of the Indian education system; calls on the Government of India to establish special educational scholarships for students of Dalit and Scheduled Castes background;

9. Calls for the full implementation of the agricultural workers Minimum Wage Act

10. Notes for the Public Distribution System of basic food products to be strengthened by financial resources and to be available across India;

11. Calls the European Commission to end the negotiations with the Government of India for the creation of Free Trade Agreement between the EU and India;

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the President, the Government and Parliament of India, the UN Secretary-General, and the heads of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization and the UNICEF.