Rights of Dalit Peoples

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2002 National Black Members' Conference
23 May 2002

Conference is deeply disappointed that the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban in August of last year failed to address the issue of caste discrimination and related forms of discrimination based on work and descent.

Conference recognises the positive contribution to the Conference of Dalit representatives from India and of affected people from several other countries in providing testimonies of systematic discrimination on the basis of work and descent.

Conference expresses concern that the European Union (EU) did not express clear and unified support for the paragraph on “discrimination by work and descent” in the Draft Programme of Action, at Conference.

Conference welcomes the European Parliament’s call for EU member states to investigate to what extent its policies contribute to abolition of caste-discrimination and the practice of untouchability in India. We call on the National Black Members’ Committee, National Executive Council, International Committee, National Affiliated Political Fund, General Political Fund, including our UNISON Link MPs, to:

1)Lobby the Government to prioritise caste discrimination in its development and human rights programmes in the relevant countries;

2)Urge the Government to ensue that discrimination by work descent continues to be raised with the appropriate governments, including at the regular EU/India summits and other bilateral occasions.