IDSN advocates for the European External Action Service and the European Commission to take joint action and give international attention and recognition to caste discrimination as a cross cutting human rights and poverty concern. IDSN maintains that the EU must take a high profile official stand on the unacceptability of caste-based discrimination, develop an appropriate policy and include caste concerns in policy making and at all levels of operations.

IDSN has made specific recommendations to the EEAS, the Commission and EU Delegations and strongly encourages the EU to promote and make use of the draft UN principles and Guidelines for the Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent.

Current EU support to civil society accommodates activities to combat caste discrimination and to strengthen Dalit civil society, but strategic agreements, country strategies and programmes still fall short of addressing CBD adequately. Without an EU policy to address caste discrimination, people affected by this form of discrimination risk remaining politically and programmatically marginalised, and their issues tend to fall off the agenda of high level meetings.

EU instruments, such as EIDHR and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), must specifically reflect human rights and poverty issues stemming from this form of discrimination, in order for the EU to enhance its actions against it.

IDSN recommends that the EU systematically address human rights and poverty issues intersecting with caste discrimination in its country strategies and thematic analyses. The EU should promote inclusive dialogues and good practices on the topic with affected governments, civil society, member states and UN agencies, based also on UN observations and recommendations.

Download a compilation of UN recommendations on caste-based discrimination.

IDSN lobbies the EEAS to systematically address caste discrimination as part of EU foreign/human rights policy, including in the United Nations, and to formulate comprehensive policy measures covering development and humanitarian assistance, as well as trade relations and business cooperation.

IDSN recommends that the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission hold regular in-country consultations with representatives of affected communities and value the ongoing engagement of some EU institutions to identify good practices to overcome caste-based discrimination, including with support to the International Consultation on Good Practices and Strategies to Eliminate Caste Based Discrimination resulting in a Joint Declaration and Recommendations and a Consultation Report on good practices.

Read IDSN’s Appeal to the European Union (2012)

IDSN study on caste-based discrimination in South Asia (commissioned by the European Commission in 2010)

Towards an EU Policy Framework for the elimination of caste discrimination

MEP Q&As to Commissioners/the Commission/EEAS

Read an annex on country level action by EEAS