The report on the UN human rights review of the UK was adopted today. A significant recommendation on caste discrimination has been included in the final report. This will provide the basis for monitoring and reporting on the UK’s efforts to amend its legislation to include caste and promote a national strategy to eliminate caste discrimination in the next four years.
The UPR report from the review of the UK on 24 May has now been adopted, and includes one strong recommendation on caste-discrimination made by Nicaragua, who expressed concern at reports of caste based discrimination in the UK. The recommendation reads that the UK should,
“Put in practice a national strategy to eliminate discrimination against caste, through the immediate adoption of the Equality Law of 2010 that prohibits such discrimination, in conformity with its international human rights obligations, including CERD’s General Recommendation 29 and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism (Nicaragua)”
All recommendations in the report will be examined by the UK Government in due time, and no later than the 21st session of the Human Rights Council in September 2012. The response of the UK to these recommendations will be included in the outcome report adopted by the Human Rights Council at its 21st session in September 2012.
Many states also made more general recommendations on the UK Equality Act 2010 and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, to mention some.
The Dalit Solidarity Network UK (DSN-UK) and the International Dalit Solidarity Network have worked closely together in preparations for this review and will monitor and follow up on this important recommendation.
Immediately following the review on 24 May, the DSN-UK issued a press release with immediate reactions to the review.
Among the points raised in the press release was the fact that the UK delegation did not respond directly to the caste recommendation at the review but promised they would respond to all points raised in writing.
”Caste discrimination must be outlawed in the UK,” said Meena Varma of the Dalit Solidarity Network – UK (DSN-UK) in the press release, “we are looking forward to immediate action being taken by the Government in response to the UN concerns and concerns of hundreds of thousands of UK citizens affected by this type of discrimination, from which there is currently no proper method of redress.”
A side event was also held by IDSN, DSN-UK, Minority Rights Group International, International Movement Against all forms of Racism, and NCDHR to follow-up on the immediate outcome of the UPR review. At the side-event, which was held at the UN on 25 May, Meena Varma, Director of DSN-UK, reflected on the outcome of the UPR. A statement was read out on behalf og Vijay Begraj, a victim of caste discrimination in the UK.
Jeremy Corbyn, UK MP and chair of DSN-UK, also spoke at the event where representatives from the UK delegation in Geneva, were also present.
Mr. Corbyn commented, “As a result of campaigning we achieved a breakthrough in 2010 when Parliament amended the Equality Act to outlaw caste discrimination, pending Government commissioned research. We now have the report with the evidence and the UK Government must act immediately to adopt the caste discrimination clause, and deliver proper access to justice for victims.”
- ‘UK caste battle taken to the UN’ (Press release by DSN-UK)