IDSN monitors the work of the Parliament and selected parliamentary committees and delegations with a particular focus on caste discrimination. In association with its members and in support of an EP agenda to eliminate caste discrimination, IDSN facilitates submissions and background information on countries and thematic issues.
The European Parliament (EP) has addressed caste-based discrimination in committee hearings, questions to Commissioners, joint statements, EP resolutions on the EU Annual Report on Human Rights in the World and through the adoption of a resolution in 2007 on the Human Rights Situation of Dalits in India.
On 10 October 2013, the European Parliament debated – and then adopted – a resolution on caste discrimination, calling on the EU to strengthen its policy on the issue. The resolution had been prepared by the Committee on Development (DEVE), which unanimously approved the draft resolution on 17 September 2013.
In December 2012, the EP adopted a strongly worded resolution on caste discrimination in India, which included a call for the adoption of an EU policy on this issue. A resolution on violence against women in India, adopted in January 2013, also included references to caste discrimination.
IDSN urges MEPs to address caste discrimination in EU legislation and policies on human rights, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance, as well as business and human rights and trade relations, and calls for EP support to promote EU action in the UN.
IDSN lobbies the Committee on Development, the Subcommittee on human rights, The Foreign Affairs Committee, the Delegation for relations with India and the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia, to ensure that caste discrimination is paid adequate attention in committee activities, such as studies, communications and resolutions, ultimately for the promotion of human rights, democracy and development in affected countries.
MEPs are encouraged to engage in dialogues on caste discrimination with parliamentarians and officials from caste affected countries on what measures can be taken to eliminate caste discrimination effectively. IDSN strongly recommends parliamentary groups to always meet with representatives of communities affected by caste discrimination during visits to their countries.
In February 2011, a hearing on Caste Discrimination in South Asia was jointly organised by the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Committee on Development, the Delegation for relations with India and the Delegation for relations with South Asia. MEPs called for action – more information can be found in the report on the hearing.