The 21st of June has been marked as a global day of action to end caste discrimination and marches were carried out in London, Washington DC, San Francisco and India on this day. In London, a letter was presented to Prime Minister David Cameron, calling for action on enacting caste legislation in the UK, on caste-based rape and on endorsing the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent (UN P&Gs). In Washington DC protesters picketed outside the Capitol demanding that Congress pass a binding resolution mandating action by US agencies in caste-affected countries and asking the US Government to take action on caste discrimination by endorsing the UN P&Gs. In other cities, protesters marked their solidarity with the global march by gathering and marching with placards and holding speeches.
Key demands by the many protesters from a wide-range of organisations in the US working to end caste-based discrimination and representatives from organisations in South Asia including Asha Kowtal of AIDMAM/NCDHR and in coalition with the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network and the Dalit NGO Federation in Nepal:
- Endorsement by the White House of Draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent established by the UN Human Rights Council
- Passage by the US Congress of a binding resolution against caste-based discrimination that mandates action by US government agencies in caste-affected countries
Key demands by the many protesters from a wide-range of organisations in the UK working to end caste-based discrimination:
Letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron:
- Demanded that delays to the implementation of the law agreed by Parliament to outlaw Caste-based discrimination in the UK are stopped.
- Requested that the Prime Minister (PM) added not just his voice but his clout to the Stop Caste Rape campaign and the Battle Plan to stop rape as a weapon of war announced by Foreign Secretary, Mr. Hague and Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie on 10, June, is expanded to include Caste-based rape
- Asked that the PM support our call for an end to Caste-based Discrimination and that the Foreign Office, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, DCMS and the Department for International Development set out in one document what actions and initiatives they are taking to end Caste-based discrimination, here and abroad.
- Requested the PM supports the Dalit organisations’ request that Government’s policy makers adopt and integrate the draft UN Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent into their anti discrimination, human rights and employment policy development frameworks.