The European Union is the largest provider of development aid in the world, a major stakeholder in international human rights fora, and a leading global trading power.

Human rights and democracy lie at the heart of the EU’s internal and external policies. Poverty eradication is the ultimate aim of EU development policy, which the EU aims to implement through a rights-based approach and the EU Development Policy Agenda for Change.

The EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy was adopted in 2012 with a view to enhance the effectiveness and visibility of EU human rights policy and move respect for human rights to the centre of EU foreign policy.

IDSN aims to influence the policies, funding instruments and programmes of the European Union and EU member states, towards coherent, comprehensive and effective action for the elimination of caste-based discrimination. With such action, the European Union can contribute to reducing poverty globally and eliminate one of the biggest human rights issues in the world, affecting at least 260 million people, most of whom are caught in a poverty trap due to discrimination and exclusion.

IDSN therefore seeks to influence European Union institutions for proactive measures and actions within EU’s spheres of influence on the issue of caste discrimination, whether in the context of the United Nations human rights bodies or in cooperation with caste-affected countries. The EU is encouraged to take caste discrimination into policy and human rights dialogues with affected countries in a systematic and transparent manner and to ensure that all relevant EU external action gives special consideration to the problem of caste discrimination.

IDSN calls for the development of an EU policy on caste discrimination as part of EU foreign/ human rights policy, which can also provide guidance on special measures in programming in development and humanitarian assistance, as well as in trade relations and business cooperation.  

The IDSN specific recommendations to the EU are framed in our Appeal to European Parliament, the Commission, the EEAS and the Council.  The document reflects IDSN’s concern that the EU in the future systematically addresses caste related human rights violations and poverty issues at all levels of operation and policy making. IDSN insists that the EU must include caste as a ground of discrimination, alongside other forms of discrimination, to be pursued under EU policies to fight discrimination and addressed in cross-cutting thematic programmes.

For more information, please see specific IDSN pages on the European Parliament, the Commission/the EEAS and the Council with further references and resources. IDSN is also a member of the Brussels-based Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN).

EU relevant documents in the IDSN database

Read about IDSN’s work with the European Union in the EU chapter of our Annual Reports

Documentation links on EU & caste

Latest documentation links

Find more documentation on EU & caste