A cross-party group of prominent Members of the European Parliament has sent an open letter to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, calling on them to address caste discrimination directly at the October EU-India Summit.
The letter describes a deep concern for the human rights of Dalits in India stating,
“Despite constitutional safeguards and special legislation for the protection of lndia’s 201 million ‘scheduled castes’ violations of their fundamental human rights are reported to continue on a large scale. UN human rights institutions have continuously documented caste-based discrimination in India with violations affecting a full spectrum of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. These violations also curtail the right to education and employment, undermine access to justice and catalyse sexual violence and other crimes targeted at women and girls. Furthermore, the dramatically shrinking space for civil society in many countries of the world, including India, has severe implications, also for Dalit human rights defenders.”
The letter calls on the EU to encourage the Indian Government to:
- Take immediate steps to eliminate abuses against Dalits and all other marginalized communities and provide concrete plans to implement laws and government policies to secure their protectio
- Publicly condemn crimes against Dalits and minorities, and promptly prosecute all those responsible for such crime
- Protect the rights to peaceful expression and assembly and ensure that all human rights defenders, including Dalits, are able to carry out their work without being harassed by the authorities