During the 3rd Cycle of the UN Universal Periodic Review of Nepal, the country received at least 14 recommendations on caste, including education of Dalit girls, implementation of the legislation combatting caste based discrimination, inclusion in society, excessive use of force by the police and many others.
On the 21st January, Nepal was reviewed by other UN member states through UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, looking at the human rights situation in the country. Ahead of the review IDSN issued a factsheet jointly with the Dalit NGO Federation (DNF) based on the Joint Stakeholder Submission of Non-governmental Organization, released by Dalit Civil Society Organizations’ Coalition for UPR, Nepal in collaboration with IDSN.
Among the main topics raised by the delegations making recommendations at the review, caste-based discrimination received special attention. Portugal recommended to “take the necessary measures to protect ethnic and caste minorities, namely from excessive use of force by police and alleged torture in custody and punish perpetrators”.
Argentina, for its part, recommended Nepal to take measures to advance in the fight against caste and racial discrimination.
Another group of delegations raised concerns about the implementation of the constitution and legislation provisions (El Salvador); including the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Act (Germany); to amend rape legislation in accordance with international standards (Australia); or to reinforce access to justice for persons suffering from caste-based discrimination (Croatia).
Interestingly, another group of delegations made recommendations relating to educational measure, including conducting public awareness campaigns to eliminate caste-based hierarchies (Bahamas and Sudan); ensure educational inclusion of children belonging to lower or unrepresented castes (Finland); and include the issue of caste discrimination in school and university curriculums (Malta).
The growing number of recommendations on caste-based discrimination demonstrates the elevated interest of the international community in this heinous form of discrimination.
The government of Nepal will consider the acceptance (or not) of the recommendations received and will address them during the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, in July 2021.
According to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries.
The issues raised by delegations during this process will guide the human rights bilateral dialogues between the recommending State and the State under review, with a view to a collaborative effort between the parties.
See the list of recommendations on caste based discrimination made to Nepal:
- Consider including the issue of caste discrimination in school and university curriculums (Malta);
- Take the necessary measures to protect ethnic and caste minorities, namely from excessive use of force by police and alleged torture in custody and punish perpetrators (Portugal);
- Continue to strengthen its efforts to prevent and eliminate discrimination based on caste, including through the full and effective implementation of the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Act (Republic of Korea);
- Conduct public awareness campaigns to eliminate caste-based hierarchies (Palestine);
- Intensify public awareness campaigns to eliminate the notion of racial or caste-based hierarchies (Sudan);
- Take the necessary measures to advance in the fight against discrimination in all its forms, in particular racial and caste discrimination (Argentina);
- Step up efforts to end gender-based violence and caste-based discrimination; and ensure access to justice for survivors, including by bringing rape laws in line with international standards (Australia);
- Conduct public awareness campaigns to eliminate discrimination based on racial or caste-based hierarchies and ensure that educational curricula do not propagate these hierarchies (Bahamas);
- Investigate effectively and prosecute caste based discrimination and violence (Croatia);
- Effectively apply national legislation towards the elimination of all practices based on a caste system, including in the light of the relevant human rights instruments (El Salvador);
- Step up efforts in the fight against segregation and discrimination of indigenous peoples and ethnic and caste minorities, including Dalits and Tibetans (Czech Republic);
- Take all necessary measures to ensure full inclusion and improve learning results for all children belonging to Dalits, underrepresented castes and indigenous peoples, including children with disabilities, at all levels of education, and to ensure the representation of these groups, especially women, in teaching positions (Finland);
- Continue the efforts to combat caste-based discrimination and segregation (Italy);
- Continue efforts to combat discrimination based on caste and gender (Lebanon);