IDSN welcomes the new EU Human Rights Guidelines on Non-discrimination in External Action, where caste is mentioned several times as a form of discrimination that must be addressed.

It is specified in the guidelines that the term ‘descent’, “includes discrimination against members of communities based on forms of social stratification such as caste and analogous systems of inherited status”, and that the EU should, “Participate actively in UN mechanisms and processes dedicated to general and specific discrimination related issues such as … discrimination based on caste (work and descent)”.

The guidelines also state the EU must encourage and support active participation of civil society in multilateral fora and mechanisms in relation to discrimination based on caste (work and descent).

The new Guidelines are meant to support the EU’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and ‘Leaving no-one behind’, and the EU Council has declared that, “The EU will keep working until discrimination, hatred and violence will have no more place anywhere.”

The effective operationalisation of the Guidelines will be undertaken jointly by the European Union and its Member States. The Council Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM) will support the implementation while involving, when appropriate, other Council working groups.

The Guidelines can be downloaded here >>