IDSN welcomes the adoption of the European Parliament’s report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2023, calling for concrete action to support the work to end caste discrimination.

The report highlights caste-related obstacles to accessing justice, employment opportunities and the persistence of segregation and poverty. It underscores how caste-related barriers severely limit the exercise of basic human rights and human development. The European Parliament expresses serious concern over these issues, calling for an EU policy specifically designed to combat caste-based discrimination.

The European Parliament proposes strategic approaches, including the formulation of caste specific local strategies in countries affected by caste-based discrimination. It advocates for an integrated treatment of this issue across all relevant committees and delegations. Additionally, the report calls for a dedicated focal point on caste-based discrimination, ensuring this issue is consistently addressed in dialogues with countries affected by caste.

An annual hearing to review the EU’s progress on addressing caste-based discrimination is proposed, coinciding with the International Day on Racial Discrimination. This initiative aims to foster greater transparency and assess the effectiveness of the EU’s actions on this issue. The European Parliament also intends to collaborate with relevant organisations, raising awareness and addressing caste-based discrimination with local authorities in affected regions.

“Notes with great concern the scale and consequences of caste-based hierarchies, discrimination and human rights violations, including the denial of access to the legal system or employment, continued segregation, poverty and stigmatisation, and caste-related barriers to the exercise of basic human rights and human development; reiterates its call for the development of an EU policy on caste-based discrimination and specific local strategies to help fight caste-based discrimination in the countries most affected by it; recommends that the European Parliament address caste-based discrimination in all its relevant committees and delegations, appoints a focal point on caste-based discrimination, and when visiting non-EU countries concerned by the issue, consult with relevant organisations and raise caste-based discrimination with local authorities and other counterparts, as well as hold an annual hearing to review EU actions and progress on the occasion of the International Day on Racial Discrimination” European Parliament’s report on human rights and democracy in the world and the European Union’s policy on the matter 2023

While the report places a significant focus on caste-based discrimination and explicitly condemns caste discrimination under the right to equality and non-discrimination, it also maintains its comprehensive approach to human rights including condemning racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and discrimination based on various factors such as race, ethnicity, social class, disability, religion and gender identity.

The report also addresses issues like online hate speech, with an explicit reference to caste, especially its gendered impact, and the role of digital technologies in human rights, calling on EU bodies to promote the adoption of disinformation and hate speech legislation in non-EU countries, to explicitly prohibit and punish speech inciting discrimination, hatred or violence.

The report furthermore highlights the importance of corporate responsibility in human rights, along with the need to address gender-based discrimination through an intersectional lens. This includes caste-gender discrimination. It calls for supportive policies for minorities and advocates for the protection of children’s rights.

IDSN fully supports the calls on human rights, including addressing caste discrimination, made by the European Parliament in this report and hope to see these manifested into action in 2024 and beyond.

Read the full report here >>