Despite ample evidence that caste-discrimination in UK is a human rights issue, and a submission made by the Dalit Solidarity Network-UK and IDSN detailing the problem, not a single state mentioned caste discrimination at the UN UPR review of the UK. Human rights campaigners are disappointed at the negligence of the international community when it comes to addressing caste in the UK context.
DSN-UK have summarised the review on their website stating:
Prior to the review DSN-UK and International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) made a joint submission to the UPR, outlining the need to outlaw caste-based discrimination in the UK and the government’s failure to implement the legislation as agreed by Parliament. DSN-UK and IDSN also distributed DSN-UK recommendations to a number of Geneva based permanent missions, its network members and placed them in the public domain.
IDSN facilitated DSN-UK’s participation in the UK UPR Pre-session, organised by UPR Info in Geneva in April 2017, aiming to assist NGOs with lobbying efforts before the review. DSN-UK Director, Meena Varma, attended the UPR Info training, the UK UPR Pre-session and lobbied Geneva based permanent missions encouraging them to recommend to the UK to outlaw caste-based discrimination. Meena met with representatives of Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, USA, Germany and Czech Republic permanent missions.
However, to our disappointment not one state mentioned the situation of Dalits or caste-based discrimination in the UK during the review. The majority of the recommendations were directed at the proposed Bill of Rights, remaining with the European Court, indefinite detention of asylum seekers, human trafficking, violence against children, violence against women, child poverty, gender equality, migrants’ rights, ethnic minorities, travellers and Roma community, abortion policies in the Northern Ireland and a rise of hate crime post Brexit vote in June last year.
Nonetheless, the Netherlands recommended to the UK to “Ensure the accessibility of appropriate legal aid to safeguard access to justice for all, particularly for the most marginalized groups in society”. DSN-UK believes it should include an adoption of a secondary legislation outlawing caste-based discrimination and providing access to justice for victims of caste discrimination.
Video recording of the UK review available here.