A prominent UN expert considers the draft UN principles and guidelines on caste discrimination an ‘important contribution’ to the global struggle against this form of discrimination.
The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms Gay McDougall, has welcomed the draft UN principles and guidelines for the effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent in her recent report to the UN Human Rights Council.
In the annual report (A/HRC/13/23), which was presented to the Council on 16 March, Ms McDougall states the following:
”8. The independent expert fully supports the outcome of the Durban Review Conference and urges States to fulfil their obligations and commitments in the area of anti-racism, non-discrimination and equality. She has encouraged and supported new and emerging initiatives to combat long-standing and entrenched manifestations of discrimination in all regions; for example, the independent expert welcomes and urges further discussions on the draft United Nations principles and guidelines for the effective elimination of discrimination based on work and descent as an important contribution to the global struggle to combat discrimination on the grounds of work and descent which often affects members of minority groups (emphasis added).”
In the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) also welcomed her “strong support for new and emerging iniatives to combat discrimination, such as the draft UN principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination based on work and descent”. MRG reiterated in the oral statement that the mandate is “vitally important to some of the most marginalized communities around the world” and thanked for her excellent work.
The Independent Expert has on several other occassions expressed her concern about the human rights situation of persons affected by discrimination based on work and descent, including the Dalits of South Asia. Dalits have also voiced their rights at the UN Forum on Minority Issues held in 2008 and 2009.
Ms McDougall is the second UN human rights expert who expresses support for the guidelines. In November the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mr. Githu Muigai, made a strong statement to the UN General Assembly. He called upon states to “engage in substantive discussions” and “rally around” the draft UN principles and guidelines.
The draft UN principles and guidelines is a comprehensive framework which proposes general and special measures that states and non-state actors can take to prevent and eliminate caste discrimination. Although still a draft, IDSNrecommends that states, independent experts, UN agencies, NGOs, and other private actors promote and make use of the existing framework as a guiding instrument for how such discrimination can be effectively tackled.
The guidelines are contained in the final report on discrimination based on work and descent (A/HRC/11/CRP.3), which was published by the Human Rights Council in May 2009.
- Read more about the draft UN principles and guidelines
- IDSN news on UN Minority Forum and Dalits
- Full report of the independent expert on minority issues
- Oral statement by Minority Rights Group International
- Website of the independent expert on minority issues