When India and the UK come up for review by the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 24 May, IDSN urges all UN member states to seize this important opportunity to address concerns about caste discrimination based on recommendations by civil society and UN human rights bodies.

Ahead of the reviews, IDSN has launched an Appeal to UN Member States, Special Procedures, and UN Agencies to Take Action to Eliminate Caste Discrimination Now and has issued a joint press release with Human Rights Watch, specifically on the UPR of India.

“United Nations member states should call for effective implementation of laws and policies to address caste-related human rights violations in India,” says Julie de Rivero, Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch in the press release. “Numerous UN human rights bodies and civil society groups are demanding that the Indian government move from promises to action to improve the lives of people who have long endured horrific discrimination … It would be a great injustice to over 160 million Dalits in India if the UN review of India’s human rights record does not directly and comprehensively address serious concerns for the on-going human rights violations against them.”

IDSN has issued a number of recommendations to be raised at the reviews of both India and the United Kingdom. Although less known, caste discrimination within the South Asian diaspora in the UK is a problem affecting at least 250.000 Dalits. These aspects are also reflected in the stakeholders’ reports compiled by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In the review of the United Kingdom, IDSN recommends that the UK Government immediately adopts the amendment to prohibit caste discrimination in the Equality Act 2010 and puts into action a national strategy to eliminate caste discrimination. In the review of India, Human Rights Watch and IDSN urge member states to recommend the Government to take effective measures to protect the rights of Dalits, address widespread impunity for crimes committed against them, and lack of access to justice and basic services.

IDSN has been part of preparing briefing notes and UPR submissions concerning the situation of Dalits in the two countries together with its members. The briefing notes include key recommendations and questions for States to raise in the interactive dialogues on 24 May.

The two reviews present a major opportunity to examine and hold the governments accountable to their human rights obligations on the aspect of caste discrimination. IDSN therefore appeals to all States to raise concerns about caste-based violations and recommend the sharing of good practices to eliminate caste discrimination in the two country reviews.

In conclusion of the UPRs, IDSN organizes an Information Meetingrecapping the outcomes of the reviews and reflecting on the follow-up action at the national and international level. Delegations, the press, and NGOs are welcome to this side event, which will be held in Geneva on 25 May at 2-3 pm – at the Palais des Nations, Geneva.

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Briefing notes and UPR Submissions:

Caste discrimination in India – UPR review 24 May:

Caste discrimination in the UK – UPR review 24 May:

You can find more information about the UPR mechanism, incl. links here