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Joint Statement by the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders on Caste Based Discrimination

by ragini — last modified 2013-06-04 15:15

Press Release on Joint Statement by the UN Special Procedure Mandate Holders on Caste Based Discrimination, New Delhi. Date: 28 May 2013 National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) welcomes and endorses the Joint statement made by United Nations Experts, who are also referred to as Special Rapporteurs, called upon the member countries of the United Nations to strengthen protection of the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who suffer from discrimination based on work and descent.In this connection, NCDHR, General Secretary, Mr. N. Paul Divakar urged the Government of India, a prominent global player need tore- look into its stand at the United Nationson Caste Based Discrimination as a major global issue prevalent in most of the Asian countries including Japan as well as in Africa. Having recognized the Caste based discrimination, exclusion and violence domestically, and addressed it through constitutional, legislative and executive measures and policies; it should take up the responsibility and lead in addressing this as a global human rights issue under International standards thereby setting a model for other countries.It is encouraging to see the, seven United Nations Special Rapporteurs* on various mandates came together to address the issue of Caste based discrimination and untouchability andjointly issued a statement on ‘Continued plight of the Untouchables’.** The UN Special Rapporteurshave elaborated the existing status and conditions of the Dalits of South Asia, who constitute the majority of victims of entrenched caste-based discrimination systems which affect some 260 million stigmatized people worldwide, people considered ‘untouchable’. They explained the hapless conditions of Dalits in all areas especially the multiple discrimination faced by Dalit Women who are the most vulnerable among all. The Special Rapporteurs pointed out that even though there are enough legislations to eradicate this system in many countries, serious lack of implementation of law makes the situation worse and therefore they called for tailor made policies addressing special concerns of the community thereby making these legislations more effective and also to make sure their human rights are respected and protected in accordance with the International Standards. At this juncture the Special Rapporteurs recalled the ‘Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability Bill’, a landmark legislative piece for the defence and protection of the rights of Dalits by Nepal and the recent decision by the British Government in April 2013 to cover caste discrimination by the Equality Act serves as a good practice to protect Dalits in diaspora communities. The experts reminded that with the upcoming Post 2015 Development Agenda, specific goals for the advancement of Dalits and particularly affected groups should be included as ‘Caste-based discrimination is a major structural factor underlying poverty’. They concluded the statement by reiterating that “ No one should be stigmatized ; no one should be considered ‘untouchable’ and they will be taking specific attention to “ people affected by caste-based discrimination and advocate for their integration and inclusion so that they can fully enjoy their human rights in accordance with international human rights law and national legislation” and they also called the world governments to adopt, endorse and implement the UN Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent.”*** Paul Divakar, also called on the government of India to examine and endorse the Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination based on Work and Descent, which are very much on the lines of the constitutional provisions for protection of SCs and STs, which are critical to strengthening and deepening the democracy in our country.

Mr. Vijay Parmar, Mr. Paul Divakar, Ms. Vimal Thorat, Ms. Asha Kowtal,

Dr. Prasad Sirivella 


(*)The Special Rapporteurs on various mandates Rashida MANJOO, violence against women, Rita IZSÁK, minority issues; Gulnara SHAHINIAN, SR on contemporary forms of slavery; NajatMaalla M'JID, SR on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; Mutuma RUTEERE, SR on contemporary forms of racism, related intolerance; Catarina de ALBUQUERQUE, SR on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; Magdalena SEPÚLVEDA, SR on extreme poverty and human rights (**) Link to the Joint Statement by UN Experts: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13352&LangID=E (***) UN Draft Principles and Guidelines for the Effective Elimination of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent:http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/11session/CRP/A-HRC-11-CRP3.pdf For further information and media requests, please contact Marta Franco (+41 22 917 9268 / mfranco@ohchr.org)or write to minorityissues@ohchr.org For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)UN Human Rights, follow us on social media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire

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