UK law declares’Caste’ and ‘Race’ same & anti-human: First Historic step

01Apr10

In the first such legislative move anywhere in the world, and much to the embarrassment of India’s official position, the British House of Lords has passed a law that treats caste as “an aspect of race”. On March 24, the House of Lords passed the Equality Bill empowering the British government to include “caste” within the definition of “race”. This threatens India’s muchtouted success in keeping caste out of the resolution adopted at the 2001 Durban conference on racism. The provision to outlaw caste discrimination in Britain came in the form of an amendment made by the Lords as a result of intensive lobbying by dalit groups, including followers of Ravidass sect who had suffered a violent attack last year in Austria.

The bill will become a law after the House of Commons passes it. The legislation draws its legitimacy from a recommendation made in 2002 by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that all member states of the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), including India and the UK, should enact domestic legislation declaring that descent-based discrimination encompassed caste and “analogous systems of inherited status”. This development comes at a time when the Manmohan Singh government is already under pressure before the UN Human Rights Council as the draft principles and guidelines issued by it last year on discrimination based on work and descent recognized caste as a factor. The British legislation may provide impetus for the adoption of those draft principles and guidelines.Though the bill originally contained no reference to caste, the Gordon Brown government agreed to its inclusion even as it commissioned a research on the nature of the problem that is believed to have come into Britain through the Indian diaspora.

A parliamentary committee, while recommending last year that caste be considered as a subset of race, cited specific instances of caste discrimination in Britain. In one such case, a qualified dalit working in the National Health Service suddenly suffered discrimination at the hands of his supervisor soon after the latter discovered his “low caste” status. The dalit employee was reportedly harassed and suspended from work for a whole year. While a trade union managed to obtain compensation for him, the case highlighted a lacuna in the law to deal with caste discrimination. The Gordon Brown government accepted the amendment tabled by Liberal Democrats subject to the outcome of the research ordered by it on caste discrimination. Baroness Thornton, speaking for the government, told the peers, “We have looked for evidence of caste discrimination and we now think that evidence may exist, which is why we have now commissioned the research.” Lord Avebury, who had tabled the amendment, said he believed that the research would “conclusively prove that caste discrimination does occur in the fields covered by the bill”. India’s opposition to the linking of caste with race began in 1996, when it tried to free itself of “reporting obligation” under CERD, saying that caste, though perpetuated through descent, was “not based on race”. This is a drastic departure from the position originally taken by India in 1965 while proposing the historic amendment to introduce descent in CERD. It had actually cited its experience with caste as an argument for recognizing all forms of descent-based discrimination.

Source: Economic Times



One Response to “UK law declares’Caste’ and ‘Race’ same & anti-human: First Historic step”

  1. 1 Harbans Lal Badhan

    Indian Caste system is more dangerous, cruel, barbarous, hard, violent, inhuman and harmful than any other kind of Racial discrimination or Slavery system. It (Indian Caste system) divides the society. It (Indian Caste system) is an unnatural and unscientific man made system, made by by the antisocial elements and the enemies of society. It (Indian Caste system) is not only a social, political, economic and religious evil, but also a mental disease and mental sickness. It (Indian Caste system) should be banned at any cost by Act of Parliament or by the Law of the State. Otherwise, it (Indian Caste system) will spoil and kill the democratic institutions and secularism of great civilization of United kingdom and Europe or any state and society. It (Indian Caste system) will also slaughter the unity, peace and economic and scientific development and progress of state and society or any developed society. It (Indian Caste system) is also an enemy of social justice, social equality and the fundamental rights of an individual. It (Indian Caste system) is not only a devil but also a monster, who destroy the principle of equality, liberty and fraternity. To believe in Caste and Untouchability is not only a crime against humanity but also a violation of human rights of an individual. Indian Caste system is a great challenge and threat to global society. Indian Caste system is more dangerous and harmful than chemical weapons.


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