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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs call for new laws to end caste discrimination in India

Atrocities and exclusion affecting more than 170 million lower-caste Indians must be stamped out by the Indian Government, say MEPs.

The European Parliament unanimously adopted proposals, put forward by nine MEPs including London’s Jean Lambert calling for the EU to place the issue on the agenda of all future talks about trade with the Indian Government.

Green Party MEP Jean Lambert, who chairs the European Parliament’s delegation to South Asia, said:

“The Indian Government has taken steps in law to prevent discrimination based on accidents of birth.

“But these measures just aren’t working: more than 170 million Dalits (previously known as ‘untouchables’) and tribal peoples suffer daily abuse, atrocities and exclusion, while the perpetrators go free.

“Many Dalits are still engaged in so-called ‘manual scavenging’ – collection of excrement – a practice that must be outlawed.

“The EU must have a specific policy on ending all caste discrimination – it should start by endorsing the UN Human Rights Council’s guidelines for elimination of discrimination based on wok and descent – all the issue must be included in all future dialogue between the EU, its member states, including the UK, and India.”