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India: Dalits

Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 4 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have responded to reports by Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning violence and discrimination against the Dalit people in India; whether they are taking action through the Commonwealth on this issue; and whether they will ask the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to assist with appropriate education programmes. [HL5461]

The Government have not responded to the reports that Lord Hylton mentions. However, the FCO is in the process of studying them. The UK raised the issue of discrimination against Dalits at the last EU-India Human Rights Dialogue and will continue to raise it on 15 February.

We frequently raise concerns about minority rights including recently with the Indian Government through the EU presidency. India is one of the priority countries for the FCO Human Rights and Democracy Programme. We support projects locally aimed at addressing the structural causes of discrimination against women, ethnic and national minorities and disabled people (and their participation in public and political life).

The FCO has met different organisations that promote the rights of Dalits and has undertaken to support their request to the UN Human Rights Council to publish the special rapporteurs' report on discrimination based on work and descent.