Dalits are an oppressed group of people considered 'untouchable' by the South Asian caste system.This means they are often looked down upon and considered lesser people by other South Asians. 250,000 Dalits live in the United Kingdom and face discrimination, prejudice and abuse in many aspects of daily life. Caste discrimination is entirely legal within UK legislation.
A government report found that discrimination on the basis of caste in the UK leads to reducedcareerprospects, lowerearnings, detrimental effects on education, socialisolation, and reduced access to social provisions. As well as causing severe emotional trauma; depression, anger and loss of self-esteem. This 'hidden apartheid' continues unacknowledged and unchallenged.
Despite caste discrimination being included in the 2010 Equality Act, the government has not activated this clause* and therefore not given Dalits equal protection under the law.
In May 2012 the United Nations Human Rights Review of the UK called on our government to “develop a national strategy to eliminate caste discrimination, including the immediate adoption of the clause in the Equality Act … in accordance with its international human rights obligations”.
The Equality Act's overriding intention is to prevent discrimination. So the Dalit Solidarity Network UK calls on the Minister for Equalities and Women to uphold the essential British value of equality by outlawing caste discrimination. One victim is one too many.
*Section 9(5)(a) of the 2010 Equality Act - to provide for "caste to be an aspect of race"
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