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    « Harriet Harman would bring back dual discrimination | Main | What is the percentage of disabled staff in your organisation? »
    Tuesday
    Mar252014

    Caste discrimination in Britain – two new research reports 

    Do your staff know what is meant by caste discrimination? The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published research reports into issues surrounding caste in Britain, to inform a new statutory law prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of caste. The Commission has said that discrimination against an individual because of caste in sectors such as education cannot be tolerated. 

    Thousands of people suffer abuse and prejudice because they are considered low caste. Existing laws do not offer protection yet caste divides society unfairly, with those at the bottom expected to do dirty, poorly paid work while also being expected to, and forced to, look up to and respect higher castes. Those arguing for action said such discrimination was outlawed in India and should be banned in Britain too. 

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published research reports into issues surrounding caste in Britain. The research was undertaken to help inform the introduction of a new statutory law prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of caste.

    Key findings from the report include:

    • Caste is a form of identity that is used as a basis for social differentiation, distinct from class, race or religion.
    • Discrimination against an individual because of caste, including perception of caste, in education, employment, housing, business or public services cannot be tolerated and should be included in the protections against discrimination and harassment provided in the Equality Act 2010.
    • However, the State should not intervene in cultural or social usages which are a matter of private practice. Therefore, in regulating in this area particular regard should be given to individuals’ rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
    • The definition of caste should be neither too precise nor too broad.  A minimum definition of caste in terms of endogamy (marriage restricted within a specific group) inherited status and social stratification would be useful. 
    • Businesses and public authorities will need clear and practical information about how the prohibition of caste discrimination will affect them. The Commission’s initial view is that the impact will be small given that the straightforward message remains that employers and service providers must not make decisions on the basis of irrelevant considerations such as caste.

    To read the report, click here

    There is an interesting article on the BBC website about caste discrimination. This includes a video clip of people affected by caste prejudice in Britain who spoke on BBC's ‘Newsnight’ programme 

    To read the BBC article and see the video clip, click here

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