Methodist Women in Britain: Take Action against Caste Discrimination in the UK
• Estimates of the number of Dalits currently living in the UK vary from around 50,000 to up to 1 million.
• A survey published by the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) suggests that 58% of UK Dalits believe they face discrimination because of their caste.
• Such discrimination occurs in places of employment, education or in the provision of goods and services. There is currently no legislation in place in the UK to protect them.
• This injustice has been debated by the UK Government extensively in recent years and provision exists in the Equality Act 2010 for protection. However, there have been repeated delays in implementation of the relevant clause, which includes caste as an aspect of race.
• In April 2013, after extensive lobbying, both Houses of Parliament agreed that the clause of the Equality Act 2010 relating to caste should be implemented. The Government asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to review and make recommendations.
• In February 2014 the EHRC published its two reports on the matter and called on the Government to add in the necessary protections on caste.
• The current timetable of implementation issued by the Government extends beyond the 2015 general election; this timetable was challenged in a debate in the House of Commons in July 2014 but Helen Grant MP gave no indication that it might be speeded up. Reasons given are that caste is a very sensitive and complex issue and the lack of “baseline data” since the EHRC was unable to complete the second phase of its consultation.
• See below in this document for a very helpful briefing on “Caste discrimination and the need for legislation” from the Dalit Solidarity Network UK. DSN-UK has advised and supported MWiB extensively.
• Latest updates of the situation can always be found on their website www.dsnuk.org
In July 2014 at the Methodist Conference, Linda Crossley and Jill Baker presented a Notice of Motion calling on the Secretary of Conference to write to HM Government concerning this ongoing delay, and encouraging Methodist people to
• take similar action by writing to their own MP
• work to raise awareness of caste discrimination,
• pray for justice and
• express solidarity with victims of discrimination in whatever ways they can.
The Notice of Motion was given full backing.
The Paul Field concert to be held on 21 May 2016 at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster from 3-5pm is in support of Dalit Solidarity and will include an update of progress made.