The closing date for responses to this consultation has now been extended, and the new deadline is
11.45pm on 18th September 2017
Deborah Kirk (Plymouth and Exeter District Rep to Forum) has produced the following precis of information, and you can download this as a .pdf, along with the consultation guidelines and FAQs, below. You can access the actual consultation via the weblinks below.
If you don’t have time to complete the whole Consultation, please ensure you at least complete the four mandatory questions as outlined towards the end of this precis.
UK CASTE CONSULTATION
Following the Dalit Solidarity awareness campaign spearheaded across the Connexion by Methodist Women in Britain, we want to bring to your attention the Government Consultation on Caste Discrimination, with the request that you please consider engaging with the Consultation, and encouraging those in your Circuits to do so too.
The key points are explained below, and the weblinks will enable you to access information relating to Caste Discrimination and the Consultation itself.
Background to the Consultation
Caste-based discrimination which exists within communities in South Asia, Nepal, India, and other countries of the world, is also found in communities within the UK, causing suffering, isolation and prejudice towards low-caste and non-caste people. This has been acknowledged by both Parliament and the Government, however, there is currently no legislation against caste based discrimination.
In Spring 2013, the Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, pledged that caste would be specifically named, and added to existing Equalities legislation in UK. But that pledge was effectively postponed indefinitely, by the introduction of a very long consultation period, and then dropped altogether after the 2015 General Election.
This District sent a Memorial to the Methodist Conference of 2014, which – among other points relating to solidarity with the Dalit and Tribal people in India and throughout the Diaspora – asked the Methodist Connexion to encourage the UK Government to proceed with this legislation. A Notice of Motion was also brought to the Methodist Conference 2014 by representatives of MWiB, and both the Notice of Motion and the Memorial to Conference were agreed.
Persistent lobbying by the Dalit Support Network-UK (DSN-UK) and others has led to the present situation where a new consultation is now open – but only until 18th September 2017.
Guidance Notes (3 A4 pages) have been produced which help to clarify what is needed, and there is also a set of Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs (7 pages), which will help respondents to cut through the bureaucratic nature of the Consultation.
You can look at these online, or print out for ease of reference. Both these documents have been produced by seven leading UK organisations and academics involved in securing legal protection against caste-based discrimination. The Guidance Notes take the Consultation questions one by one, and give very clear advice.
A specially designated website has been set up with more information and video clips explaining the discrimination which can currently affect non-caste people living and working in the UK.
Caste in the UK – information, video clips: http://casteintheuk.org/
Guidance Notes: http://casteintheuk.org/guidelines-public-consultation/
DSN-UK latest news, information on caste discrimination, video clips: http://dsnuk.org/
The Consultation can be accessed through these websites:
https://consult.education.gov.uk/government-equalities-office/caste-in-great-britain-and-equality-law-1/ and click on ‘Give us your views’
Some key things you need to know
- The deadline for the consultation is 18 July 2017
- Where there are some suggested answers, put them in your own words, keeping to the max 100 words as required
- Please do ensure that you answer Question 16 that you strongly agree to add caste to the Equality Act 2010
- The consultation is open to the UK residents only
If you don’t have time to complete the whole Consultation, please ensure you at least complete the four mandatory questions as follows:
Q5. Strongly Disagree;
Q12a. Strongly Agree;
Q12b. Strongly Disagree;
Q16. Option 2 (add caste to legislation)
This is a crucial time as we need to send the Government a powerful message that caste discrimination in the UK must be outlawed – and this must be done by adding caste to the Equality Act as agreed by Parliament in 2013.
Anything you can do to share this among your networks would be very much appreciated.
Thank you so much – you are helping some of the most oppressed people to have a voice here in the UK, and in engaging with the issue, you will also be encouraging ongoing awareness of the challenges for the Dalit people in India, and among Asian communities in other areas of the world.