Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson met in Brussels today with a delegation from the Dalit Human Rights Group campaigning against caste-based discrimination and pledged her support for a resolution to be voted on in Strasbourg next month.
Martina Anderson said:
"Caste discrimination affects an estimated of 260 million people worldwide, the vast majority living in South Asia. It involves massive violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
"Those considered to be at the bottom of the caste systems are considered lesser human beings, impure and polluting of higher caste groups. They are known as "untouchables" and subjected to degrading so-called untouchable practices.
"Untouchables are known in South Asia as Dalits. Just as slavery and apartheid has been dismantled in other societies where they were once considered acceptable – so too must we tear down the Caste system and end caste based discrimination in decision-making at all levels of government and society.
"Sinn Féin deplores the notion of "untouchability" pollution and caste hierarchy that cause segregation , restricts individuals to the most menial and dangerous jobs and prevents access to justice for crimes committed against affected communities."