Government changes its mind and makes caste discrimination illegal

The BBC reports that Vince Cable has agreed to outlaw caste discrimination after the House of Lords twice voted on an amendment incorporating it into the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Those proposing the change argued that those considered to be of lower caste in some communities were discriminated against in employment or even at school. A government report from 2010 argued that a change in the law was the most effective way of dealing with this issue.

Liberal Democrat peer Eric Avebury has been at the forefront of the campaign to outlaw caste discrimination and has written about it on this site. He welcomed the Government’s change of heart in a brief intervention in the Lords:

I shall add a 15-second contribution to what the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, has already said about our gratitude to the Minister, who, as he said, has listened carefully to the representations that have been made. I only wish that she could have seen the joy that the announcement caused among the communities, which was displayed in a demonstration in Parliament Square yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of people were there, welcoming the change of attitude by the Government and saying that this was a moment of tremendous excitement and joy among all the Dalit communities.

I am not so sure about Talk for a Change, because I think that it is probably a waste of money. However, this is not the moment to cavil about the detail but only to welcome the principle that this matter will be dealt with by legislation. I am most grateful to my noble friend and to the Government as a whole for their change of mind, declared at this last moment.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Daniel Carr 25th Apr '13 - 9:04am

    “Liberal Democrat peer Eric Avebury has been at the forefront of the campaign to allow caste discrimination ”

    I think it should read ‘ban’ not ‘allow’

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 25th Apr '13 - 9:07am

    The word that was actually in my head was outlaw. Thanks for pointing that out so I could amend it so quickly.

  • Melanie Harvey 25th Apr '13 - 11:19am

    As caste discrimination has therefore been in play and, by census records which show my household to be mixed race, it has to be considered, this may play a part in and contributed as to why, the police have not done anything to date in concern of a serious assault and have for several years dispite evidence in support .

  • James Harper 25th Apr '13 - 1:04pm

    Delighted about this- wasn’t all that hopeful, but it was obviously the right thing to do and a small enough issue that a u-turn was possible.

  • Roger Roberts/Wales 25th Apr '13 - 6:09pm

    We owe Eric a tremendous debt of gratitude. In the Lords he is a model of what a Liberal should be. Diolch Eric.

  • Great news.

  • Wonderful outcome! – thanks in particular to Eric Avebury and Vince Cable.

  • Great step forward here

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