Great News – Caste discrimination to be outlawed

I was really pleased to hear this news via the Humanist and Secular Lib Dem Group today.

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I’m delighted to pass on the following news, which we’ve just received from the National Secular Society.

Last night, the House of Lords defied the government and voted for a second time to outlaw caste discrimination.

After two successive defeats in the Lords, the Conservative side of the coalition has finally backed down, and caste discrimination should now be outlawed within months.

HSLD’s position is clear: caste discrimination is simply race discrimination taken to a lower level. It’s appalling that thousands of lower-caste Hindus and Sikhs who are actively discriminated against have no legal protection under the existing law, so this reform cannot come soon enough.

Below is the NSS press release.

Toby Keynes, Chair, Humanist & Secularist Liberal Democrats

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(UK) National Secular Society News Release

23 April 2013

Victory for campaigners as Government outlaws caste discrimination

The National Secular Society has welcomed news that the UK Government has climbed down following its defeat last night in the House of Lords and agreed to make discrimination on grounds of caste unlawful.

Last night (Monday) peers voted to retain their original amendment making caste a protected characteristic (as an aspect of race) under equality law via a new clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. The vote was won by 181 votes to 168.

The Government has now conceded on the principle and has tabled an amendment which requires the Secretary of State to bring forward regulations to include Caste as an aspect of Race (under Section 9(5) of the Equality Act 2010) two months after the enactment of the Enterprise Bill.

Last week the Commons voted to reject the amendment by 64 votes. Earlier the peers had voted in favour of the amendment by 103 votes.