Caste Discrimination

A Global Concern

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Caste-based discrimination blights the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world, and the World Conference Against Racism should have the issue squarely on its agenda, Human Rights Watch urges in a new report. The 60-page report focuses on the Dalits or so-called untouchables of South Asia - including Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan - as well the Buraku people of Japan, the Osu of Nigeria, and certain groups in Senegal and Mauritania who also suffer from caste-based discrimination. The prominence of caste among South Asian diaspora communities is also revealed. The report, which is being released at the nongovernmental forum before the racism conference taking place in Durban from August 28-August 31, clearly shows that caste discrimination is a significant bar to basic human rights worldwide. Over 160 Dalit activists from India will be attending the conference, as well as numerous lower-caste advocacy groups from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Japan, and Senegal.

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