Dimensions of discrimination in India: a shadow report to 15th to 19th periodic reports (CERD/C/IND/19) of India to UN CERD Committee

Dimensions of discrimination in India: a shadow report to 15th to 19th periodic reports (CERD/C/IND/19) of India to UN CERD Committee

Does India meet its obligations to international human rights treaties?

This paper documents the monitoring of India’s compliance with its obligations as a State party to various international human rights treaties.

The authors argue that it is essential to keep in mind when examining India’s periodic reports that, due to the federal nature of the country, states have legislative and administrative powers, including maintenance of law and order, education and healthcare. For this reason, indigenous peoples, the Dalits and other minorities also face discrimination because of the action of the State governments.

This report is a response to the 15th to 19th periodic reports (CERD/C/IND/19) of India to the UN Committee on International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee). Human Rights areas discussed include:

• the right to work - the report argues that the Indian government allows continuation of caste-based traditional professions, and that Dalits and other lower category people still have to work according to their position by birth

• the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - the report finds that although India is a secular country, policies and practices indicate preference for Hinduism

• the right to freedom of movement - it is argues that the Dalits do not enjoy freedom of movement. In particular, they are prevented from moving through the road passing through the houses of upper castes

• the right to culture - the authors note that the tribal languages are seldom recognized as official languages under the 8th Schedule. For example, the Santhali language is spoken by over 10 million people - more than Manipuri, Konkani and Nepali put together - yet it took decades to recognise Santhali language as an official language of India.

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