Hidden Apartheid - CHRGJ

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Hidden Apartheid - CHRGJ

Article 7

There is a severe lack of public education and awareness of caste discrimination in India.

Treatment of caste discrimination in textbooks and curricula may strengthen caste division

and prejudice, as does the pervasive practice of segregation in government schools. Even

progressive curricula either exclude any mention of caste discrimination or discuss the

caste system in a way that suggests that caste inequities and discrimination no longer exist.

School textbooks may similarly fail to mention caste discrimination, may attempt to justify

the origins of caste discrimination, or may attribute the unequal situation of Dalits to the

Dalit community. The problem is compounded by inadequate media representation of Dalit

issues and the lack of Dalit journalists generally. Since caste-based discrimination is not as

highly visible in urban settings, opinion makers, particularly the media, do not pay

sufficient attention to the rampant and continuing practice in rural areas. The NHRC has

found that the media “provides negligible space to …plight/problems” of Dalits. Instead,

these communities mostly receive media attention only when the discussion is focused on

violent protests, backwardness, population growth, and lack of entrepreneurship and

productivity, thereby perpetuating caste-based stereotypes.

On the basis of this information, we respectfully request that the following issues be raised

with the State Party:

• How the government intends to ensure that all textbooks, curricular, and media

representation of Dalits do not strengthen caste division and prejudice.

• Indicate whether measures have been taken to disseminate the Convention and

General Recommendation XXIX and to promote educational measures that combat

caste discrimination.

Human Rights Watch and CHRGJ thank the Committee for its consideration of this

information.

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