Hidden Apartheid - CHRGJ


Hidden Apartheid - CHRGJ

to suffer disproportionately from many violations of their rights under the [ICCPR], inter alia

inter-caste violence, bonded labour and discrimination of all kinds.” And as recently as

2004 the Committee on the Rights of the Child was “deeply concerned at persistent and

significant social discrimination against children belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes

and other tribal groups.” 26 Additionally, the UN Special Rapporteurs on education, 27

adequate housing, 28 the right to food, 29 violence against women, 30 and torture 31 have all

included investigations on caste-based discrimination in their mandate and have cited

India as a country of particular concern.

Because one’s caste can be determinative of one’s occupation, caste discrimination is also

referred to as discrimination on the basis of “work and descent.” The UN Sub-Commission

on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights passed a resolution in August 2000

reaffirming that discrimination based on work and descent is prohibited under international

human rights law. 32 In his 2001 report commissioned by that same resolution, Sub-

Commission expert R.K.W. Goonesekere underscored that caste systems are inherently

economic and social in their consequences and represent a deeply oppressive form of work

and descent-based discrimination. 33 In 2004 the Sub-Commission appointed two


Convention on the Rights of the Child, “Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention,

Concluding Observations, India,” CRC/C/15/Add.228, (2004),


para. 27 (accessed February 7, 2007).


Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Mr. V. Muñoz Villalobos, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Girls’ right to education

(62nd session) February 8, 2006, paras. 82-85 (highlighting the double discrimination faced by Dalit girls and its impact on their right to



Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to nondiscrimination

in this context, Miloon Khotari, Annual Report 2005 (61 st CHR session) March 3, 2005, para. 62 (concerned with the

human rights violations of Dalits because they “are prevented from owning land and are forced to live on the outskirts of villages, often

on barren land,” and “land reforms intended to benefit the rural poor and Dalits have been ineffective due to weak legislative provisions,

inadequate implementation, and a lack of State commitment”).


Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Report of Mr. Jean Ziegler (62 nd CHR session), Mission to India, para. 11 (concerned that

scheduled castes and tribes “suffer most from hunger and malnutrition,” and discrimination forces Dalits into bonded labor, prevents

them from owning land and restricts them from using public facilities, like village wells).


Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Report of Dr. Yakin Erturk (61 st CHR session),

Communications to and from Governments (concerned with attacks on Dalits by upper-caste persons). Report of Ms. Radhika

Coomaraswamy (57 th CHR Session), January 23, 2001, para. 85 (concluding from reports she received that women from certain castes and

ethnic or religious minorities appear to be at risk of being targeted by the police).


Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Report of Mr. Theo van Boven (61 st

Session), March 30, 2005, pp. 773, 784, 1172 (reporting on instances of police abuse of Dalits).


See Discrimination Based on Work and Descent, Sub-Commission on Promotion & Protection of Human Rights. Resolution 2000/4

(52 nd Session), U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/SUB.2/RES/2000/4 (2000).


Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Indigenous Peoples and Minorities: Working Paper by Mr. Rajendra Kalidas Wimala

Gooneskere on the Topic of Discrimination Based on Work and Descent, Submitted Pursuant to Sub-Commission Resolution 2000/4,

Sub-Commission on Promotion & Protection of Human Rights (53 rd Session), U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/2001/16 (2001) (indicating that: