Government backs down over proposals to outlaw caste discrimination

 

The Government has climbed down over proposals to outlaw discrimination on grounds of caste.

Peers voted again last night in favour of an amendment giving legal protection to the UK's more than 400,000 Dalits - the former so-called "untouchables" - who sometimes face discrimination in Hindu and Sikh communities in the UK.

Ministers were first defeated on the issue last month, sparking a tussle between the two Houses.

However, amendments tabled by Business Secretary Vince Cable today make clear that the Equality Act will "provide for caste to be an aspect of race".

Keith Porteous Wood, of the National Secular Society, said: "We are delighted that the Government has accepted that discrimination against caste should enjoy the same statutory protection as all other forms of protected characteristics.

"This is a victory for the Lords and their emphasis on protecting human rights."

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