The House of Lords has voted to add “caste” to the definition of “race” in the Equality Act, but the Government has decided against any change to legislation preferring to implement an education programme.
The Government Equalities Office has commissioned a community-interest group, Talk for a Change, to engage with affected communities about caste discrimination.
Currently, the definition of race in the Equality Act 2010 refers only to colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. The Government retains the power to add caste to the definition of race at a later date.
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According to Helen Grant, minister for women and equalities at Talk for a Change, will work with organisations and individuals, particularly from Hindu and Sikh communities, to find solutions regarding caste discrimination.
An education programme will generate material for schools, councils, employers, police and any other professional organisations where caste may become an issue.
Grant added that the programme will “raise awareness of those channels of help and redress that are already open to those who feel themselves to have been victims of caste discrimination or harassment”.
She added: “We believe this programme will be an appropriate and targeted way of dealing with incidents relating to caste.”
The Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission will examine this issue over the coming months and publish its findings later in the year.
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