Both views on caste system must be presented: UNHCHR

Despite the Indian government's stand that 'racism' and 'caste system' are different, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson has emphasised that contradictory views of human rights organisations should also be presented at the forthcoming World Conference on Racism.

Robinson, who met visiting journalists in Geneva, said both views, that of the government and non-government organisations, should be presented at the conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa, from August 31 to September 7.

On whether the commission was in agreement with the government's stand, the commissioner, who had also met the NGOs with their presentation to UNHCHR, said, "We cannot make opinions, but definitely if there is more than one view on an issue, the fair thing is to present both of it."

The commission will encourage the voice which will bring out cases of discrimination, she said.

NGOs have been maintaining that the caste system in the country was the same as racial discrimination, as human rights of people from traditionally disadvantaged castes were often being violated.

The second Prepcom of the World Conference Against Racism, which is being convened here by the UN to prepare a draft declaration for the Durban conference, was deliberating on suggestions by governments and NGOs on the issue of racial discrimination.

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Referred by: Prashant Lade
Published on: May 31, 2001
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