(October 12, 2009)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: 'Tear down the wall of caste'

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Ms. Navanethem Pillay

Governments in countries with caste systems should respond to the call from a top UN official to end this form of discrimination, Human Rights Watch, the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR) and the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) said today. The organisations urged governments in South Asia and other regions to cooperate with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who has issued a strong call to end caste discrimination.

In an opinion article, Ms. Pillay stated that “the time has come to eradicate the shameful concept of caste” and called on the international community to come together “as it did when it helped put an end to apartheid.” She argued that “other seemingly insurmountable walls, such as slavery and apartheid, have been dismantled in the past” and concluded that “we can and must tear down the barriers of caste too.”

The opinion article of Ms. Pillay ('Tearing down the wall of caste') can be found on

Ms. Pillay's earlier statement in India:

The press release of IDSN, HRW and NCDHR ('Time to tear down the wall of caste'):

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