Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-07-04-Speech-3-216"

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"Mr President, anyone who believes that apartheid has been abolished is wrong. It still exists as a caste system in India and neighbouring countries. European human rights policy has wrongly been silent up to now on this blatant injustice. In India systematic discrimination has deep historical roots and is completely integrated into the social system. A hundred and sixty million people from the lowest caste and chained in the dungeons of cultural and religious tradition. There is legislation against the system, but social practice pays no attention to it. A or untouchable is without prospects from birth and is doomed to a lifetime of humiliations and an existence on the fringe of society. are regularly abused by the higher caste. Women are raped and no one can attain justice. There is systematic inequality of opportunity. There is absolutely no question of social mobility, one of the characteristics of a true democracy. India is not only the largest, but also the most undemocratic democracy in the world. There is no cultural or religious justification for the structural violation of universal human rights. In India itself awareness of the inhumane character is slowly dawning, but there is a great reluctance to change among those who benefit from the system. The caste system is a culturally constructed form of political and economic exploitation. A massive consciousness-raising campaign must be launched and Europe must put this crude form of racial discrimination on the international agenda, to begin with at the forthcoming World Racism conference in Durban. It is not an easy task, but we must have courage, as Mr Michel said, before he disappeared. We must not as if the whole caste system is itself untouchable. Apartheid is only unchangeable if we resign ourselves to it and we must therefore not do so. I should be glad to hear the responses of the Commission and the Council."@en1

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