"Addressing caste discrimination in The U.K."
 July 15th 2009.

Dear Friends,

We invite you for an inter-faith conference, on “Addressing Caste Discrimination in the UK”, on Wednesday 15th July 2009, from 10.30am-4pm at CARJ 9 Henry Road, London, N4 2LH (5 minutes walk from Manor House Tube Station - Exit 5 – Piccadilly Line – Map. www.carj.org.uk). 

VODI works locally, nationally and internationally to remove Caste discrimination, faced most severely by Dalits, and for their human rights and development.  VODI works across all faiths, nationalities and cultures networking with community organisations, NGO’s, MP’s, Government departments and the media. VODI is currently working for the inclusion of caste, as a form of discrimination, in the Single Equalities Bill. 

The conference will be attended by 70 key delegates with representatives from Faith and Community Organisations, Members of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, NGO’s, Aid Agencies and the media. Mr. Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing, Southall will be delivering the Keynote Address and our international speakers will be led by Mr. V.J. George, Convener, National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), India.

Caste discrimination is a serious issue in the UK, as growing Asian communities continue to divide on caste lines with discriminatory attitudes passed on between generations.  The UK caste system operates in everyday life - in schools, in the workplace, marriages and social circles, through caste name calling, bullying, victimisation, harassment and violence. The intention of discrimination is publicly declared through matrimonial advertisements, bhangra music and other art and cultural practices. Caste discrimination stigmatises its victims, reduces their confidence and causes feelings of low self worth.  It undermines the democratic norms and principles of “Fairness and an absence of discrimination are the hallmarks of a modern decent society with a strong economy which draws on the talents of all” - UK Single Equality Bill).

VODI initiated the formation of CasteWatchUK (www.castewatchuk.org), a community led organisation, to tackle caste discrimination in UK and the Director of VODI is a Trustee of Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ) (www.carj.org.uk), an agency of Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).  Please confirm your / representative of your institution’s attendance by emailing vodi@vodintl.org.uk . Looking forward to hearing from you,

Yours sincerely,
Mrs.  Irene Culas                                                          
Chair, VODI                                                                                              

in partnership withcarj logo