Monday, May 21, 2007

Indian bishops welcoming resolution by US Congress

... condemning caste discrimination in India. (Via Zenit.)
The bishops of India welcomed a resolution placed before the U.S. Congress that asked the lawmaking body to encourage an end to India's caste system.

Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona introduced the resolution May 2. In his presentation he called on "the Indian government and the world community to look with compassion upon India's untouchables and reach out to one of the most oppressed peoples on earth.''

In his address to the members of Congress, Franks called the caste system an "abhorrent form of persecution and segregation" that is particularly harsh on India's Dalits -- members of the "untouchable" caste -- especially Dalit women.

"This Congress," Franks argued, "must urge an end to the social discrimination and injustice faced by the nearly 250 million people known as Dalits in India."

Franks told ZENIT why he brought this issue to light now: "The plight of the 'untouchables' in India is truly one of the most critical human rights issues of our time.

"Millions of these individuals are regarded as less than human and live in some of the most wretched conditions known to humanity.

"We are compelled by the unalienable truth that all men are created equal to contend for the rights of the poor and the oppressed, and it is to that end that I have and will continue to stress the urgency of the Dalits' cause to Congress and to the world."
[Is it normal for Congress to pass such resolutions touching on issues over which it has no jurisdictional power?]

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