House Concurrent Resolution 139 is the first official statement on untouchability by the US Congress. HCR 139 expressed the sense of Congress, "that the United States should address the ongoing problem of untouchability in India.
The Resolution was sponsored by Congressman Frank Trent and co-sponsored by thirty-three leading human rights advocates in Congress including Cong. Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The bill contains historic language on untouchability in India, including detailed findings regarding the effects of untouchability and caste discrimination on Dalits and Tribals. The resolution calls on the United State government to work with India to address the problems of the caste system and untouchability through diplomatic and economic strategies. It also calls on government programs and businesses working in India, to make a strong effort to make sure that Dalits do not suffer discrimination in their programs and business ventures.
The resolution was received in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.
A similar resolution was passed by the European Union Parliament on Feb. 1, 2007.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly introduced a resolution on Sep. 4, 2007, condemning the caste system and encouraging the Commonwealth, "to work with India to find new approaches to the age-old problem."