Eric Reginald Lubbock, better known as Lord Avebury, who campaigned inside and outside British parliament to outlaw caste-based discrimination and supported a museum for BR Ambedkar in London, has died at the age of 87.
A Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords since 1971, Lubbock had converted to Buddhism, and often campaigned for human rights and for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
Ravi Kumar of the campaign group Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance (ACDA) said: “A towering champion of equalities and human rights, Lord Avebury was also a much loved supporter of the caste equality legislation campaign. Forever a friend of the Dalit community in the UK, he will be greatly missed.”
Santosh Dass, ACDA vice-chair who worked closely with Lubbock to outlaw caste-based discrimination, recalled his support to convert the north London house where Ambedkar lived during his student days in the 1920s, into a “memorial for political activism”.
She recalled him Lubbock as saying how the house would become a “focal point to spread Dr Ambedkar’s message about equality, human rights and social justice. The presence of an Ambedkar Centre in a house where he lived in London should help us all to confront the evil of caste prejudice, as we did against racism a generation ago.”
The house was acquired by the Maharashtra government, and inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit in November.
Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron said: “He campaigned to lower the voting age, founded the parliamentary human rights group and fought for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, taking up the cases of hundreds of individuals fleeing persecution.
“He was a committed internationalist, regularly promoting human rights around the world. The Liberal Democrats have lost a great campaigner, a great friend and a true champion of the Liberal cause.”