Seminar on ‘Minorities in South Asia’

Seminar on ‘Minorities in South Asia’

Venue: Kathmandu, Nepal                                                                    

Owing to their cultural and historical backgrounds of discrimination, religious minorities in South Asia often find themselves excluded from political, social and development processes. The gaps in equality, persecution of these minority groups at the hands of the State apparatus and powerful non state actors have led to gross violations of human rights. However the relation becomes complex when a religious majority in one State is a minority in another State and vice versa. Added to this, colonial history played a significant role in identity formation and distribution of power and resources across religious communities in South Asia. Despite Constitutions and other policies guaranteeing basic human rights and a life of dignity to all citizens, several groups continue to be targeted and discriminated against.

Last year in November, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS) organized a session on Rights of Minorities in South Asia at PSAARC (People's SAARC) Regional Convergence at Kathmandu, Nepal (23- 25 Nov, 2014) with the view to draft a Charter of Rights of Minorities in South Asia. A few principles like identity, security and non-discrimination emerged as basis of any comprehensive policy on the rights of minorities. To take this discussion further CSSS wishes to organise a follow-up seminar to deliberate and understand the Status of Minorities in each country, constituting the SAARC region. The proposed seminar will culminate into State of Minorities Report of each country. In addition, the possibility of forming a committee of prominent persons from each country will be explored. This committee will investigate incidences of violation of human rights of minorities and take up such issues collectively, to engage with the concerned States.

Participants are expected to meaningfully contribute by speaking and writing a paper on the themes given below. The papers and presentations are expected to dwell upon the entire framework of themes.

Information:

Chok Tsering,  Programme Coordinator, HBS
T +91 11 2685 4405     
E: chok.tsering@in.boell.org