August 30, 2016

India: Workshop on Democracy and Minority Rights (Aug 29-Sept. 2, 2016)

Council for Social Development
Sangha Rachana, 53, K.K. Birla Lane, Lodi Estate, New Delhi, India 110003
Workshop on Democracy and Minority Rights
August 29, 2016-September 2, 2016
Aug 29, 2016 at 11 AM to Sep 2, 2016 at 6:30 PM]
India was among the first major democracies in the world to provide social policies for the protection of minorities. The Indian Constitution created an institutional structure and principles that would allow diverse people to live together as citizens of India. The Constitution guarantees religious freedom and also provides cultural rights to minorities such as the right to set up educational institutions of their choice with financial support from the government, for example. However, an important feature of the existing situation is the growing socio-economic deprivation, exclusion and discrimination faced by minorities. The Sachar Committee Report of 2006 revealed the reality of the Muslim condition and demonstrated that on most socio-economic indicators, they were lagging behind and their condition was comparable to or even worse than the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in regard to education, employment and access to public services. The marginalisation of minorities has been aggravated by their underrepresentation in both public and private sectors. In the past few years, the predicament is further complicated by frequent incidents of violence, ranging from small-scale violence to mass violence and pogroms. A spate of inflammatory political rhetoric and communal speeches has further vitiated the atmosphere in the recent past.
In this backdrop, the #Council #for #Social #Development is organizing a week-long workshop on minority rights to understand some of these challenges and issues that have a vital bearing on the working of our democracy. The main objective of the workshop is to explore the intersection of human rights and minority rights and to look at the contours within which the principles of secularism and pluralism should operate with a view to strengthening minority rights and democratic institutions that can uphold and protect these rights. In particular, we seek to understand the policy framework, and the divergences in policy and consequences of this for the protection of the marginalised generally and minorities particularly. We hope to elucidate some of these aspects through an analysis of both international institutions/policies and public policies and institutional frameworks in India as well as changes in the constellation of policies in the past decade, while arguing that the well-being of minorities has suffered mainly due to a lack of attention to issues of institutionalized inequality and deprivation than is commonly supposed.

The themes we intend to discuss in the workshop are:
(1) Safeguarding minority rights as an essential principle of democracy.
(2) Laws and judicial decisions.
(3) International institutions and conventions on minority rights.
(4) Major institutions of state and government programme and policies for protection of minorities.
(5) Economy and minorities.
(6) Minority rights in conflict situations.
(7) Civil society organizations working among minorities.
(8) Minority women’s rights and gender justice.
(9) Minority educational institutions.
(10) Minority rights and democracy: challenges and possibilities.
Professor Manoranjan Mohanty and Professor Zoya Hasan are the Conveners of this workshop.

Please download this form and snd back to ao@csdindia.org