Declaration Adopted by Global Minorities Meet on March 9, 2008, in New Delhi issued to media by Navaid Hamid, Secretary General of South Asian Council for Minorities.

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In this sixtieth year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Reaffirming our faith in the sanctity of human life and inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all members of the human family;

Restating our commitment to secure equal right to life, freedom and dignity of all human beings, and the right to distinct identity of all communities under law and in realty; Recognizing that within each country there are minorities based on religion, language, ethnicity and nationality, who are disadvantaged, because of their number and inadequate share in power in realizing their equal civil, political, social and economic rights and in preserving their distinct identity; Appreciating the worldwide concern for justices to minorities, making them enjoy effective equality along with distinct identity; Noting the binding provisions of Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), 1966 and those under the unanimously adopted UN Declaration on the Rights of persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 1992; Regretting that owing to majoritarian character of States, their polities, electoral system and modes of governance, minorities continue to face situations of varying nature and degrees of neglect, discrimination and exclusion and threat of assimilation of their linguistic, ethnic and religious identity; Expressing shock, dismay and grave concern over the threat to the existence of minorities in certain parts of the world, who have been facing periodic violence against their life, property, dignity and places of worship with the complicity of the State’s agencies, some of which have been characterized as genocides; Expressing further concern over the failure of such states to enact effective laws including on genocide and mass hate crimes and on rights of victims for the accountability of all state and non-state actors whose acts and omissions have resulted in loss of tens of thousands of innocent lives, large scale internal displacement and social and educational dislocation and massive destruction of property including places of worship. Recording that it is this climate of impunity which is the major source of recurrence of violence against minorities in which judiciary has also failed to promptly come to the rescue of the victims; Noting that such situations of exclusion, discrimination, assimilation of minorities and their attempted extirpation have led to violent conflicts including insurgence, secessionism and terrorism, which have caused immense suffering to large number of innocent people by enforced internal displacement, flow of refuges across borders, distress of divided families and stateless persons; Noting with concern that in the wake of the rise of global terrorism, certain communities are being treated as suspect whose innocent members are tortured, detained and treated as guilty including by media, though after prologue incarceration they are acquitted by law courts. Such violation of basic human rights in the name of counter terrorism should be condemned. Also noting with concern the rise of Islamophobia in the West in the wake of 9/11, and demonisation of Muslims in India, by vested interests; Acknowledging the worldwide recognition that durable peace cannot be secured without justice to minorities and other vulnerable groups and the consequent active engagement by governments and civil society groups to prevent, resolve and transform conflicts by putting in place firm institutional mechanism of rule of law and dialogue and conciliation. We the delegates to the Global Minorities Meet held from 6th to 9th March 2008, in New Delhi, India having reviewed the global minority situations have arrived at the conclusions that the sources of denial of effective equality, security, dignity, adequate public participation and preservation of distinct identity of minorities lie in the following: · Inadequate protection of the rights of minorities under constitution & laws and policies of States · In some countries constitutional provisions are discriminatory. · In some others, there is no constitutional safeguards for rights of minorities. In some countries which have such provisions certain religious communities have not been accorded recognition under law. · In countries where constitutional provisions on rights to equality and to preservation of language and culture and freedom of religion appear to be adequate, in practice denial of these rights is rampant owning to majoritarian administration and electoral calculations. · Poor state of rule of law and non-observance of human rights norms, where the law-enforcement system is partisan and justice system has given rise to pervasive impunity. · Even in democracies where period elections are held under multi-party system, the electoral systems are unfriendly to minorities making them unable to secure their due share in legislatures and other elected bodies. · Minorities are grossly underrepresented in all spheres of national life and especially in institutions of governance, e.g. the police, armed and para-military forces, the judiciary and the civil services, in their respective countries. · The culture, history and religion of minorities do not get appropriate representation in educational materials and in the media. On the contrary they are marginalized, excluded or distorted and negatively stereotyped. · While condemning and strictly dealing with all terrorist activity everywhere, it is equally significant to carry out serious instituionalised research into the causes of terrorism and to take preemptive measures so as to save our upcoming generations of this scourge. In view of the above, we recommend the following measures to be adopted by the Governments of each country. · Adequate protection of the rights of minorities to equality, non-discrimination, non-exclusion and non-assimilation under constitution, law, policies and programmes. · Institutions to ensure enjoyment of these rights by minorities in reality, providing accessible mechanism of prompt redressal. · Enactment of statutory Commission to address inter-group discrimination and disparities. · Enactment of social diversity of institution Act, making employers accountable for persistent absence or under representation of minorities. · Polities to conform to the norms of inclusive democracy, ensuring due share to minorities in legislatures and governance. · Affirmative action programmes for equalization of opportunities for minorities, ensuring their due share in public employment and in socio-economic development. · Protection and promotion of pluralism and multi-culturalism. Giving adequate representation to minority language, history, culture and religion in the educational material and in media, while enabling the minorities to acquire knowledge of the language, history and culture of the national life as a whole. Enactment of a Multiculturalism Act for this purpose. · Promotion of prevention and resolution of inter-community and minority versus State conflicts and disputes, providing peaceful and just solutions. · Collectively adopting Regional Human Rights Conventions based on international human rights norms, accommodating regional particularities, and instruments on the protection of minorities and institutional mechanism for monitoring and redressal of grievances in these regions, like South Asia, and West Asia where such regional arrangements do not exist. · Under these instruments adopting multilateral/ bilateral treaties on the treatment of non-citizens like numbers of divided families, migrant workers, refugees, asylum seekers, prisoners and stateless persons. · Enactment of anti genocide law in the respective countries. We recommend the following measures to be adopted by the civil society · Undertake active promotion of these norms and principles, especially of pluralism and multiculturalism and rule of law. · Undertake advocacy of their adoption by the government. · Promote inter-community tolerance, mutual respect and accommodation. · Organize effective intervention in situations of denial of rights to minorities and their oppression. We appeal to the security forces of the States and armed opposition groups to strictly adhere to the ethical-legal humanitarian norms on the conduct of hostilities as codified in the Geneva Convention, 1949 which require protection of life, dignity and freedom of non-combatant civilians, especially women, children, old and disabled persons and worshippers. · We also appeal to religious leaders of all communities in the region to evolve and endorse such ethical norms on the protection of innocent civilians uninvolved in conflicts including communal and sectarian conflicts. We the delegates to the Global Meet do hereby resolve to constitute a Global Minorities Forum for Justice and Peace (GMFJAP) whose aims and objectives will be the following: a. Promoting equal human rights of all minorities b. Promoting adequate protection of rights of minorities to equality and non-discrimination and to their distinct religious, and cultural and linguistic or national identities under constitution, law, policy and programme of each country. c. Promoting norms of gender-justice in areas of cultural autonomy of minorities including community-based family laws. d. Promoting adoption of Regional Human Rights Conventions and Commissions on Rights of Minorities and Non-Citizens. e. Promoting inter-community understanding, tolerance and conciliation through dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes. f. Promoting strict observance of humanitarian norms during armed conflicts. g. The Forum shall have country wise chapters, in countries from where the delegates have participated in the Global Minorities Meet. The Global Minorities Forum for Justice & Peace resolved to nominate the following founder members, beside Secretary General, in the GMFJAP: 1. Mr. Douglas Devnanda, Honorable Minister, Sri Lanka 2. Dr. A. H. Wako, Former Minister, Government of Kenya 3. Mr. Subodh Kant Sahay, Honorable Minister of State, Government of India 4. Dr. Nirmala Deshpande, Honorable M.P India 5. Justice Shaikh Abdur Rahman Al Mahmoud, Former Chief Justice of Qatar 6. Ms. Kay Hampton, Formerly Commissioner, Equal Opportunities Commission, UK 7. Prof. Amrik Singh, India 8. Ms. Jessie Kaur, Australia 9. Dr. Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General MCB, UK 10. Mr. B.M. Kutty, PILER, Pakistan 11. Mr. M.P. Bhandara, Former MNA Pakistan 12. Dr. Noorah Amat’ullah, New York, USA 13. Dr. Manzoor Alam, Chairman IOS, India 14. Dr. Zafar Mehmood, Chairman, Interfaith Coalition for Peace, India. 15. Mr. M.A Sumanthiran, Sri Lanka 16. Mr. Riza Yehiya, Sri Lanka 17. Mr. Hanan Mollah, M.P. India 18. Mr. Senaid Kobilca, Norway 19. Prof. Iqbal Ansari, India 20. Mr. Nirmal Singh, USA 21. Prof. Ranbir Singh Sandhu, USA 22. Mr. Fredrick Musisi Kabuye, Uganda 23. Mr. Zafar Malik, Pakistan 24. Dr. Robina Sehgol, Pakistan 25. Justice Tahir Ali Ansari, Nepal 26. Mr. Hasan ul Haq Inu, Bangladesh 27. Dr. Sajan George, India 28. Mr. Gurdeep Singh, India 29. Navaid Hamid, India; Secretary General The Meet authorizes the Secretary General to include some other important minority rights activists in consultation with other Founder Members. The delegates of the Global Minorities: Appeals the Government of Bangladesh: a. To take necessary Steps to establish Minority Rights Commission in Bangladesh for redressal of the minority communities complaints. b. Ensure the inclusion of all minorities in the voter lists of the country. c. For promoting & protecting minority groups repeal or make amendments of all statutes, which are threatening to minorities. d. Ensure State protection to safeguard freedom of belief and diversified religious practices. Appeals to the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran to ensure redresal of the grievances of the Bahai community in Iran. Appeals to the Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan to ensure safety of minorities and repeal of all laws, which has been used to victimize the minorities in the country and create Statutory National Commission for Minorities, for safeguarding the interests of the minorities in Pakistan. While welcoming the declaration of the Nepal as a Secular State, appeals to the Government & Political parties of Nepal to give due consideration for safeguarding the interests of minorities and dalits in Nepal and ensure their safety of life and property and safeguard freedom of Belief of its citizens. While expressing grave concern on the plight of the ethnic and religious minorities in Malaysia, appeals to the Government of Malaysia to immediately redress the grievances of the ethnic and religious minorities of the country. Appeals the Government of India to enact Anti-Genocide Law and create Equal Opportunities Commission, at the earliest.

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