Minority Rights in South Asia
I was just looking for how Minority Rights has been in our region. I spent time in China, Singapore and USA apart from my motherland India. I discovered in all of these countries, minorities do get better treatment than what they get in India. USA, one of the best and the most advanced democracies of the world, protects the rights of indigenous, linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities in all possible ways. Though they have a very bad history of minority rights and that had led to unequal economic status of different ethnic groups of USA, ultimately they have put genuine efforts to erase them all. Most importantly, they all acknowledge that difference does exist among different ethnic groups.
However, in case of South Asia, it’s all matter of denial. Each country says minorities are treated in the best possible ways they should have. However, as the UN data shows, all these countries has low rank in Human development and high rank in discrimination against minorities.
A report by Minority Rights in 2007 shows that Pakistan, Sri lanka and Nepal (along with Myanmar) are in the top 20 worst place for Minorities. In their report named “State of the World’s Minorities – 2007 “, a couple of our neighbor’s neighbors are also included – Afghanistan and Iran. Only Africa, as expected, has more representation in that list. The report has a truth about India –
“India, however, highlights the importance of implementation of standards: while the state has a plethora of minority rights standards, minorities continue to be vulnerable.”
In their latest report “State of the World’s Minorities – 2008”, the situation did not change at all. I wanted to dig a little bit deeper in the list of countries. The fully downloadable list also includes Bangladesh (at 36) and India (at 62), as expected. I agree that Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan Kingdom, has been ignored and Maldives is too homogeneous to really have any minority issue.
The most funny thing is, after all, we are proud of our culture. All of South Asians think their country has best cultures and yet …