Minority Rights from Historical Foundations to Contemporary Imperatives

Minute Mirror - Subscribe
Minute Mirror - Subscribe

After World War I, the Minority Treaties of the League of Nations were the first explicit incorporation of minority rights protection within the realm of international law. But in 1946, the League of Nations stopped functioning.

With the exception of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which includes protection for minority rights under Article 27, and the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, minority rights received significantly less attention after World War II.

The United Nations Minorities Declaration, which was unanimously ratified in 1992, is committed to advancing and defending the legal rights of people who identify as members of national, racial, religious, or linguistic minorities. Its main objective is to support societal and political stability in the states where these minorities are concentrated.

The term “minority” still lacks a generally agreed definition. Both empirical criteria (common ancestry, language, religion, etc.) and subjective elements (individual self-identification within a minority group) are important in determining a person’s status as a minority.

The nondiscrimination, effective participation, and promotion and protection of identity values are at the heart of the Declaration. It establishes a number of rights for those who identify as members of minorities, including the freedom to uphold their own culture, follow their own religion, and speak their own language.

Nearly all human rights documents and forums now discuss issues relating to the rights of people of color. Minority rights, according to the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations, are crucial to protecting persons who want to uphold and advance common values and practices within their group. They also appreciate that minority members make significant contributions to societal diversity and richness and that states that actively support and promote minority rights are more likely to promote tolerance and stability.

Minorities frequently find themselves in vulnerable, marginalized situations that call for particular measures to ensure fair access to rights. Therefore, minority rights are essential to ensuring that everyone in society is able to exercise their human rights in an equal manner. These rights essentially seek to guarantee effective equality for people who identify as national minority, ensuring parity with the majority. Notably, fostering equitable educational opportunities for members of national minorities is very important since it helps people develop, strengthens communities, and upholds personal freedoms.

Protecting minority rights is a concrete example of tolerance and cross-cultural communication. The many groups within a society can interact and work together while maintaining their individual identities through building respect and understanding for one another. Promoting understanding of minority cultures, histories, languages, and faiths from an intercultural perspective is one of the fundamental components needed to achieve this goal. In summary, preserving minority rights may sustain the ideal of variety while fostering an inclusive, peaceful, and cohesive community.

Inter-ethnic tensions, rivalries, and exclusion have the potential to grow into sources of instability and war if they are not handled. In the wake of ethnic unrest, successfully addressing minority-majority relations becomes essential for establishing long-lasting peace. In this setting, safeguarding national minorities promotes not only social cohesion in pluralistic countries but also democratic security, sustainable growth, and peace against a backdrop of unpredictability.

All societies in the modern world embrace multi-ethnic and multi-national traits. Societies can be enriched by ethnic diversity, making them more attractive, competitive, and successful. In order to establish peace and stability as well as to capitalize on cultural diversity as a source of enrichment and societal resilience, it is crucial to promote an environment of tolerance and interethnic discourse.

Under international law, States are obligated to uphold, defend, and uphold all human rights, especially those of minorities. Minority rights are universal, inalienable, independent, and indivisible as they are understood within the context of international human rights. States have a responsibility under both the law and morality to uphold these principles as the primary agents of the international community.

The preservation of national minorities is essential for preserving stability, democratic security, and peace throughout Europe, as history has shown. The European Union (EU) emphasizes and demands that its present and future member states uphold minority and human rights.

In Pakistan, the escalation of religiously motivated violence has coincided with the implementation of the death penalty for blasphemy, aggravating aggressive tendencies. As a result of growing economic disparities and developing social tensions, violence against minority religious groups has increased in Pakistan.

The recent sad event in Jadanwala, Faisalabad, Pakistan serves as a somber reminder of the difficulty’s minorities confront. Similar instances of discrimination against Muslims as minority have been reported in other nations as well, but important governments and international organizations like the UN have frequently done little to protect Muslim minorities around the world. Cases of acts against minorities occurring in Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, and France demonstrate the absence of practical ways to stop such behavior. This reality must be acknowledged, and the international community must work together to advance the rights of minorities.

The horrible incidents that occurred in Pakistan are an abominable crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. To stop these actions from happening again, the international community must investigate the underlying causes. In his farewell sermon, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) emphasized the need of equality and fairness in Islam.

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve; an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action.”

Recognizing minorities as fellow human beings as well as as members of the minority community is one way to address this issue. They are entitled to the whole range of human rights since, in addition to being members of a minority group, they are intrinsically human beings. Solutions cover both internal and international issues, including international human rights law, international criminal law, safeguards for peace and stability, and cultural heritage preservation, such as Articles 25 and 33 of the Pakistani. In a similar vein, indigenous peoples continue to have the UN-guaranteed right to self-determination. Accordingly, institutions like Article 1-2 of the UDHR, the UN Declarations on Minority Rights, the Human Rights Council, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) all represent small steps in the direction of minorities’ protection.