Minorities Rights Day is observed to celebrate the equal rights of minorities and make people aware of the basic human rights of minority communities.
This day brings our attention to the fact that how important it is to secure the rights of minority communities, for nation-building. Let us take you to some facts you need to know about this day.
Minorities Rights Day History
Minorities Rights Day is celebrated on 18 December every year across the world. The day is marked by the United Nations to tell the importance of securing the rights of minorities.
On December 18, 1992, the United Nations adopted the Statement of Individual Rights. Safeguarding the minorities’ rights was the key purpose and guiding principle of the statement. The assurance of security regarding their caste, religion, culture, tradition, and ethnicity was an important factor.
The declaration by the UN also reiterated that minorities and their rights’ safety will be ensured by all the countries in individual areas. And it was also said that it will be the responsibility of the countries to improve the conditions of the minority and spread awareness about their national, religious and cultural identity.
As per the definitions given by the United Nations, “any community or group which does not dominate politically, socially and economically in a population are minorities ”.
Minorities Rights Day in India
Minorities Day in India is also celebrated on December 18. It was first celebrated on the same day in the year 2013 to celebrate the basic human rights of India’s minority communities.
India is a country of unity in diversity. People of different languages, castes, tribes, religions, ethnicity live together here with peace and harmony. Its constitution gives equal rights to every individual living in the country irrespective of their religion, caste, creed, language.
India’s minority holds 19.3% of its total population. In which Muslims are 14.2%, Christians are 2.3%, Sikhs are 1.7% and around 2% of the population of the country consists of other religious minorities.
Formation of National Commission for Minorities
In 1992, when the Declaration of Individual Rights was adopted by the United Nation, the same year the Government of India set up the National Commission for Minorities (NSM) under the National Commission for Act, 1992 in Section 2(c).
Under this, 5 major religious communities in the country were declared as minorities, these are Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, and Zoroastrins (Parsis). On 27 January 2014, the Jain community was also notified as another minority community.
In 2006, the Government decided to form the Ministry of Minority Rights. This ministry was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Currently, Mukhtar Abbas Naqui is the Union Minister of Minority Affairs.
Sardar Iqbal Singh Lalpura is the present Chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities.
Important Articles for Minorities Rights in Indian Constitution
Article 29: It protects the interest of minorities and states that any citizen living in any part of Indian territory shall have the right to conserve his distinct language, script, and culture. It also mandates that no discrimination would be done on the basis of religion, race, caste, and language.
Article 30: It is confined to only minorities and does not extend to any other section of the country. It says that all the minorities, whether they are based on language or religion, have the right to establish religious organizations and educational institutions of their choice.
Article 350-B: This article states that there shall be a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities to be appointed by the President of India.