CORDIS - EU research results

Europe-South Asia Exchange on Supranational (Regional) Policies and Instruments for the Promotion of Human Rights and Management of Minority Issues

Final Report Summary - EURASIA-NET (Europe-South Asia exchange on supranational (regional) policies and instruments for the promotion of human rights and management of minority issues)

EURASIA-NET aimed to explore regional and supranational cooperation in the field of human and minority rights in Europe and South Asia, with the ultimate goal of exchanging knowledge and research between these two regions, as well as promoting an increased role for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on minority issues. As to EURASIA-NET activities, all the deliverables and scientific reports of EURASIA-NET project have been duly submitted the over its 30 months of activity. Dissemination of all EURASIA-NET public deliverables has been ensured throughout the project, and Deliverables Nos. 8 and 9 have received particular attention from the European and South Asian public, and have been widely distributed.

Work package 1 (WP1) linked three activities: joint seminars (kick-off meeting and final conference), study visits, and publications. The EURASIA-NET 'kick-off' meeting took place on 17-19 February 2008 at Brunel University, and provided the opportunity to highlight and discuss conceptual issues relating to the project. The EURASIA-NET three-day Final Conference on Trans-regional Platform and Joint Research Agenda on Protection of Minority Rights took place on 18-20 March 2010, in Rang Durbar, Swabhumi, Kolkata (India). The conference brought to light a need to think of new ways to protect the rights of minority groups in diverse socio-cultural and political fields, such as the media and representative organisations, and special methods to protect vulnerable sections of society, etc. The study visits were intended to improve cooperation and exchange between European and South Asian scholars in the field of human and minority rights, with the goal of developing a common agenda for future research. Twenty-five visits were concluded taking into account geographical and gender balance. Finally, two publications were successfully released: issue(s) of the European Yearbook on Minority Issues with special focus on South Asia (special focus: contemporary challenges of globalisation; special focus: minority and human rights issues in South Asia) (deliverable No. 7), and minority rights publication in South Asia, Samir Kumar Das (ed.) Minorities in South Asia and Europe: a new agenda (deliverable No. 6).

In WP2, two summer schools took place, the first one in Bolzano/Bozen, Italy between 25 August and 5 September 2008, and the second one in Nepal where it took place between 17-28 August 2009. In general, the feedback provided by students of both summer schools was very positive. Overall, participants were very happy with their summer school experience and expressed their desire to contribute further to EURASIA-NET in some form and work towards the continuity of the network.

In WP3, informative sessions and briefings in South Asia and Europe were arranged for EU officials and local stakeholders, on topics related to regional aspects of human and minority rights issues in South Asia. Presentations were preliminarily arranged at the EC delegation to Pakistan and EU delegation to India, as well as at the European Commission and European Parliament premises in Brussels. Regrettably, the second EU delegation session, due to take place in New Delhi, was cancelled at the behest of the EU delegation due to sensitivity of the issue.

The trans-regional platform (WP4) functioned as a forum for the exchange of knowledge and best-practice between stakeholders (scholars, universities, media, decision makers, activists) as well as coordinating the dissemination of results and preparing the ground for joint research activities. Another focus of WP4 is the further evolution of the joint research agenda. Two conferences were also arranged within the work package.