Constitutional Protection of Minorities

Comparing Concepts, Models and Experiences in Asia and in Europe

4 - 5 May
Versione stampabile

The existence of diversities within nation-states is a shared feature of European as well as of Asian jurisdictions.
With the likely exception of indigenous peoples, who represent a fairly more relevant phenomenon in Asia, quite similar are also the main factors of diversity, such as nationality (or ethnicity), religion, traditions, life-style, language.
In both regions, protection of minorities - including gender - wise and cultural or social structurally weak segments of society - has gradually become one of the controversial issues of constitutionalism, centred as it is on the balance between unity and uniformity of rules on the one hand and, on the other, differentiation  and self-rule, with regard to territorial and/or religious self-government, as practiced by regimes of religion-based personal laws in significant parts of Asia.
When such a balance is not achieved, conflicts with various degrees of violence between the majority and minorities have occurred and still do occur.
Prevention of such conflicts thus becomes part of notions of communitarian or consociational democracies that, although with differences, is experienced in both regions and are reflected in the form of government.

The International Workshop contributes to a better knowledge and understanding of the conceptual and normative background of minorities’ protection in South and Southeast Asia by exploring some national case-studies, by examining the contribution given by the international dimension, by making reference to the social and cultural setting of their respective societies.
Comparing experiences and concepts in Asia and in Europe is expected to allow the elaboration of models and, ultimately, to enhance their circulation and cross-fertilisation.


Friday May 4th, 9:00 - 12:45

First  Session Case Studies in Protection of Minorities in Asia
  • Joseph Marko, University of Graz
Protection of Minorities Experiences in Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore
  • Jaclyn Neo, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Protection of Minorities in India
  • Nico Amirante, University of Naples 2
Protection of Minorities in Nepal
  • Mara Malagodi, City University, London
Protection of Minorities in the Philippines The Experience of the Autonomous Islamic Region of Mindanao
  • Roberto Toniatti, University of Trento
  • Pasquale Viola, University of Naples 2

Friday May 4th, 14:15 - 18:15

  Second Session Individual and Collective Approach to the Domestic and International Protection of Minorities
  • Pamela Stephens, Vermont Law School, Fulbright Scholar at the Faculty of Law, Trento
The Ambiguity of the non Collective Approach to Minority Rights in the European Framework Convention
  • Francesco Palermo, EurAc, Bolzano/Bozen, University of Verona
The Individual Approach to Protection of Human Rights in the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights
  • Michelle Staggs Kelsall, University of Nottingham
Constitutional Rights and Legal Systems: Protection of Minorities through Personal Laws
  • Francesco Alicino, LUISS, Rome 
Factors of Diversity in Asian Societies
  • Wilfried Swenden, Co-Director Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • Angelo Rinella, LUMSA, Rome

Saturday May 5th, 9:30 - 12:45 

  Third Session Asian and European Constitutional Concepts of “Minorities” Compared
  • Roberto Toniatti, University of Trento
Concepts of Minority in Constitutional Law in Asia
  • Alexander Fischer, Jindal Global Law School
Concepts of Minority in Constitutional Law in Europe
  • Joseph Marko, University of Graz
  • Jens Woelk, University of Trento