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The South Asia Collective

We are a group of human rights activists and organisations that dream of a just, caring and peaceful South Asia. We came together in December 2015 to document the condition of the region’s minorities – religious, linguistic, ethnic, caste and gender, among others – hoping this would help in bettering out- comes for South Asia’s many marginalised groups. We call ourselves The South Asia Collective. We have since been able to rally other like-minded groups and platforms to our cause. Building on this initial success, we have also begun experimenting with small-scale practical support to minority groups across borders, to nurture their capacity for better outcomes for minority communities, working at local and regional levels. This coming together of like-minded groups is particularly gratifying given the otherwise fraught political environment in the region that militates against any serious regional effort by state parties on minority and human rights. It is then left to civil society initiatives to try to pave the way in the hope for more formal efforts, going forward. Eventually we want to see the establishment of a South Asia charter of minority and human rights, and regional and national mechanisms to enforce those.

The members of The South Asia Collective are:


  • Books for Change, Bengaluru
  • Bandhu Social Welfare Society, Dhaka
  • Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi
  • Law and Society Trust, Colombo
  • Minority Rights Group International, London
  • Misaal Foundation, New Delhi
  • Women in Struggle for Empowerment, Lahore
  • National Commission for Justice and Peace, Lahore
  • Peoples’ SAARC, Kathmandu
  • Social Science Baha, Kathmandu
  • Women in Struggle for Empowerment, Lahore


  • Sahar Ahmed, Dublin
  • Dinushika Dissanayake, Colombo
  • Saroj K. Nepal, Thimpu
  • Omar Sadr, Kabul

South Asia State of Minorities Report, 2018

South Asia State of Minorities Report, 2018: Mapping the Terrain

South Asia’s minorities - religious and linguistic groups, especially women and those from Dalit backgrounds amongst them, and the many indigenous/adivasi communities, besides sexual minorities - make up disproportionate numbers of the poor and excluded in each country, suffering discrimination in the socio-economic sphere and denial of the most basic human rights. South Asia State of Minorities Report 2018: Exploring the Roots seeks to examine the reasons for the poor outcomes for minorities in South Asia, shining a light specifically on their socio-economic situation and their access to rights and opportunities. South Asia demonstrates amply how failures to prevent exclusion and discrimination against specific minorities have opened the way for graver abuse of human rights and violence against those groups.

Download Full Report
Download Executive Summary Download Introduction Events of 2017-18

Download Country Chapters

Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka

South Asia State of Minorities Report, 2016

South Asia State of Minorities Report, 2016: Mapping the Terrain

The inaugural edition of the South Asia State of Minorities Report series, seeks to create a baseline of minority groups and minority rights regimes, mechanisms and practices, by country, for the South Asia region. To do this, the report examines both the theory and the practice of minority rights protection in each country, looking at the range of rights guaranteed by national and international instruments.It also proposes a set of recommendations for the region, as well as for each country, separately. The current report covers six SAARC member countries, viz. Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In our future editions, we plan to include Bhutan and Maldives, the other SAARC member-states, and Myanmar.

Download Full Report
Download Executive Summary Download Introduction

Download Country Chapters

Afghanistan Bangladesh India Nepal Pakistan Sri Lanka

Regional Release

The South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016, was released in a formal launch event, on 11th November 2016, in Kathmandu. South Asia regional and Kathmandu based civil society groups participated in the event. Later that day, members of the South Asia Collective, presented a copy of the report to the Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and apprised him of the work of the collective to raise awareness about minority rights protection and promotion in the region.

Download release programme Download memorandum submitted to Secretary General SAARC by The South Asia Collective


Andrew Smith