Minority rights are the normal individual rights as applied to members of racial, ethnic, class, religious, linguistic or gender and sexual minorities; and also the collective rights accorded to minority groups. Minority rights may also apply simply to individual rights of anyone who is not part of a majority decision.
In order to strengthen the cause of the minorities, the United Nations promulgated the “Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities” on 18th December 1992 proclaiming that:
“States shall protect the existence of the National or Ethnic, Cultural, Religious and Linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity.”
(Video Source http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/)
The issue of minority rights was first raised in 1814, at the Congress of Vienna, which discussed the fate of German Jews and especially of the Poles who were once again partitioned up. The Congress expressed hope that Prussia, Russia, and Austria would grant tolerance and protection to their minorities, which ultimately they disregarded, engaging in organized discrimination.
The National Commission for Minorities has been observing the 18th December as a Minorities Rights Day every year.
Minorities in Pakistan are essentially categorized as ‘religious’ minorities. The term ‘minority’ is used in the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on several occasions, there is, however, no definition of this term.
In Pakistan, Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, Scheduled Castes and others (including Sikhs and Paresis) are officially and constitutionally recognized as religious minorities. Shi’a, Ismaili and Bohra communities are recognized as Muslim communities.