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South Asia State of Minorities Report 2021 – Hate Speech against Minorities

24 January 2022

This resource was produced by MRG’s partner(s) with MRG. It remains the property of the organization(s) in question and does not necessarily reflect the views of MRG.

In most of the countries of South Asia, hate speech is increasingly used by majority groups against minorities on the basis of religion, ethnicity or linguistic difference. Some of the groups under attack, in turn, are found to be victimising others at the same time. The common denominator driving hate speech in the region currently are the ubiquitous online platforms, primarily social media. Another common factor is the introduction of laws framed to restrict freedom of speech in the guise of protecting citizens against hate speech and violence. Taken together with the rise of hypernationalism promoted by majority groups, it has resulted instead in the shrinking of civic space and state-sanctioned hate speech through legislative enforcements.

South Asia State of Minorities Report 2021: Hate Speech against Minorities presents chapters from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to highlight how hate speech has been used in the various country contexts to advocate violence against minority groups and how it has led to their further suppression. This volume is planned as a tool for advocacy. It is hoped that these annual reports on outcomes for minorities and the quality of state provisioning will spur public debate in the region and create the conditions for state parties, and regional and international mechanisms to give serious consideration to issues of minorities. The purpose of the initiative is to promote equal citizenship and equal rights for all citizens, a central challenge of the ‘deepening democracy’ agenda in the region, and to highlight the alarmingly narrow civic space for minorities, including human rights defenders, journalists and activists.

This publication is the fifth in the series, following South Asia State of Minorities Report 2016: Mapping the Terrain; South Asia State of Minorities Report 2018: Exploring the Roots; South Asia State of Minorities Report 2019: Refugees, Migrants and the Stateless; and South Asia State of Minorities Report 2020: Minorities and Shrinking Civic Space. The report is put together by the South Asia Collective, consisting of organisations and human rights activists that dream of a just, caring and peaceful South Asia by documenting the condition of the region’s minorities—religious, linguistic, ethnic, caste, and gender, among others—hoping it will contribute to better outcomes for South Asia’s many marginalised groups.

This content was published in the context of the programme ‘Supporting religious pluralism and respect for freedom of religion or belief across South Asia’ (SAC). Learn more >