OTPIC Officially Retired
As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.
The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.
International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict
Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA
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Minorities frequently find democratic, majority rule processes to be extremely threatening. The danger is that the majority will simply use its power to win elections, and then take away the rights of the minority. (Minorities may be defined on religious, racial, ethnic, gender, or political differences which arise among all groups.) This is why effective mechanisms for protecting minority rights are essential to the success of any democratic dispute resolution process.
Usually, these mechanisms involve constitutional protections of rights of all citizens. Parliamentary systems, which give minority groups representation, rather than giving complete power to the group that wins 51% of the vote is also a way to increase the power of minority groups. Another important mechanism for protecting minority rights is the use of political subdivisions. Here the idea is to divide the larger society into a number of highly homogeneous political subdivisions without significant minority groups. These divisions are then granted as much autonomy and home rule as possible. In theory, this does much to eliminate the minority group problem. Unfortunately, it only works in situations where there is a clear geographic separation between groups who are involved in serious conflict. In most cases, contending groups are so intermingled that the subdivision approach is not workable. In these cases other measures are needed to protect minority rights.
Links to Examples
US Institute of Peace--Balkan Religious Leaders Support Minority Rights
Links to Related Approaches
Elections / Instituting Democracy
Majority Rule Processes
Co-existence and Tolerance
Links to Related Problems
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