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.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Protection of Minority Rights

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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

Ruth Lapidoth -- Autonomy: Flexible Solutions to Ethnic Conflict
This is a summary of a book which examines the use of autonomy to resolve ethnic conflicts.

Links to Outside Information on Minority Rights:

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

The Denial of Identity
The Denial of Other Human Needs
Domination Conflicts

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu