Human rights, and especially minority rights, have a clear supranational dimension both in Europe and in South Asia. Europe has made wide use of the mechanisms and soft law approaches developed and implemented at regional level by the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union.
In South Asia there is a long tradition of study and robust experience in the field of cultural, religious, linguistic and ethnic management, including the gender dimension, within national boundaries (India in particular). However, it is only recently that some albeit limited attempts have been made to enhance regional cooperation on these very sensitive issues. Studies carried out by South Asian scholars have created the knowledge base underlying the first rudimentary attempts by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the foresight initiatives of human rights NGOs and activists. The overall objective of EURASIA-Net is therefore to enhance the requisite knowledge-base for new policies and instruments to reduce ethnic-religious conflicts and to foster stability and security in South Asia. Achievements in this area are likely to create a favourable environment for cooperation with Europe and to contribute to repositioning Europe as a pro-active political interlocutor.