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Sudan, Somalia top ‘Peoples under Threat’ global ranking

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Close international scrutiny on events in Sudan and Somalia is vital in the next year as both countries lead a global ranking of ‘Peoples under Threat’, Minority Rights Group International says.
Somalia leads the global ranking followed by Sudan. Sudan also leads the list of countries that have shown the biggest rise in the ranking since last year. More than half of the top ten countries that lead the ranking are African states.

‘Renewed political instability and ongoing fragility in Sudan is a clear warning that the future of Africa’s largest country is at stake,’ Marusca Perazzi, spokesperson for Minority Rights Group International says.

‘Minority communities face enormous threats from continuing and potentially new violence.’

Despite a decrease in conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region and rising hopes after the recent signing of a peace accord between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement, the main Darfur rebel faction, the primary new threat now comes to the country’s south. In the run up to a referendum on the independence of the south in 2011, it is reported that both sides are re-arming, posing a major threat to the lives of tens of thousands of people, including the Dinka and Nuer, MRG says.

‘With the disintegration of the rule of law in Somalia, marginalized minorities outside the clan system are at particular risk in the country,’ Perazzi adds.

Over the last five years, Peoples under Threat has pioneered the use of statistical analysis to identify situations around the world where communities are at risk of mass killing. The ranking, which is an early warning and prevention tool, lists countries based on the threat to civilian life of genocide, mass killings and/or systematic violent repression.
Apart from Sudan and Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Chad and Nigeria are all on the top ten list of countries. In each of these states, violence against ethnic and religious minorities of a widespread or systematic character is ongoing, MRG says.

Although the African continent displays some examples of model practice in the political participation of minorities, the persistence of conflict, the legacy of colonialism, and the continued abuse of ethnic differences for political advantage all contribute to the position of so many African states in the danger list.

Download full 2010 ‘Peoples Under Threat’ table
Download 2010 Online briefing

Notes to the Editor

  1. The Peoples under Threat survey will be launched at a press conference in Nairobi:
    Date: 27 April 2010
    Time: 10:00AM (Refreshments available)
    Location: Hotel Boulevard in Nairobi
  2. The Peoples under Threat survey seeks to identify those peoples or groups that are most under threat of genocide, mass killing or other systematic violent repression in 2010. The survey with a description of how it is compiled will be available on www.minorityrights.org on 27 April 2010.
  3. Interview opportunities are available with:
    Marusca Perazzi, Spokesperson, Minority Rights Group International
    Paul Oleyo Longony, Boma Development Initiative – a Sudanese NGO working on Peace building.
  4. This is the fifth year MRG has compiled the ranking. Click the following links for the table and briefing from last year:
    Download 2009 Online briefing

    Download 2009 Full table
  5. Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a non-governmental organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide.

For more information and to arrange interviews, contact the MRG Press Office.

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