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Minority Rights and the Prevention of Violent Conflict

25 June 2007

Chechnya, Darfur, Kashmir, Kosovo, Sri Lanka – just some of the world's bitterest conflicts. All fuelled and fought over ethnic, linguistic, religious or cultural issues. All concern minority groups.

Disregard for minority issues lies at the heart of many conflicts. But despite this, minority rights have been marginalized in international conflict prevention.

In a new report, Minority Rights: The Key to Conflict Prevention, MRG has identified the five key areas where action is needed, if minorities are to be protected and conflict prevented. The study also outlines ten practical steps which can be taken post-conflict to prevent the resumption of religious or ethnic warfare.

The key areas for action are identity, participation (on both a political and economic level), land rights, justice and non-discrimination.

In order to stop ethnic conflict flaring again, the report lays out ten practical steps to secure a lasting peace. These include having a fair judicial system accessible to all, prosecuting hate speech, ensuring economic development does not marginalize certain communities, and creating an education system which teaches respect for minority languages and cultures.

This MRG report is based on a two-year programme of research undertaken by the organisation. During this time, we have had extensive discussions with minority communities themselves, UN staff in conflict-affected areas, and government officials – both within Western nations and in countries with critical minority issues.