Annual Report 2017
Supporting minorities and indigenous peoples to claim their rights was both challenging and rewarding during 2017. MRG’s work felt increasingly relevant as hate speech and discrimination against migrants and particularly those of other faiths and ethnicities rose to prominence in an unprecedented populist agenda in Europe, the USA, as well as continuing a longer trend in Myanmar and parts of Africa; Central African Republic, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan. Gains that had been made over a previous decade in terms of the most commonly held view being one that sees diversity as positive and inter-religious respect a given, were under threat. Statements that would have been socially unacceptable a year or two ago, were now common parlance. MRG’s long experience of minority rights, diversity and inclusion was called upon to counter new narratives and to support media and legal argument against what risked becoming a ‘new normal’. Simultaneously, many states moved to restrict the actions of human rights NGOs and human rights defenders with widespread assassinations, arrests, harassment and interference with activities. Even our ability to transfer funding to organisations to carry out projects became impossible or very complicated in many contexts.Despite this difficult environment, our partners continued to work tirelessly, against the odds, to collect and report data, make voices heard and claim rights to equality and respect. Partners worked on many issues from persecution, land rights, participation in decision making, and equal access to education, jobs and health services. With our support, partners worked at all levels, from conversations with decision makers at the district level to lobbying the UN Human Rights bodies and everything in between.MRG is extremely grateful to all those partners who took personal risks to claim rights and equality as well as to all those who have supported our work financially or through using their influence to support our advocacy and lobbying efforts over the course of 2017.