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Disaggregated Data Collection: A Precondition for Effective Protection of Minority Rights in South East Europe

8 August 2006

Ask for statistical information on the situation of minorities in the countries of Southeast Europe, and the reply from states, international institutions, and development agencies will often be one of the following: such data does not exist; data is not available; the law prevents the collection of ethnic data.

At the same time, there is increasing recognition that the inclusion of minorities in development and their economic participation are important prerequisites for peace, stability and equitable prosperity in the region. Yet how can minorities be effectively included in development without ethnic data showing their particular situations?

This briefing addresses why ethnic data is vital if minorities are to have their economic and social rights fulfilled and benefit from development. It looks at some of the problems with the collection of ethnic data, presents some examples from the region and examines the attitudes of some international and regional institutions to the issue. It concludes with recommendations for improving the collection of ethnic data to ensure that minorities are effectively included in development.

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Kathryn Ramsay