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Sudan and Russia are major risers in ‘Peoples under Threat’ 2010 rankings

27 April 2010

Sudan, Russia and the Philippines are this year’s top three major risers in the internationally-acclaimed global ranking ‘Peoples under Threat’, Minority Rights Group International (MRG) says.

The international human rights organization says that the list of states that have risen most prominently in the table this year are those which have all been the scene of past mass violence, and whose fall down the risk register in recent years has now suddenly been reversed – putting the lives of tens of thousands under threat.

‘Those governments who are most likely to kill their own people are those who have done it before,’ says Mark Lattimer, MRG’s Executive Director.

‘Over the next year close international scrutiny should focus on both South Sudan and on Russia’s North Caucasus, as well as other regions where renewed conflict carries the risk of atrocities being committed against minorities,’ he adds.

A decrease in conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region and the recent signing of a peace accord between the government and the Justice and Equality Movement, the main rebel faction, have given rise to new hopes for the human rights situation in Sudan. However, in the run up to a referendum on independence for the south in 2011, it is reported that both sides are re-arming, which could lead to mass violence putting large numbers of people at risk, including the Dinka and Nuer peoples.

The most startling riser in the table this year is the Russian Federation, which has risen seven places. Although under-reported, conflict has escalated again both in Chechnya and in the neighbouring Russian republics of Ingushetia and Dagestan. With recent bombings on the Moscow underground, the combination of circumstances is dangerously close to those that prevailed in 1999 before the start of the second Chechen war, which caused the deaths of at least 25,000 civilians.

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. On numerous occasions in those five years, countries that have risen sharply up the table have later proved to be the scene of gross human rights violations, among them Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Yemen. Yemen has risen significantly in the table in each of the last four years.

At the head of the global ranking of Peoples under Threat remain a number of states where mass killing of minorities was ongoing in 2009. Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan lead the ranking overall. Pakistan, which had been one of the major risers for the last two years is sixth on the list.

Despite claims of recent progress, Somalia and Iraq remain entrenched in the top three. Both the Bantu and Gaboye in Somalia, and numerous minorities in Iraq continue to face persecution in the context of ongoing conflict and inter-community rivalry.

‘Iraq and Somalia may no longer command as many column inches,’ said Mr Lattimer. ‘But minority civilians there are being killed week in, week out.’

Download full 2010 ‘Peoples under Threat’ table
Download 2010 online briefing

Notes to the Editor

  1. 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 on 27 April 2010.
  2. Click the following links for the table and briefing from last year:
    Download 2009 Online briefing

    Download 2009 Full table
  3. 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 with:

  • Mark Lattimer, MRG Executive Director (English)
  • Representatives of minority communities in some of the listed countries

Contact the MRG Press Office on [email protected].