MINELRES: Minority Rights Group International e-bulletin

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed May 25 18:23:21 2005

Original sender: Graham Fox <GRAHAM.FOX@mrgmail.org>

Minority Rights Group International - e-bulletin

Welcome to the minority Rights Group International (MRG) email bulletin.
Simply click on the links below in order to access the full news story
or publication on MRG's website, or alternatively visit our site at:

In this e-bulletin: 

- Aceh: fears grow of return to military ‘business as usual’ 
- Dominican Republic warned of ethnic cleansing charge 
- UN approves new watchdog on minorities 
- Dalits break through UN wall of silence on caste 
- Kenya: risk of conflict increasing 
- Kristina Hedlund Thulin - loss of a dedicated human rights defender 
- Nigeria’s Ogoni claim new oil industry abuse over demolition of
- MRG condemns attack on leading Greek human rights defender 
- Focus on: MRG Annual Review 2004…Against Genocide 
- Events and Advocacy: UN Working Group on Minorities, 11th session 
- Worth a closer look: 
- Events for your diary 
- Publications -  
  - Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity (MRG
  - Aceh: Then and Now (MRG report) 


Aceh: fears grow of return to military ‘business as usual’ 
The Indonesian Army has charged aid agencies operating in tsunami-hit
Aceh fees to use roads in order to deliver aid, while further
profiteering from infrastructure and development projects, said a new
report by MRG. The report warns that concerted action is needed to
prevent military business activities refuelling the conflict in which
minority communities are the frequent victims. Post-tsunami optimism for
a negotiated peace is being undermined by evidence of a return to
military ‘business as usual’ in the region and reports of a renewed
military crackdown.


Dominican Republic warned of ethnic cleansing charge 
The government of the Dominican Republic has been warned that it faces
charges of ethnic cleansing due to its continued practice of mass
expulsion of people of Haitian descent. Following the expulsion of over
400 Haitians by the Dominican Army in May and ongoing and widespread
discrimination, MRG said that a pattern of mass expulsions could be
established that should lead to international scrutiny of the Caribbean
state. Mass arbitrary expulsions are a violation of numerous civil and
political and economic and social rights under international law, stated


UN approves new watchdog on minorities 
A new UN special mechanism on minorities has been approved by consensus
of the Commission on Human Rights at its 61st session in Geneva. An
Independent Expert on Minority Issues will engage in dialogue with
governments and minorities worldwide to promote and protect minority
rights. The new post was welcomed by MRG, which has campaigned
intensively for a new minorities watchdog, although the organisation
criticized attempts by some states to weaken and undermine its mandate.
The post is a valuable addition to the resources needed to meet the
challenge of widespread and ongoing minority rights violations. 


Dalits break through UN wall of silence on caste 
The UN Commission on Human Rights has adopted a decision to appoint two
Special Rapporteurs to tackle the entrenched problem of caste-based
discrimination. The Commission endorsed an earlier decision by its
Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights to
conduct a comprehensive analysis of the problem and find solutions for
its eradication. This is the first time a political body of the UN has
referred directly to the problem, and  is seen as a crucial step in the
campaign for justice for South Asia’s Dalits (formerly known as
‘untouchables’) and communities suffering from similar forms of
discrimination around the world.


Kenya: risk of conflict increasing 
Urgent action to address inequality is required in Kenya if a future
major internal conflict is to be avoided. A new report launched in
Nairobi, Kenya and at the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva,
demonstrates how inequalities between communities are increasing in this
hitherto peaceful country and how government budget allocations are
making the problems of minority and indigenous peoples intolerable. The
new report by MRG and the Centre for Minority Rights and Development
(CEMIRIDE), reveals how some minority and indigenous peoples are unable
to gain access to resources, cannot own land and are the frequent
victims of development policies. 


Kristina Hedlund Thulin - loss of a dedicated human rights defender
Early in 2005 MRG learnt the tragic news that our colleague Kristina
Hedlund Thulin had been lost in the Asian Tsunami. At the time of her
death, Kristina was the Adviser on Democracy and Human Rights in
South-East Asia for the Swedish International Development Agency.
Kristina's contribution was central to the success of MRG's work over
the last eight years as a member of MRG's Council and Chair of its
Programmes and Publications Committee. She had a rare combination of
vision and practical sense that enabled us to develop projects that
could make a real difference to people's lives. Her early death has
robbed us of a dear friend and a great humanitarian. 


Nigeria’s Ogoni claim new oil industry abuse over demolition of
Thousands of Ogoni and members of other minority communities have been
evicted from their homes in a Port Harcourt shantytown. The Rivers State
government and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) are accused of
demolishing the waterfront homes of residents to facilitate planned
expansion and relocation from Lagos to Port Harcourt waterside without
adequate notice or compensation. Some of the residents were living in
the shantytown following earlier displacement caused by military
activities in Ogoni territories and the destruction of their homes.  


MRG condemns attack on leading Greek human rights defender 
MRG deplores the recent attack against Chairperson of Greek Helsinki
Monitor (GHM), Gregory Vallianatos. Mr Vallianatos, Greece’s best known
gay rights and human rights activist, was allegedly repeatedly punched
in the head during a homophobic attack, which took place in a public
square in broad daylight, by a well known lawyer. MRG strongly supports
GHM in its call upon the Greek authorities to fully investigate and take
firm action against perpetrators of such attacks, and to ensure, in
legislation and in practice, that such actions are appropriately
punished according to international standards of the rule of law.  


Focus on: MRG Annual Review 2004…Against Genocide 

MRG Annual Review 2004: Against Genocide 
2004 marked the tenth anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda in which up
to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in the space of
some three months. At a series of commemorative events last year, world
leaders reminded us of our duty not to forget the dead and pledged
‘Never again’. They are repeating that pledge in 2005 on major
anniversaries of the Nazi Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. Yet the
systematic failures that allowed the Rwandan genocide to happen could be
repeated. The gaps in minority protection that existed then still exist
today. And international action to prevent or halt episodes of mass
killing is all too often ineffectual, or just too late. Mark Lattimer,
Director of Minority Rights Group International. For the full text of
MRG’s Annual Review and the Director’s report, Against Genocide, click


Events and Advocacy

Neelan Tiruchelvam Training on International Minority Rights - Geneva 22
- 25 May

MRG in association with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, will once again hold its annual training event prior to the
United Nations Working Group on Minorities (30 May - 03 June 05). This
year’s training will be attended by over 35 minority participants from
every continent and will provide representatives of minority NGOs with
the vital information that they need to take up their issues effectively
at the UN level. 

For further information about the events above and details of many
additional MRG programmes and advocacy activities, please visit MRG's
website or contact us directly.


Deputy Director - Maternity Cover (7-9 months) c. ? 39,000 pro rata (2
1/2 days/week) 
Candidates should have at least 3 years senior management experience; a
track record in institutional fund-raising; experience of working in a
multi-cultural environment; and excellent communication and programme
design and evaluation skills.


Anti-Discrimination Law Officer c. ? 25 000 p.a. pro rata (3 days/week)
+ generous pension 
MRG is recruiting an officer to run an 18-month project on the
implementation of EU race discrimination directives in Central Europe,
through training of lawyers, minority activists and litigation support.
You will have a legal qualification, knowledge of EU anti-discrimination
law including litigation and experience of training/project management.


MRG strives to be an equal opportunities employer. MRG occasionally has
opportunities for internships and voluntary work and those interested in
applying for such positions should initially contact MRG with a brief
curriculum vitae (resume) and covering letter.

Worth a closer look
HREA call for applications for the distance learning course "Human
Rights Monitoring. The course will be offered from September-December
2005. Participants will be introduced to the doctrine and methodology of
human rights monitoring, primarily as developed through the work of
international organizations and NGOs, and national human rights NGOs.
The registration deadline for this course is 1 July 05. Further
information and application forms can be obtained at:

The UK Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Africa Web Portal has been
updated and restructured. Links now follow the chapter headings of the
Commission for Africa Report including: Governance and Capacity
Building; Peace and Security; Investing in People; Growth and Poverty
Reduction; Trade; Resources; Making it happen. Links lead directly to a
wealth of ODI material on Africa including research reports, Briefing
Papers, Opinion pieces and meeting reports.


International Crisis Group (ICG) - Early Warning Resources page 
Early warning is a critical part of conflict prevention and management,
and a core element of Crisis Group's mission. Crisis Group analysts
produce regular analytical reports containing practical recommendations
targeted at key international decision-takers. ICG's goal is to warn
governments, international organisations and the world community at
large about impending deadly conflict and help them prevent or at least
contain it - and, if and when prevention fails, try to resolve the


Information contained in external websites does not necessarily reflect
the views, policies or opinions of MRG and its staff.

Events for your diary

United Nations Working Group on Minorities - 11th Session, Geneva, 30
May - 03 June 05 

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York, 16-21 May 05  


Kenya: Minorities, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Diversity
Minorities and indigenous peoples in Kenya feel excluded from the
economic and political life of the state. They are poorer than the rest
of Kenya’s population, their rights are not respected and they are
rarely included in development, or other participatory planning
processes. This report discusses the abuse of ethnicity in Kenyan
policies, arguing that ethnicity is a card all too often used by Kenyan
politicians to favour certain communities over others in the share of
the nation’s wealth. The author, Maurice Odhiambo Makoloo, calls for
immediate action to address the inequalities and marginalization of
communities as a way of ensuring that Kenya remains free of major
conflict. It calls for a new Constitution to devolve power from the
centre, so that minority and indigenous peoples stand to benefit from
current and new development programmes.


Aceh: Then and Now 
At the end of December 2004, a huge earthquake and tsunami killed
thousands, injured many more and wreaked havoc in this northern province
of Sumatra, Indonesia. International aid has poured in and international
teams are working alongside Acehnese and Indonesian teams. What is less
well known is that Aceh was in the midst of a conflict between the
Indonesian forces and the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM, the Free Aceh
Movement) that has killed 15,000 civilians since 1976. Report author,
Lesley McCulloch, argues that the conflict has benefited the Indonesian
military and police, who have run businesses - including illegal
logging, gun running and drug operations - in Aceh. She demonstrates
that the military and police have been responsible for numerous
violations of human rights in the province, acting with virtual


MRG welcomes your comments on this e-bulletin and our work in general,
and greatly values your opinions and information. 

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, and to promote
cooperation and understanding between communities. 

MRG is a registered charity no. 282305, and has consultative status with
the United Nations Economic and Social Council and observer status with
the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights.

Contact MRG: 
54 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT, UK. 
Tel: 020 7422 4200      Fax: 020 7422 4201 
email: minority.rights@mrgmail.org 

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/