MINELRES: Minority Rights Group International - e-bulletin

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Fri Sep 30 18:05:00 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:
http://www.minorityrights.org

In this e-bulletin: 

UN summit recognizes role of minority rights in peace and stability 
Destined to fail? Roma poverty alleviation initiatives replicate
societal ills 
Kenya delivers constitutional betrayal of minority and indigenous
peoples 
Too poor to count? The world's poorest slip through the poverty
reduction net 
UN alerted to Dominican 'de-Haitianization' policy 
Minorities call for states to support 'new era' of genocide prevention 
UN Committee denounces the inertia of the Nigerian government 
Gay McDougall appointed as UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues 
Focus on: MRG campaigns 2005 - 2008 
Features: Conflict prevention and the rights of minorities and
indigenous peoples 
Vacancies 
Worth a closer look - OHCHR minorities fellowship programme - call for
applications 
Publications: PRSPs, Minorities and Indigenous Peoples: An Issues Paper 

                        

News

UN Summit recognizes role of minority rights in peace and stability 
The 2005 World Summit Outcome document has explicitly recognized that
the promotion and protection of minority rights make an important
contribution to peace and stability. MRG welcomed the text as a strong
consensual acknowledgement by UN member states of the crucial role of
minority rights in the field of conflict prevention and resolution. MRG
also highlighted strong confirmation of the responsibility to protect
populations from gross human rights violations. It called for practical
measures to more effectively promote neglected minority rights standards
and good practice across UN member states.  

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=383> 


Destined to fail? Roma poverty alleviation initiatives replicate
societal ills 
Strategies to combat Roma poverty in South-East Europe are failing due
to institutional racism, discrimination and exclusion experienced by
Roma over generations. A new MRG study finds that patterns of racism and
discrimination inherent in wider society, are replicated even in
policies aimed at alleviating Roma poverty, leaving them destined to
fail. MRG demonstrates that Roma poverty is a legacy of discrimination
and calls for full Roma involvement in meaningful poverty alleviation.
Current strategies have often not been funded, publicized, implemented
or monitored.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=381> 


Kenya delivers constitutional betrayal of minority and indigenous
peoples 
The Kenyan government has reneged on previous promises and removed all
references to marginalized groups, minorities, pastoralists and
hunter-gatherers from the proposed new Kenyan constitution document.
Important gains for Kenya’s poorest and most vulnerable peoples achieved
during a three year constitutional review process have now been stripped
from the document leaving them furious and betrayed.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=375> 


Too poor to count? The world’s poorest slip through the poverty
reduction net 
Despite being amongst the poorest of the poor, minorities and indigenous
peoples are slipping through the net of worldwide initiatives to end
poverty. Extreme poverty combined with discrimination and
marginalization within society, means that minority and indigenous
peoples are often 'too poor to count' and are excluded from Poverty
Reduction Strategies, stated MRG. As the 2005 World Summit convenes at
the UN in New York, MRG has called for a re-doubling of efforts to
ensure success of the MDGs for the world's most vulnerable and
impoverished peoples.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=378> 


UN alerted to Dominican 'de-Haitianization' policy 
United Nations human rights bodies have been alerted to a deteriorating
situation of violence and discrimination against Haitian nationals and
their mass deportations by the Dominican Republic. MRG has warned the
Dominican government that continued systematic deportations and its
failure to protect the rights of Haitians could result in a charge of
ethnic cleansing. Dominican public officials including the Secretary of
State for Labour have commented in the media that the Dominican
government is preparing a plan to "de-Haitianize" the country.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=372> 


Minorities call for states to support 'new era' of genocide prevention 
Minorities and indigenous peoples, the most frequent victims of mass
atrocities, have joined a call upon all states to take a new and
effective stand against genocide and mass killing. Some of the world’s
most powerful states are joining some of its weakest in backing moves to
strengthen international action to prevent genocide and protect
civilians from mass atrocities. The call comes amid pressure by powerful
states including the United States, Brazil, India and Russia to oppose
and weaken strong language in the Millennium +5 Outcome Document due in
September.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=374> 


UN Committee denounces the inertia of the Nigerian government 
Geneva, 7th September 2005 - The International Federation for Human
Rights (FIDH) and Minority Rights Group International, present the
alternative report submitted by FIDH affiliated member in Nigeria, Civil
Liberties Organisation (CLO), at the occasion of the examination of
Nigeria by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
(Committee) and welcome the concluding observations addressed by the
Committee to the Government of Nigeria. The concluding observations
largely reflect the main areas of concern put forward by CLO in its
alternative report to the Committee

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=377> 


Gay McDougall appointed as UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues 
Gay McDougall, Executive Director of Global Rights, has been appointed
as the first United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues. She
brings extensive and varied experience in the field of human rights to
the newly created position, which has been described as a ‘watchdog’ on
minority rights. Minority Rights Group International, which campaigned
for the new UN minorities mandate, welcomed the appointment of Ms
McDougall and has offered its full support and assistance in fulfilling
her responsibilities.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/news_detail.asp?ID=371> 


Focus on: MRG campaigns 2005 - 2008 

In 2005 MRG launched its next strategic period focused on delivering its
planned outcomes. To direct our advocacy work in 2005 - 2008 MRG has
agreed five campaigns based on consultation with partners and
stakeholders and analysis of where MRG’s potential contribution can make
the most difference. Below you will find a summary of these five
campaigns and links to further information and publications on MRG’s
website. 

Conflict 
Some 70 per cent of the world's conflicts have ethnicity or religion as
a major factor. A very high proportion of these arise at least in part
because governments, or other parts of the state, discriminate against
minorities or indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, governments and
international bodies such as the UN have been extremely slow to address
violations of minority or indigenous rights in a systematic way.
<http://www.minorityrights.org/campaigns/campaigns_conflict.htm> 

Development 
At MRG, we have been concerned for some time about the links between
poverty, membership of a minority or indigenous community and access to
development. Most minorities or indigenous peoples have higher rates of
poverty (fewer educational opportunities, higher mortality rates, higher
unemployment, etc.) than other poor groups. Further, poverty reduction
strategies have not been as successful for minorities and indigenous
peoples as for other groups. 
<http://www.minorityrights.org/campaigns/campaigns_development.htm> 

Education 
The right to education is recognized in several international
instruments, including: the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Quality education for minorities and
indigenous peoples leads to improved literacy rates. It also improves
their opportunities, and increases their access to social and economic
justice. Our campaign seeks to address the obstacles to education
experienced by minorities and indigenous peoples. 
<http://www.minorityrights.org/campaigns/campaigns_education.htm> 

Gender 
Men and women from a minority or indigenous community lack access to
political power, and face discrimination in their access to education,
services, rights and work. Women from these communities face all of
these problems and more. This discrimination comes from both outside and
inside the community. We want to tackle problems of discrimination and
inequality, therefore, we need to work in a way that tackles gender- and
ethnicity-based issues. 
<http://www.minorityrights.org/campaigns/campaigns_gender.htm> 

Land 
Minorities and indigenous peoples all over the world risk being driven
from their land. They risk losing their livelihood and income, their
heritage and often their identity as a people. Many communities have
been closely bound to a particular territory for centuries. Yet once
their land is wanted for 'development' (e.g. for dams, mining, oil or
tourism) they are all too easily forced off their land and driven to
live in poverty, with little or no compensation. 
<http://www.minorityrights.org/campaigns/campaigns_land.htm> 


Features and events 

Conflict prevention and the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples

"[T]he promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to
national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities contribute to
the political and social stability of States in which they live." 

In 1992, every single member state of the United Nations agreed with
this statement. Nevertheless, many states continue to commit wide-scale
violations of the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples. So why do
so many states resist implementing minority rights, particularly in
situations where there is a risk of violent ethnic or religious
conflict? What should be the approach of national and international
actors with an interest in resolving such issues? The UN
Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
concluded that when sections of the population are at risk of widespread
violations and/or violence, there is an obligation on the international
community to protect them, and ideally to prevent violations from
happening in the first place. MRG’s Chris Chapman considers the issues. 

<http://www.minorityrights.org/features/features_prevention.htm> 


Overcoming Exclusion and Promoting Participation of Minorities 
MRG is delivering a training through BOND (British Overseas NGOs for
Development) on minorities and development on the 10 October 2005. The
training aims to strengthen the capacity of delegates to facilitate the
participation of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in their
development work, taking into account how minorities can be excluded
from or harmed by development. Those interested can find all info and
registration at: 

<http://www.bond.org.uk/lte/workshops/overcomex.htm> 

For further information about MRG’s programmes and advocacy activities,
please visit MRG's website or contact us directly.
<http://www.minorityrights.org> 

Vacancies

Programme Officer - Diversity and Democracy in Southeast Europe
Programme 
Minority Rights Group International has an opening for the position of
Programme Officer for its Diversity and Democracy in Southeast Europe
Programme. The project, jointly run with partners from the region,
consists of organizing seminars, producing publications and conducting a
variety of advocacy activities. The position will be based in MRG's
Budapest office. This is a full-time temporary post, which will last for
approximately 7 months. Applicants must be eligible to work in Hungary.
Closing date: OCTOBER 7, 2005. Email application forms to
mrg3.bud@tla.hu. The application form, full job description and person
specification are available at:

<http://www.minorityrights.org/job_vac.asp> 


Worth a closer look

OHCHR Minorities Fellowship programme - call for applications 
The OHCHR fellowship programme for persons belonging to national or
ethnic religious and linguistic minorities aims to give young minority
women and men an opportunity to gain knowledge in the field of
international human rights in general, and on minority rights in
particular. The Fellowship Programme is intended to assist organizations
and communities in protecting and promoting human rights. Five Fellows
will be chosen to participate in this Programme to be held from the
early February to end of April 2006. For further details and an
application form visit:

<http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/minorities/fellowprog.htm> 


Publications

PRSPs, Minorities and Indigenous Peoples: An Issues Paper 
Poverty Reduction Strategies (PRS) are part of the response to poverty
worldwide. Although often among the poorest and most marginalized
communities, minorities and indigenous peoples are seldom invited to
participate in the formulation of Poverty Reduction Strategies Papers
(PRSPs), or the design of poverty alleviation policies, which are thus
likely to be inappropriate, or even detrimental to their interests. This
publication presents strategies for supporting these groups’ capacity to
participate in, and influence, these processes in a meaningful way.

<http://www.minorityrights.org/admin/Download/pdf/MRG-PRSP.pdf> 



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 
<http://www.minorityrights.org>

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