|Pakistan is among top 10 countries with persecuted minoritiesPK Balachandran, Indo-Asian News Service
Colombo, February 27, 2008
First Published: 09:53 IST(27/2/2008)
Last Updated: 12:52 IST(27/2/2008)
If the threat to ethnic and sectarian minorities is the criterion to rank countries, Pakistan will be among the top ten, according to the London-based Minority Rights Group (MRG).
Pakistan has been placed seventh with 19.16 points, immediately followed by Sri Lanka, with 16.63, in MRG’s Global Ranking of Peoples Under Threat (GRPUT) which was released on Wednesday.
India is way down in the ranking, being sixth from the bottom, with 9.83 points. Bangladesh and Nepal are higher up on the list with 12.18 and 14.48 points respectively.
Somalia is the worst country in the world for the minorities, followed by Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Chad, in that order.
In Somalia, the threatened communities are Darood, Hawiye, Ogadeni, and Bantu. In Iraq they are Shia, Sunni, Kurd and Turkoman. In Sudan, they are Fur and Zagawa in Darfur, and Dinka and Nuba in the south. In Afghanistan, the threatened communities are Hazara, Pushtun, Tadjik, Baluch and Uzbek.
In Myanmar, which is ranked fifth, the threatened communities are Kachin, Karen, Mon, Shan and Chin. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the endangered peoples are Hema, Hutu and Tutsi. In Pakistan, the communities facing persecution are Ahmadiya, Sindhi, Pushtun, Hindu and Mohajir.
The threatened communities in Nigeria are Ibo, Ijan, Yaruba, the Muslim Hausa, and the Christians of the north. In Ethiopia, they are Amak, Ajar and Somali. In Chad, they are the Black African tribes, the Arabs and the Somalis.
In Sri Lanka, it is the Tamils and the Muslims who face threats. In Nepal, the people under pressure are the Madhesias, Dalits and the linguistic minorities. According to the MRG, the people under threat in India are the Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, Nagas, Assamese, Bodos and the Tripuris.
Pakistan and Sri Lanka have “significantly deteriorated” since 2007, says Mark Lattimer, MRG’s executive director.
“The fallout of the military intervention in Afghanistan continues to spread in Pakistan and is now engulfing whole new communities in the threat of violent conflict.”
“Sri Lanka, in 2007, faced a serious human rights and humanitarian crisis propelled by a return to war and break down of law and order. In almost all the cases of grave human rights abuses, including killings ,disappearances and torture, it is mostly ethnic Tamils and Muslims who are affected,” Lattimer said.
As regards Myanmar, while the world has heard about the persecution of the pro-democracy leaders and Buddhist monks, the “violent repression of minorities is barely reported.”
Conflicts are spreading across international borders, giving the persecution of the minorities an international dimension. Indeed, in most conflicts in the world today, the victims are the minorities, whether ethnic or sectarian.
MRG began the ranking of countries in terms of the threat to peoples on a yearly basis three years ago. The idea is to forewarn the international community of the likely areas of conflict, and the likelihood of the intensification of conflicts across the globe.