AFRICA IS FAILING ITS ETHNIC, LINGUISTIC AND INDIGENOUS MINORITIES

Africa is failing to protect and promote its tribal, ethnic, linguistic, religious and indigenous minorities as evidenced by the recent Minority Rights Group International (MRG) 2019 People Under Threat (PUT) where African countries are topping the top 50 list of worst violators of tribal, ethnic, linguistic, religious and indigenous minorities’ rights.

An analysis of the MRG 2019 PUT database done by Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) shows that of the top 50 violators list, Africa contributes 22 members. The African countries that are in the top 50 human rights violators include Somalia ranked 2; South Sudan ranked 3; DRC ranked 6; Sudan ranked 7; Central African Republic ranked 10; Libya ranked 11; Ethiopia ranked 12; Nigeria ranked 13; Cameroon ranked 17;Eritrea ranked 19; Egypt ranked 21; Chad ranked 23; Zimbabwe ranked 24; Mali ranked 27; Equatorial Guinea ranked 28; Angola ranked 29; Uganda ranked 31; Algeria 33; Niger 33; Mozambique ranked 42; Congo ranked 44 and Kenya ranked 46.

The People Under Threat (PUT) is the MRG Annual international barometer of countries’ performance in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous, ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious minorities.

The PUT measures 10 indicators which are: self determination conflicts; major armed conflict; prior genocide/ politicide; Flight of Refugees and IDPs; Legacy of vengeance – group grievance; Rise of Factional elites; Voice and Accountability; Political Stability; Rule of Law; and OECD Country Risk Classification.

The bad performance by African countries is a wake up call for African leaders and African democracy and human rights institutions such as African  Union and regional bodies to not only domesticate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; but to also take democracy and good governance seriously.

If Africa has to develop and achieve equality as enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and specifically Articles 2, 3 and 4 – it has to seriously start treating its tribal, ethnic, linguistic and indigenous minorities with dignity and respect.

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