Search results for category: Law/Legislation

Laos: Minority Hmong may be held at abusive detention centre, rights watchdog says 

Authorities in Laos are locking up ethnic minority Hmong along with other "undesirables" in a detention centre where people face brutal beatings if they try to escape, according to a leading human rights group.Human Rights Watch claims Lao officials use the Somsanga Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Vientiane as a "dumping ground" for those seen as socially undesirable. Along with perceived drug users, people...

Kenya: Justice for Indigenous Peoples - The Endorois Case 

The Endorois, a semi-nomadic people, had for centuries herded their cattle and goats around Lake Bogoria in the Rift Valley, Kenya. In the 1970’s they were evicted from their traditional lands to create a nature reserve intended as a tourist attraction.The creation of the reserve deprived the Endorois of access to grazing lands and ultimately consigned them to lives of poverty and deprivation.  However,...

Ecuador: Indigenous justice and Ecuadorian state laws. Interview with Ecuadorian lawyer Mercedes Zambrano 

Approximately eight percent of  Ecuador's 15 million people (2001 census) self-identify as indigenous although that figure rises to 14 percent based on language use.Ecuador's 2008 constitution allows for indigenous communities to impart their own justice under their customary laws, which some have criticized for being too harsh.  In an audio interview (Spanish), female Ecuadorian lawyer Mercedes Zambrano compares the practice of indigenous law which...

Cambodia: Proposed NGO law will threaten advocates from minority, indigenous communities 

A controversial proposed law on non-governmental organizations in Cambodia could have devastating consequences for advocates from minority and Indigenous communities, a local human rights groups says.Advocates say Cambodia will use its proposed Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations to silence its critics and shut down NGOs that refuse to toe the government line.The widely criticized law would make it mandatory for NGOs to officially...

Colombia: Land rights defenders remain under threat  

Spanish language interview with Afro-Colombian lawyer Rosalba Castillo, representative of the Colombian rights federation Afroamerica 21, which is an accredited member of the the civil society consultative group of the Organization of American States. Among the themes discussed are ongoing state neglect and marginalization of Afro-Colombian populations, and the disposession of communally titled Afro-Colombian ancestral lands by armed groups who occupy the territories (which...

Kenya passes anti-FGM law, will it stop the Cut? 

MRG’s Africa Regional Information Officer, Mohamed Matovu, probes the success of the anti-FGM law that Kenya and several other African countries have passed.Kenya recently passed a law outlawing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), joining a small but growing list of African countries that have criminalized the cut.Those who practice, cause to practice or make snide remarks to those who don’t undergo the cut will from...

Cameroon: Mbororos petition government over delay to implement commission findings  

In 2003, after 17 years of campaigning by the Mbororo people, the office of the president of Cameroon ordered an Investigation into the human rights abuses of Baba Ahmadou Danpullo, which found gross human rights abuses. The inter-ministerial commission, known as The Jani Commission, on the conflict between the Mbororo Community and Baba Ahmadou Danpullo was created under Ref. No. 1621/SG/PR of 27th February...

Dominican Republic: Marginalized, harrassed and criminalized 

Spanish language interview with Chandai Estevez of the Dominican Republic, a member of the youth organization Afro-Alianza Dominicana and Executive Secretary of the Circulo de Juventud Afro de las Americas (Circle of Afrodescendant Youth of the Americas)Among the themes covered are age discrimination, youth policy and participation and a particular concern with the racial profiling, police violence, harrasment, extra-judicial killings and  criminalization of regional...

Thailand: Migrant workers exploited amid floods, rights groups warn 

Su Su raised an open palm, motioning a flat line above her chest.“The waters came up to here,” she said.For two weeks, Su Su, a Burmese migrant worker trapped in flooded Bangkok, watched as the dirty waters swelled, until they all but consumed her living quarters.She’s now been homeless for more than two weeks, after the floods shut the compact disc factory where she...

MRG photo story: Uncertain future for Israel's indigenous Bedouin 

In the next few months, the Israeli parliament is expected to legislate on a plan to demolish homes and displace 30,000 Arab Bedouins from the Negev desert of southern Israel. On 11 September 2011, the Israeli cabinet decided to go ahead with the controversial ‘Prawer plan’ that is aimed at providing a full resolution to continuing issues between the state and Bedouin over land...

Israel: Interview with Hanan Al Sanah, a Bedouin womens' rights activist 

Bedouin Arab women face high rates of poverty. They face disproportionately low levels of education and employment compared to other Israeli women. They are discriminated by the state and from within the community due to strict cultural traditions and customs. Hanan Al Sanah is a women’s rights activist who works with Sidreh, a Bedouin women’s organisation. Here she explains some of the major problems...

Israel's Bedouin Arabs at risk: the Prawer plan 

30,000 Arab Bedouin in Israel are going to be evicted from their homes in the next few years as part of a government plan known as the Prawer plan. The plan is expected to be put to parliament shortly. Ravia Abu Rabia, from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, explains what the implications of the Prawer plan are for the community....

Cambodia: Indigenous women face pressure at the forefront of land rights advocacy 

Women, including those from indigenous communities, are increasingly finding themselves on the frontline in advocating for their rights in the face of Cambodia's simmering problem of land disputes.A new report from Amnesty International released this week looks at how women in the Southeast Asian country are fighting against controversial land evictions. But this more prominent role has in turn placed them at greater risk...

Discrimination on religious grounds still persists in secular Nepal  

In a bid to address the long standing demands of ethnic minorities parliament declared Nepal a secular state on May 18 2006. The declaration ended the country's two-and-half century long distinction as the world's only Hindu state and demolished long-standing cultural disparities. The declaration of secularism was an attempt to remove a symbol of Nepal as a Hindu nation and bring equality...

South Asia: Dalit women voice concerns at the UN Forum on Minority Issues 

Dalit representatives from India, Nepal and Bangladesh voiced their concerns about effective political participation of Dalit women at the 4th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues. The thematic focus of the session, which was held in Geneva on 29-30 November 2011, was “Guaranteeing the rights of minority women”. Several Dalit representatives actively participated in the panel discussions and side events of...

Kenya: An Ogiek woman's journey to liberation 

My story is a tale of twists and turns.When I sit down and recall my journey, I could not have anticipated, given my childhood which was full of hardships, that I today would be among those who can garner the courage to stare injustice straight in the face and say, enough. As an Ogiek girl child, accessing education was the last thing on my...

Nepal: expert panel best guarantees IPs rights in new constitution 

In a bid to best guarantee Indigenous Peoples' rights in the new constitution, lawyers from indigenous communities and members of Nepal's Constituent Assembly (CA) Indigenous Peoples Caucus have formed an 11-member expert panel. The decision comes after the Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and CA Indigenous Peoples Caucus jointly held a last minute meeting before the unveiling of the...

African Canadians: Navigating the Ontario justice system & rebuilding young lives 

" There is a broad understanding that as a population black young people in Canada are more likely to be stopped by the police than any other ethnic group … It's a process of criminalization,  it's a process of stereotyping. You find there is greater police presence and police surveillance in black communities ...on almost every street corner you will see a police car." - Mobafa BakerThe...

Minorities at the UN: Effective participation of Dalit women in India's economic life 

The Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion (CSEI), an NGO based in New Delhi, India, recently spoke at the fourth session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, focusing on the challenges faced by Dalit women in participating in economic life.Arti Verma, CSEI's representative, stated that despite constitutional and legislative provisions put in place to address the issue of caste discrimination, Dalit women continue...

Minorities at the UN: Eradicate racism towards Afro-Latinas in Latin America 

At a side event on 29 November 2011, organized by the OHCHR and chaired by MRG’s Executive Director Mark Lattimer, Leonardo Reales, an Ethnic Rights Consultant for AFROLATINOS and ECODESARROLLO,  spoke on the many challenges faced by Afro-Latin women in Latin America, drawing on examples from his home country Colombia. He highlighted the fact that Afro-Colombian women were the poorest of poor, in a...


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