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Rampant graft and the risk of atrocities

The Peoples under Threat survey identifies groups most vulnerable to genocide, mass killing, or other systematic violent repression.

UK-based Minority Rights Group International has produced the survey (available here) every year since 2005. The aim, the group said, it “to provide early warning of potential future mass atrocities.”

Vulnerable people — hated because they look or sound different, worship another God, or once came from somewhere else — rely on the rule of law for their safety and survival.

When the rule of law is replaced by graft, the outcome for the weakest among us is too often catastrophic.

“A number of states which rose prominently in the index over the last two years — including South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Syria — have subsequently faced episodes of extreme ethnic or sectarian violence,” according to Mark Lattimer, MRG’s executive director.

Here are the ten countries where minorities are most at risk in 2014, according to the Peoples under Threat survey.

Included in parentheses is each country’s rank on the Corruption Percpetions Index. As expected, the countries where minorities are in the most danger are among the most corrupt in the world.

1. Somalia — Minorities incl. Bantu, Benadiri and ‘caste’ groups (Gabooye etc.); clan members at risk in fighting incl. Hawiye, Darod, etc. (CPI rank 175 out of 175)

2. Sudan — Fur, Zaghawa, Massalit and others in Darfur; Ngok Dinka, Nuba, Beja (174)

3. Syria — Political targets, Shi’a/Alawites, Christians, Kurds, Palestinians (168)

4. Democratic Republic of the Congo — Hema and Lendu, Hutu, Luba, Lunda, Tutsi/Banyamulenge,Batwa/ Bambuti, other groups (154)

5. Afghanistan — Hazara, Pashtun, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Baluchis (175)

6. Iraq — Shi’a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkmen, Christians, Mandaeans, Yezidis, Shabak, Faili Kurds, Bahá’ís, Palestinians (171)

7. Pakistan — Shi’a (incl. Hazara), Ahmadiyya, Hindus and other religious minorities; Baluchis, Mohhajirs, Pashtun, Sindhis (127)

8. Burma / Myanmar — Kachin, Karenni, Karen, Mons, Rakhine, Rohingyas, Shan, Chin (Zomis), Wa (157)

9. Ethiopia — Anuak, Afars, Oromo, Somalis, smaller minorities (111)

10. Yemen — Zaydi Shi’a, ‘Akhdam’, Southerners (167)


Richard L. Cassin is the Publisher and Editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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1 Comment

  1. Richard, – with respect, I think this argument proceeds on the wrong footing.

    The various countries you have listed have never had 'Rule of Law' in the sense we Western democrats think of it. So it is not the case that RoL has been 'replaced' by graft, and to impose this mindset on the phenomena of (endemic) corruption – as we see it from (say) a US-centric perspective – is to mistake the chicken for the egg.

    This is not a mere theoretical quibble: much money and effort has been wasted by Aid programs focused on 'curing corruption' by the imposition of RoL, when the real problem is that individuals in the society in focus have never counted for much, and as a result notions of 'fairness' and 'standing' which underpin Western individualism (and RoL) simply did not apply.

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