Zim ranked among worst countries in protection of indigenous people’s rights

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

ZIMBABWE is now ranked as one of the worst countries in terms of the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous, ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious minorities, according to the Minority Rights Group (MRG) International People Under Threat World report.

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.

According to the report, Zimbabwe is now ranked number 24 from the 25 recorded in 2018 in world rankings where minority groups such as the white Zimbabweans
and Ndebeles face rights violations.

Currently, the worst performing country is Syria, followed by Somalia , South Sudan , Afghanistan, Iraq , the DRC , Sudan, Yemen , Pakistan, Central African

Republic, Libya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Myanmar, in that order.

The PUT measures 10 indicators, which are; self-determination conflicts, major armed conflicts, prior genocide/politicise conflicts, flight of refugees and
internally displaced people, legacy of vengeance – group grievance, rise of factional elites, voice and accountability, political stability, rule of law and
the organisation for economic co-operation and development country risk classification.

In the 2019 rankings, Zimbabwe dropped points in terms of factionalised elites, voice and accountability, political stability and rule of law.

In an analysis of the report, the Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) called on authorities to promote tolerance in the country.

“The MIHR calls on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the rights of indigenous, ethnic, tribal, linguistic and religious minorities and specifically to
promote accountability, rule of law and political tolerance in the country,” MIHR said.

“Principally, the government of Zimbabwe should thrive for the implementation of the provisions of the 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.”

According to data analysis by MRG, abuse of social media is adding directly to the threats faced by some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. “Social
media platforms now occupy a central role in stigmatising target groups, legitimising violence…Deliberate misinformation, including false allegations and
dehumanisation of targeted groups, has been an enduring feature of conflict over the ages,” the report read in part.

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