Source description last updated: 2 December 2021

In brief: Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a London-based international NGO advocating for disadvantaged minorities and indigenous peoples through worldwide campaigns, legal cases and publications.

Coverage on

Reports, Briefings, State of the World's Minorities, Micro Studies, Macro Studies

Covered monthly on, for countries of priorities A-C


“Minority Rights Group International was founded in 1969 by David Astor, the then editor and proprietor of the Observer newspaper in the United Kingdom.” (MRG website: Our History, undated)

“Minority Rights Group is the leading global organization working for and with ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, and indigenous peoples worldwide.” (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. B)

MRG is active in the following domains: “[…] international advocacy, training and education, strategic litigation, cultural programmes, research and publications, and media work. We are guided by the needs expressed by our worldwide network of partner organizations which all represent minorities and indigenous peoples.” (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. B) MRG has “[…] around 150 partners in over 50 countries” (MRG website: About us, undated).

As set out in MRG’s strategy 2021-2024, the three key fields of activity will be combatting persecution, challenging marginalisation and achieving climate justice. (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. 1) MRG aims to support minorities and indigenous peoples by informing relevant actors about their needs “[…] through regular, timely and authoritative reports, documentary films and other materials”, through “[…] campaigns to denounce rights violations and abuses”, through “[…] strategic litigation” and by connecting relevant actors and communities. (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. 3)

MGR is working in accordance with its four key principles: A human rights-based and inclusive approach, participatory planning and a “do-no-harm” perspective. (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. 12)

“MRG has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and is a civil society organization registered with the Organization of American States (OAS)” (MRG: Strategy 2021-2024, undated, p. B). As an international NGO, MRG has an “[…] international governing Council that meets twice a year”. The organisation is registered as a charity in the United Kingdom (MRG website: About us, undated).


“MRG’s funding comes from a number of donations and fundraising activities. Most funds are given by organisations, bodies and individuals, either from the private sector (trusts and foundations), or the public sector (statutory and governments).” (MRG: Annual Report 2017, undated, p. 14)

In 2019, MRG received funds from: Blanes Trust, Charities Trust BBC, Commonwealth Foundation for Democracy, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust, Ericson Charitable Trust, Eva Reckitt Charitable Trust, European Commission, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Freedom Fund, Irish Aid, Meadowbrook Charitable Trust, Netherlands Foreign Ministry, NORAD, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (SIDA), Swiss Embassy Kenya, Sylvia Adams Charitable Trust, T.H. Brunner Charitable Trust, UK Aiddirect, UNESCO, UNHCR, US D.R.L., Voice and from individual donors. (MRG website: About us, undated)

For detailed financial information see also the 2020 MRG Report and Financial Statements for Year ended 31 December 2020: MRG: Report and Financial Statements for Year ended 31 December 2020, undated.

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: all countries

Thematic focus: issues relating to political, economic and cultural rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples


MRG publications are mostly based on desk research in public sources and may include information from local sources publishing in non-Western languages (see, for example, MRG: Justice Denied, Promises Broken: The Situation of Egypt's Minorities Since 2014, January 2019, pp. 36–39, MRG: Identity and Citizenship in Tunisia: The Situation of Minorities after the 2011 Revolution, November 2018, pp. 26–28 or MRG: In the Name of Security. Human rights violations under Iran’s national security laws, June 2020, pp. 38-41). Publications may also draw on interviews conducted with oral sources (see, for example, MRG: An uncertain future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon: The challenges of life in exile and the barriers to return, February 2019, pp. 6 and 11 and MRG: Identity and Citizenship in Tunisia: The Situation of Minorities after the 2011 Revolution, November 2018, pp. 6, 21 and 28).

Language(s) of publications:

English, occasionally also in the respective local language

Further reading / links:

MRG website: Indigenous peoples’ land rights in Tanzania and Kenya: the impact of strategic litigation and legal empowerment (evaluation report), 17 November 2017


All links accessed 2 December 2021

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