Source description last updated: 08 May 2019

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 ecoi.net:

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

Covered monthly on ecoi.net, for countries of priorities A-C

Mission/Mandate/Objectives:

“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)

MRG aims to “secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide, and to promote cooperation and understanding between communities.” (MRG: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated).

Minorities that are of concern to MRG are defined as “disadvantaged ethnic, national, religious, linguistic or cultural groups which are fewer in number than the rest of the population and which may wish to maintain and develop their identity.” (MRG: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated)

MRG is active in the following domains: “international advocacy, training and education, strategic litigation, cultural programmes, research and publications, and media work.” These activities are “guided by the needs expressed by [a] worldwide network of partner organizations” representing minorities and indigenous groups (MRG: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated). MRG has “130 partners in over 60 countries” (MRG website: About us, undated).

As set out in MRG’s strategy 2017–2020, its work over these four years “will be focused on the twin objectives of countering persecution and promoting inclusion” (MRG: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated, p. 3). MRG indicates that efforts to counter persecution will include “[p]ublishing comprehensive and reliable evidence on both religious and ethnic persecution around the world.” (MRG: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated, p. 5).

“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: Countering persecution, promoting inclusion; Strategy 2017-2020, undated). 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).

Funding:

“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 2017, MRG received funds from: Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Blanes Trust, DanchurchAid, Commonwealth Foundation for Democracy, Ericson Trust, Eva Reckitt Trust, Evan Cornish Foundation, European Commission, European Cultural Foundation, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Freedom Fund, Garden Court Chambers, Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Pilkington Charitable Trust, Prevo Trust, Prince Claus Fund, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (SIDA), Swedish PostCode Lottery, Swiss Embassy in Thailand, T.H. Brunner Charitable Trust, Unity Theatre Trust, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs and VOICE. (MRG: Annual Report 2017, undated, p. 14)

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

Methodology:

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 and MRG: Identity and Citizenship in Tunisia: The Situation of Minorities after the 2011 Revolution, November 2018, pp. 26–28). 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:

All links accessed 8 May 2019