Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey are among the European states that have climbed up the most in the ‘Peoples under threat’ global rating, as reported by Minority Rights Group International. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have the highest rating among countries of Central Asia.
According to MRG Executive Director Mark Latimer, Ukraine has climbed up in the rating after the recent events in Crimea and the south-east of the country. ‘Many groups of minorities feel threatened in the country,’ – he adds.
It has been noticed that Russia’s annexing of Crimea has increased concerns about the fate of Crimean Tatar people, approximately 300,000 people. Many of them did not take part in the referendum of March 2014 about joining Russia, as reported by MRG.
Certain parallel lines can be drawn between events in Ukraine and Moldova, which is also included on the list of Peoples under threat this year. Russian protesters from Moldova’s Transdniestria have been voicing their wish to join Russia.
‘Russian power institutions are concerned that Moldova plans to sign an association agreement with the EU – this process was the spark that started the Ukrainian crisis,’ – notes Latimer.
The recent protests in Turkey present another example of a country added the Peoples under threat list. Turkey’s climb in this rating is a clear sign that the patience of the Turkish people in regard to the ruling power is getting thin. Tension has also increased on the south-east of the country.
Meanwhile, in Kyrgyzstan police continue to arrest people without any reason. There is also a serious lack of court justice. There have also been cases of torture and extortion. Uzbek journalist Azimzhan Askarov presented with a life sentence by a politically motivated court after he reported human rights violations in an ethnic conflict that took place in the country’s south in 2010.
In the case related to riots of 2010, the accused journalist was held suspect in relation to the death of some citizen of Kyrgyzstan. The journalist was assaulted many times when he entered the courthouse. This forced human rights organizations to ask power institutions to prevent any interference with the court process.
After the adoption of the Religion law in Tajikistan in 2009, state monitoring and control over Islam in the country has been continuously growing. As a result of large-scale campaigns across the whole of the country all Islamic schools in the country were closed, except one. Uzbek people, who represent the largest ethnic minority in Tajikistan (15%), are politically marginalized. Their representatives have only 2 seats in the state parliament.
The People under threat survey aims to identify peoples of groups of people who are under the threat of genocide or any other kinds of systematic violent repressions. MRG rating is also available online – http://peoplesunderthreat.org.