Minority groups face exclusion from national and global development agendaListen /
Minority groups are increasingly facing exclusion from national and global development agenda, violence and discrimination, according to a United Nations human rights expert.
Rita Izsák, the United Nations Independent Expert on Minority Issues, says minorities constitute the poorest of the poor and majority of them cannot break free of their situations without targeted attention being given to them.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Ms Izsak singled out the lack of attention to the situation of minorities as one of the most serious deficiencies of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
She said in the ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Myanmar, minority ethnic groups were bearing the brunt of the violence.
Ms Izsak challenged States and development actors to do more to ensure that the new post-2015 development goals and strategies, respond to the situation of the most deprived minorities.
"In almost every country in the world minorities suffer greater ill health and receive poorer quality of health care than other segments of the population. People belonging to minorities frequently die younger, suffer from higher rates of disease and struggle more to access health services. Equally the devastating impact of conflict on minorities even conflicts in which they are not party to can even be immense leading to killings, persecutions, displacement and mass expulsions. New goals must not ignore the most vulnerable groups by leaving systematic injustices untouched, from institutional discrimination against minority groups to uneven investment in social services in different regions in a country. Targeted affirmative action policies are required to confront the economic and social exclusion of minorities including specific social and economic development plans for marginalized groups and the regions in which they live."
She called for targeted efforts to reduce the global inequality gap, which she said was a leading factor in the marginalization of minority groups.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.