Legal Cases – Minority Rights Group

MRG’s Strategic Litigation Program was established in 2002. The program seeks to address violations of the rights of minorities and indigenous communities around the world by holding governments directly accountable for such violations before regional and international human rights tribunals. of man.

Over the years, MRG’s Strategic Litigation Program has grown into one of the world’s leading human rights litigation programs on minority and indigenous issues, covering many thematic areas such as on ancestry (in West Africa), access to and enjoyment of ancestral lands (across Eastern and Central) and deprivation of political rights and discrimination in access to public services (in Eastern Europe). East and Southern Africa).

We have been involved in a wide range of but carefully selected issues and activities, from submitting legal arguments that expand areas of law that may be unfamiliar to the justice system, to supporting human rights victims. in designing effective national advocacy campaigns, engaging with victims to legally challenge discrimination and/or the denial of their rights.

Our successes

We have succeeded in obtaining a number of groundbreaking judgments, helping to strengthen the rights of minorities in Europe (Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovinarendered in December 2009) and the rights of indigenous peoples in Africa (CEMIRIDE & MRG (on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v. Kenya, rendered in February 2010) and have other landmark cases pending in various jurisdictions. In May 2017, we helped the Ogiek community win a landmark land rights case at the African Court against the Kenyan government (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. Kenya (the “Ogiek Case”) In January 2018, MRG welcomed the historic decision of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) in the case of Said and Yarg Salemag against Mauritania.

We also implement successful advocacy campaigns like our campaign to prevent the forced eviction of some Ogiek from their ancestral habitat, the Mau Forest in Kenya. With the support of MRG, their campaign was successful and raised awareness of their situation with key external stakeholders (including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples) who, in turn, kept up the pressure on the Kenyan government to respect the rights of this community.

These unprecedented results have allowed the Program to continue to gain considerable notoriety among Aboriginal and minority communities. We continue to receive an increasing number of requests for support from excluded and marginalized minority and indigenous groups around the world whose most basic rights are threatened and denied.

The overall objective of the program is to improve the ability of minorities and indigenous peoples to effectively access the legal protection offered by international human rights instruments and the international tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies that apply them.

We achieve this by:

  • Provide holistic and in-depth advice to communities/individuals whose rights (to enjoy their freedom, land, culture, access services and participate in political processes) have been violated: this also includes advice on how to legally challenge abuses how to engage in national, regional and international advocacy with relevant stakeholders alongside legal work;
  • Bringing individual test cases before regional, international and national bodies with the specific aim of setting precedents that will have far-reaching effects, and thus positively influence the position of other minority and indigenous groups who are victims of similar violations in other countries. other countries (emphasis on the impact of a case figures prominently in the case selection process);
  • Work with key stakeholders (governments, judiciary, international bodies) to ensure that the policies and measures adopted by States to comply with their international obligations respond to both the individual and collective nature of economic, social rights and cultures of minorities and indigenous peoples;
  • Build the capacity of local communities and those who represent them (lawyers and/or community organizations) to ensure that these communities are able to both monitor human rights violations during the trial and related advocacy , and then to demand the implementation of their rights by themselves, outside the framework of this program. This includes the provision of paralegal training specifically developed to meet the needs of each community, and training on how to defend rights before regional and international mechanisms.

Learn more

See the “Key Legal Cases” section below for more information on MRG’s work.

For more information on relevant international instruments and case law relating to minority rights, see:

Publications from our Strategic Litigation Program

Find out more about our main legal cases