`Minority women deliberately targeted for rape`

The Minority Rights Group International documents cases from across the world.

London: Women from minority and indigenous communities are targeted for rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture and killings because of their ethnic, religious or indigenous identity, Minority Rights Group
International says in its 2011 annual report released on Wednesday.

In its report titled `State of the World`s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2011`, MRG documents cases from across the world showing how women from minority and indigenous communities often face disproportionately higher levels of violence and are targeted for attack in situations of conflict and in times of peace.

"Discrimination against minorities worldwide is time and again experienced by women as physical violence. In war and in peacetime, minority women are singled out for rape because they are less protected and less able to complain," said Mark Lattimer, executive director of Minority Rights Group International.

The report cites cases from situations of armed conflicts, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan and Burma.

In many of these countries, rape has reportedly been used as a tool of war against women from minority communities.

In several countries - Iraq, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Colombia - minority women form a disproportionate number of those displaced due to conflict.

In Colombia, a majority of displaced Afro-Colombians are women, many of whom head households, and face violence and sexual abuse from government forces and guerrillas.

In India, the report alleges Dalit women experience multiple levels of violence due to caste, class and gender. The report makes a strong case that, despite the levels of violence faced by minority and indigenous women, many of them are fighting for their rights to be recognised, and demanding justice.

Shobha Das, director of Programmes of Minority Rights Group International, said: "Women are not just the victims of violence, they are also its leading opponents. In many countries the struggle to stamp out sexual violence against minorities is being led by minority women activists themselves, sometimes at serious risk to their own safety."


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