04/29/2014 02:16 pm ET Updated Apr 30, 2014

These 10 Countries Are Most At Risk Of Mass Killings

This year marks the grim 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda, the 100-days killing spree in which Hutu militants tried to eradicate the country's Tutsi population. Despite the promise of the international community to never let such horror take place again, several communities around the world are currently facing violence and mass persecution.

In a new report released on Tuesday, the British non-profit Minority Rights Group warns that in several states, the risk of extreme ethnic or sectarian violence remains high.

The annual Peoples Under Threat Survey identifies those peoples or groups around the world that are most under threat of genocide, mass killing or other forms of systematic violent repression. The survey evaluates six factors that genocide expert Barbara Harff identifies as key indicators of a risk for minorities -- political upheaval, previous genocides, exclusionary ideology of the ruling elite, autocratic nature of the regime, minority character of the ruling elite, and low trade openness.

Since the survey began in 2005, four countries have consistently topped the ranking: Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq. This year, several countries rose up the list as their risk of atrocities increased, including Egypt, Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau and Mali.

Ukraine was included in the list for the first time in 2014. The protests that unseated President Viktor Yanukovych in February included some ethnic nationalists, troubling Ukraine's ethnic Russians, Hungarians and Romanians, Minority Rights Group notes. Russia's subsequent annexation of Crimea raised concerns about the Tatar population, who had been forced out of the peninsula under the Soviet regime. Pro-Russian violence in eastern Ukraine is further heightening threat levels, the report concludes.

Here are Minority Right Group's top ten countries at risk of future mass atrocities, including the communities most under threat in each nation.

  • 1 Somalia
    UN Photo
    Attacks by al-Shabaab rebels, as well as the shifting control of different militias over parts of the country, make Somalia's minorities particularly vulnerable.
    Women waiting for food aid at a distribution centre in Afgoye, Somalia, August 2013. (UN Photo/Tobin Jones)
  • 2 Sudan
    Getty Images
    The Sudanese government's pledge to extend control over all rebel lands by this summer has raised fears of attacks on civilian populations.
    Sudanese shelter in refugee camps in Darfur's south Um Gunya and Hajeer area, Sudan, March 9, 2014. (Albert Gonzalez Farran-UNAMID/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
  • 3 Syria
    AP Photo
    Minorities are increasingly at risk in Syria, the report says, as armed groups proliferate and grow increasingly sectarian.
    A Syrian girl from Aleppo looks out the window of an abandoned building where her and several families took refuge during fighting in Qamishli, Syria, Feb. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)
  • 4 Democratic Republic of the Congo
    The DRC rose again in the threat index, as the rise of the number of armed groups leads to dozens of separate conflicts over ethnicity and natural resources.
    IDP camp at Kiwandja, North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 2009. (Photo: MRG)
  • 5 Afghanistan
    According to UN figures, civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose by 14 per cent in 2013.
    Hazara laborers wait for customers at a market in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
  • 6 Iraq
    2013 was the bloodiest year in Iraq since 2007 and saw a dangerous rise in sectarian killings.
    Lalish, Headquarter of the Yezidi religion, Iraq, June 2011. (Photo: MRG)
  • 7 Pakistan
    Pakistan's minority communities are targeted in multiple conflicts in the country, They are for example frequently targeted by the Pakistani Taliban.
    Pastor Gill and his church, Islamabad, December 2012. (Photo: MRG)
  • 8 Myanmar
    DFID Burma
    Despite Myanmar's progress in dismantling authoritarian rule, the growing hostility against minority Muslims is of deep concern.
    Emergency food, drinking water and shelter to help people displaced in Rakhine State, western Burma, December 2012. (Photo: DFID Burma)
  • 9 Ethiopia
    Getty Images
    Several communities are at risk of violence in Ethiopia, including the Anuak, Afars, Oromo, and Somali populations.
    Somali women queue for relief food at an IDP camp in Dollow, northern Somalia, July 18, 2012. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/GettyImages)
  • 10 Yemen
    AP Photo
    Yemen is rising steadily in the rankings as it continues to contend with several conflicts: between Shiite rebels and Sunni tribes in the north, the government and Southern separatists in the south, and al-Qaeda's bloody campaign.
    A Zaydi Shiite man reads the Quran in the grand Mosque in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, June 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

This post has been updated to replace an image of South Sudan.


Mogadishu No Longer 'Most Dangerous City'
Mogadishu No Longer 'Most Dangerous City'