June 25, 2014

Aid donors announce investigation into tribal evictions in Ethiopia

Bulldozers clearing Mursi land in Mago National Park, where communities are being evicted from their land to make way for sugar plantations.

Bulldozers clearing Mursi land in Mago National Park, where communities are being evicted from their land to make way for sugar plantations.
© E. Lafforgue/Survival

Representatives of some of Ethiopia’s biggest aid donors have announced that they will send a team to the southwest of the country to investigate persistent reports of human rights abuses amongst the tribes living there.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has exposed how thetribal people of the Lower Omo Valley are being persecuted and harassed to force them off their land to make way for cotton, oil palm and sugar cane plantations.

Many other organizations have published similar reports.

The plantations are made possible by the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, which is itself the subject of huge controversy.

The dam, which is nearing completion, will have a serious impact on the livelihoods of 500,000 tribal people, including those living around Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

It is also projected to have catastrophic environmental consequences for the region, which is home to renowned UNESCO World Heritage sites on both sides of the border.

Survival and other NGOs have repeatedly denounced the eviction of hundreds of Bodi and Kwegu and continue to receive reports that people are being intimidated into leaving their lands for resettlement camps.

Daasanach are being forced off their land to make way for infrastructure development such as this giant pump at Omorate, which will facilitate irrigation of the plantations.

Daasanach are being forced off their land to make way for infrastructure development such as this giant pump at Omorate, which will facilitate irrigation of the plantations.
© E. Lafforgue/Survival

The Ethiopian government has not sought or obtained the indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent to move from their lands, in breach of the guidelines for resettlement drawn up by the Development Assistance Group (DAG), a consortium of the largest donors to Ethiopia, including the US, the UK, Germany and the World Bank.

DAG provides significant financial assistance to the local administration responsible for the forced evictions.

DAG has decided to return to the Lower Omo later this year to investigate the situation, even though the evictions continue regardless of past donor visits, the findings of which have often not been published.

This decision follows mounting worldwide concerns. European parliamentarians from Italy,Germany and the UK have asked questions in the European Parliament, and MPs in the UK and Germany have raised their concerns with various ministries. Parliamentary questions have also been tabled in the UK.

In February the US Congress ruled that US taxpayers’ money not be used to fund forced resettlements in Lower Omo.

Following a lawsuit brought by Friends of Lake Turkana, the Kenyan courts have ruled that the Kenyan government must release all information about the deals it has made with Ethiopia about buying electricity generated by the Gibe III dam.

Earlier this year, a UNESCO report recommended that Lake Turkana be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


March 11, 2014

Which dictator killed the most?

Filed under: Dictators — ethiopiantimes @ 11:15 pm
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They say that it takes compassion for humanity, love for country, and a strong pursuit of justice and mercy to become a strong and respected leader of the masses. Every once in a while, however, there are those politicians or generals that decide to do things their own way. These cold-blooded dictators do not care for the value of life as much as they do achieving their selfish motives of domination, power, and immortality.

Thios infographic shows worldwide dictators ordered by the number of killings, one drop, one million dead.

Of course, the winner is Mao, followed by Stalin and then Hitler. I really hope hell exists and all of them are in there in some major eternal pain.



January 23, 2012

Ethiopian rebels to release Kidnapped Germans, deny Eritrean role

Filed under: Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 8:55 pm
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A rebel group has promised the release of two German nationals who were kidnapped in the Afar region of Ethiopia last week when a group of European tourists were attacked, killing five of them.


Map of EthiopiaMap of Ethiopia

The rebel group, Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF), in its first ever statement, at the weekend confirmed that they were holding the two Germans adding that the abducted Europeans were being treated well.

The group said it will release the Germans after negotiations with Afar ethnic elders, but stopped short of giving details on the exact date of release.

Two Germans, two Hungarians and an Austrian were killed in an attack on tourists last week in the Afar region of Ethiopia, close to Eritrea.

Tensions rose when Ethiopia suggested that the insurgents had been trained and armed by Eritrea and warned that “Ethiopia has the right to defend itself and will do so if necessary”.

The Horn of Africa country also called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities and take the necessary steps to bring this abominable behaviour to an end”. It also said that it was “not too late for international action”.

But the front has denied any involvement of the Eritrean government, saying that the tourists were killed after Ethiopian troops started attacking ARDUF’s patrols. Eritrea is under United Nations sanctions for supporting Somali rebel group, al-Shabaab.

A total of 27 international tourists were attacked as they toured the famous lava lakes of the volcanic Afar region.

ARDUF says it is fighting for the rights of the Afar ethnic group, which it says is marginalised by the Ethiopian government.

A few years ago, the front kidnapped European tourists who were later released in Asmara, Eritrea.

Ethiopia said after last week’s attacks that insurgents had taken the two Germans and their two Ethiopian assistants to Eritrea.

The German embassy in Addis Ababa is working with the concerned officials for the release of the kidnapped Germans. Ethiopian officials have refused to give any details pertaining to the hostage situation to the media.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated after a border dispute, about a decade ago leading to a “No peace, No war” situation.

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