Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Aid donors announce investigation into tribal evictions in Ethiopia
June 24, 2014 (Survival International) — 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 the tribal 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.
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.