Ethiopian project accused of human rights violations

An international human rights group is once again urging donors to review and monitor their aid to Ethiopia.

In a report released Jan. 17, the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch called on donors to ensure they are not supporting an initiative of the Ethiopian government that the organization claims is violating the rights of thousands of indigenous people in the country.

Human Rights Watch, in its report, accused the Ethiopian government of forcibly relocating thousands of indigenous people in the country’s western Gambella region under a “villagization” program. The report claims the relocations “have been marked by threats and assaults, and arbitrary arrest for those who resist the move.” The relocated populations also do not receive proper compensation and their new communities lack adequate food, health and education facilities, and livelihood programs, the report says.

This is not the first time Human Rights Watch has urged for a review of foreign aid to Ethiopia. In October 2010, the organization accused the Ethiopian government of using aid to suppress dissent — a claim dismissed by government officials, including Tadesse Bekele, deputy head of food security and early warning systems.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.