News / Africa

Human Rights Groups: Donor Countries Fuel Abuse in Ethiopia

Selah Hennessy
Two new reports published this month say sustainable development in Ethiopia is impossible without a specific focus on human rights. The reports say donor countries should bear responsibility for ensuring their aid money is not used to fuel abuse.

Ethiopia receives billions of dollars in international aid every year. It is money that is used to help improve basic services like access to health and education.

But human-rights campaigners say there also is widespread abuse that takes place in Africa’s second most populous country. And they say donors need to face up to what role their aid money might play in fueling that abuse.

Leslie Lefkow, the deputy director for Human Rights Watch's Africa Division, said, “The Ethiopian government is resettling large numbers of pastoralists and semi-pastoralist communities in the name of better services. But often this resettlement process is accompanied by very serious abuses.”

Human rights groups say so-called “villagization” has been marred by violence, including rapes and beatings, and people are often forced to leave their homes against their will. They also say the new villages lack adequate food, farmland, healthcare and education facilities.
 
Lefkow said the World Bank is turning a blind eye. “In Ethiopia you have several years’ worth of rising concerns of human rights and yet you do not really see that being absorbed in the monitoring and in the practice of donors across the spectrum, so not just the World Bank,” she said.

The World Bank is the world’s top aid donor, with a $30 billion annual budget.

Right now the World Bank is undergoing a review of its safeguard policies, a process that began last year.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based campaign group, says now is the time for it to commit to respecting and protecting human rights.

“Unlike some of the other international financial institutions, the European development bank and the African development bank, for example, is looking at reviewing some of its policies and explicitly committing to human rights, but the World Bank does not have that, even on paper.”

Another group, the U.S.-based Oakland Institute, published a report last week highlighting donor countries’ roles in alleged Ethiopian abuse.

It said Britain and the United States have ignored abuses taking place in the Omo Valley as the government forces tens of thousands of people from their land.
 
Executive Director Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank, says forced evictions are taking place in order to make way for commercial farming and a major new dam. She says money from donor countries supports the new projects.
 
“There is also support for infrastructure projects such as power lines and the rest, which are linked to the large dams that have been built, for instance, the dam in Lower Omo, which has been built to provide irrigation and electricity to the investors,” she said.

The Ethiopian government says sugar plantations in the region and the new dam, which will be Africa’s largest, are key to bringing energy and development to the country. VOA contacted the government for a reaction on the Oakland Institute report, but did not get a response.
 
Britain’s Department for International Development says its assistance in Ethiopia helps millions.

You May Like

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

What Happens When Americans Eat What They Tweet

You are what you tweet, according to new maps that show a correlation between obesity and tweeting about high-fat foods More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Daniel T.
July 23, 2013 11:41 PM
Useless Ethiopian Embassy needs to take a page out of Al Amoudi’s playbook.

Boston Herald once linked Al Amoudi’s oil business to Osama Bin Ladin and found themselves in the cross hairs of attorney Vernon Jordan, political advisor to Bill Clinton, and Al Amoudi’s lawyer in U.S. The Boston Herald retracted its story, issued an apology and never mentioned Al Amoudi’s name since.

by: Mimi from: Sacramento, CA
July 23, 2013 10:24 PM
Exact same copy and paste defamation press release from Oakland Institute every quarter for fundraising drive.

UN, UNICEF, World Bank, Bill Gates Foundation, etc, etc...All these agencies that are actually in Ethiopia and involved in development work (unlike Oakland Institute or HRW) have repeatedly refuted these accusations...Yet VOA happily keeps reprinting.

by: manny ayele from: us
July 23, 2013 8:04 PM
So called Human right group why you don't leave Africans for Africans,you think you are more fair to African than its people?.Come on please we all know what is you agenda is.So please don't be bothered.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs