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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More