News / Africa

Report: Ethiopian Government Uses Aid as Political Tool

Multimedia

Audio

An international watchdog published a report Tuesday that says the Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent.

The report published by Human Rights Watch says villagers in Ethiopia often are refused loans, seeds, fertilizers, food aid and housing if they are a member of an opposition party.  Human Rights Watch researcher Ben Rawlence said, "Government officials were saying to these farmers and villagers, 'why don't you go and ask your party for help?'  That the ruling party has fought for this assistance from the international community and it's reserved for its own."

Ethiopia is one of the world's major consumers of development aid.  In 2008 it received $3 billion from a host of donor nations, most notably the United States, Britain and Germany.

The government won a resounding victory in the May election of this year.  Rawlence said the election result was symptomatic of serious political repression in the country.  He also said people in Ethiopia are terrified of speaking out against the government.

"The regime is highly repressive, highly disciplined in a kind of Chinese or Maoist fashion, where every five households have a party chairman who reports to the village party chairman who reports up and up, and so-on."

The Ethiopian government has not yet commented on the report, though it has rejected similar claims in the past.

The development department of the British government released a statement that said respect for human rights is central to its work and Britain is "always swift" to raise concerns with the government of Ethiopia.

Kjetil Tronvoll is professor of human rights at the University of Oslo. He said development aid has been used in a positive way in Ethiopia.  "You have the expansion of social service delivery, yes, of health clinics, of hospitals.  You have the expansion of higher education institutions, definitely.  Primary education has been expounded radically.  Road construction, infrastructure work with the input of development money - so yes, absolutely you have a positive effect, too."

Tronvoll said, however, that he doesn't mean to say the repression of political rights should be ignored.  He said donor countries are in a difficult position because the Ethiopian government doesn't allow money to be channeled directly into development programs.

"It is kind of, you take the whole package or nothing is communicated by the authorities, and it is up to the donors to accept and close their eyes for the lack of democracy and human right principles in order to support the overall possibly positive economic trend, or to say that it is too difficult for us to accept these principles," said Tronvoll.

He said what donor governments can do, though, is be more vocal in their criticisms.  Human Rights Watch interviewed more than 200 people in 53 villages for the report.  The investigation lasted six months and took place in 2009.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid