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Ethiopia: 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. #Oromo #Africa December 31, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Domestic Workers, Human Traffickings, Slavery, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia, Youth Unemployment.
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Ethiopia: 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2014/226721.htm#.VKOCop-RPe0.facebook

 

usdos-logo-seal(31ST DECEMBER 2014, US DEPARTMENT OF STATE: OFFICE TO MONITOR AND COMBAT TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS) — Ethiopia is a source and, to a lesser extent, destination and transit country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Girls from Ethiopia’s rural areas are exploited in domestic servitude and, less frequently, prostitution within the country, while boys are subjected to forced labor in traditional weaving, herding, guarding, and street vending. The central market in Addis Ababa is home to the largest collection of brothels in Africa, with girls as young as 8-years-old in prostitution in these establishments. Ethiopian girls are forced into domestic servitude and prostitution outside of Ethiopia, primarily in Djibouti, South Sudan, and in the Middle East. Ethiopian boys are subjected to forced labor in Djibouti as shop assistants, errand boys, domestic workers, thieves, and street beggars. Young people from Ethiopia’s vast rural areas are aggressively recruited with promises of a better life and are likely targeted because of the demand for cheap domestic labor in the Middle East.

Many young Ethiopians transit through Djibouti, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen as they emigrate seeking work in the Middle East; some become stranded and exploited in these transit countries, and are subjected to detention, extortion, and severe abuses—some of which include forced labor and sex trafficking—while en route to their final destinations. Young women are subjected to domestic servitude throughout the Middle East, as well as in Sudan and South Sudan. Many Ethiopian women working in domestic service in the Middle East face severe abuses, including physical and sexual assault, denial of salary, sleep deprivation, withholding of passports, confinement, and even murder. Ethiopian women are sometimes exploited in the sex trade after migrating for labor purposes—particularly in brothels, mining camps, and near oil fields in Sudan and South Sudan—or after fleeing abusive employers in the Middle East. Low-skilled Ethiopian men and boys migrate to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and other African nations, where some are subjected to forced labor. In October 2013, the Ethiopian government banned overseas labor recruitment. Preceding the ban, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) officials reported that up to 1,500 Ethiopians departed daily as part of the legal migration process. Officials estimated this likely represented only 30 to 40 percent of those migrating for work; the remaining 60 to 70 percent were smuggled with the facilitation of illegal brokers. Brokers serve as the primary recruiters in rural areas. Over 400 employment agencies were licensed to recruit Ethiopians for work abroad; however, government officials acknowledged many to be involved in both legal and illegal recruitment, leading to the government’s ban on labor export. Following the ban, irregular labor migration through Sudan is believed to have increased. Eritreans residing in Ethiopia-based refugee camps, some of whom voluntarily migrate out of the camps, and others who are lured or abducted from the camps, face situations of human trafficking in Sudan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Since November 2013, the Saudi Arabian government has deported over 163,000 Ethiopians, including over 94,000 men working mostly in the construction sector and over 8,000 children working in cattle herding and domestic service; international organizations and Ethiopian officials believe thousands were likely trafficking victims. Many migrants reported not having repaid debts to those who smuggled them to Saudi Arabia, rendering some of them at risk for re-trafficking.

The Government of Ethiopia does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. The Federal High Court convicted 106 traffickers and worked with international partners to shelter and provide emergency care to trafficking victims. In 2013, following an influx of trafficking victims returning to Ethiopia, the government recognized problems with its oversight of Ethiopian-based employment agencies, which were failing to protect workers sent overseas. In response, the government temporarily banned labor recruitment and began to revise the relevant employment proclamation to ensure improved oversight of these agencies and better protection of its citizens while working abroad. The government facilitated the return of thousands of Ethiopians, including many likely trafficking victims, deported from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere during the reporting period, and coordinated with NGOs and international organizations to provide services to the returning migrants. The government relied on NGOs to provide direct assistance to both internal and transnational trafficking victims and did not provide financial or in-kind support to such organizations. The government did not deploy labor attachés or improve the availability of protective services offered by its overseas diplomatic missions. The absence of government-organized trainings in 2013 was a concern. The government also did not effectively address child prostitution and other forms of internal trafficking through law enforcement, protection, or prevention efforts. It did not report on the number of victims it identified in 2013.

Recommendations for Ethiopia:

Complete amendments to the employment exchange proclamation to ensure penalization of illegal recruitment and improved oversight of overseas recruitment agencies; strengthen criminal code penalties for sex trafficking and amend criminal code Articles 597 and 635 to include a clear definition of human trafficking that includes the trafficking of male victims and enhanced penalties that are commensurate with other serious crimes; enhance judicial understanding of trafficking and improve the investigative capacity of police throughout the country to allow for more prosecutions of internal child trafficking offenses; increase the use of Articles 596, 597, and 635 to prosecute cases of labor and sex trafficking; improve screening procedures in the distribution of national identification cards and passports to ensure children are not fraudulently acquiring these; allocate appropriate funding for the deployment of labor attachés to overseas diplomatic missions; institute regular trafficking awareness training for diplomats posted abroad, as well as labor officials who validate employment contracts or regulate employment agencies, to ensure the protection of Ethiopians seeking work or employed overseas; incorporate information on human trafficking and labor rights in Middle Eastern and other countries into pre-departure training provided to migrant workers; engage Middle Eastern governments on improving protections for Ethiopian workers; partner with local NGOs to increase the level of services available to trafficking victims returning from overseas, including allocating funding to enable the continuous operation of either a government or NGO-run shelter; improve the productivity of the national anti-trafficking taskforce; and launch a national anti-trafficking awareness campaign at the local and regional levels.

Prosecution

The Government of Ethiopia maintained its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts during the reporting period, but its efforts continued to focus wholly on transnational trafficking, with little evidence that the government investigated or prosecuted sex trafficking or internal labor trafficking cases. Ethiopia prohibits sex and labor trafficking through criminal code Articles 596 (Enslavement), 597 (Trafficking in Women and Children), 635 (Traffic in Women and Minors), and 636 (Aggravation to the Crime). Article 635, which prohibits sex trafficking, prescribes punishments not exceeding five years’ imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent, though not commensurate with penalties prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. Articles 596 and 597 outlaw slavery and labor trafficking and prescribe punishments of five to 20 years’ imprisonment, penalties which are sufficiently stringent. Articles 597 and 635, however, lack a clear definition of human trafficking, do not include coverage for crimes committed against adult male victims, and have rarely been used to prosecute trafficking offenses. Instead, Articles 598 (Unlawful Sending of Ethiopians to Work Abroad) and 571 (Endangering the Life of Another) are regularly used to prosecute cases of transnational labor trafficking. The absence of a clear legal definition of human trafficking in law impeded the Ethiopian Federal Police’s (EFP) and Ministry of Justice’s ability to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases effectively. Officials began drafting amendments to the Employment Exchange Services Proclamation No. 632/2009, which governs the work of approximately 400 licensed labor recruitment agencies; planned amendments will prohibit illegal recruitment and improve oversight of recruitment agencies.

During the reporting period, the EFP’s Human Trafficking and Narcotics Section, located within the Organized Crime Investigation Unit, investigated 135 suspected trafficking cases—compared to 133 cases in the previous reporting period. The federal government reported prosecuting 137 cases involving an unknown number of defendants relating to transnational labor trafficking under Article 598; of these cases, the Federal High Court convicted 106 labor traffickers—compared to 100 labor traffickers convicted in the previous reporting period. Officials indicated that these prosecutions included cases against private employment agencies and brokers, but did not provide details on these cases or the average length of applied sentences. Between June and July 2013, courts in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) reportedly heard 267 cases involving illegal smugglers and brokers. In addition, in Gamo Gofa, a zone within SNNPR, the zonal court convicted six traffickers in 2013—the first convictions in that area’s history. The EFP investigated allegations of complicity in trafficking-related crimes involving staff at several foreign diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa; the EFP arrested several staff at these missions.

In 2013, the government did not initiate any sex trafficking prosecutions, including for child prostitution. It also did not demonstrate adequate efforts to investigate and prosecute internal trafficking crimes or support and empower regional authorities to effectively do so. Regional law enforcement entities throughout the country continued to exhibit an inability to distinguish human trafficking from human smuggling and lacked capacity to properly investigate and document cases, as well as to collect and organize relevant data. In addition, the government remained limited in its ability to conduct international investigations. The government did not provide or fund trafficking-specific trainings for law enforcement officials, though police and other officials received training from international organizations with governmental support during the year. Seventy-seven judges also received training on both child labor and human trafficking. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of public officials allegedly complicit in human trafficking or trafficking-related offenses. For example, reports suggest local kabele or district level officials accepted bribes to change the ages on district-issued identification cards, enabling children to receive passports without parental consent; passport issuance authorities did not question the validity of such identification documents or the ages of applicants.

Protection

The government did not provide adequate assistance to trafficking victims—both those exploited internally or after migrating overseas—relying almost exclusively on international organizations and NGOs to provide services to victims without providing funding to these organizations. However, following the Saudi Arabian government’s closure of its border and massive deportation of migrant workers, officials worked quickly and collaboratively with international organizations and NGOs to repatriate and accommodate over 163,000 Ethiopian returnees from Saudi Arabia and several hundred from Yemen. The government did not report the number of victims it identified and assisted during the year. It remained without standard procedures for front-line responders to guide their identification of trafficking victims and their referral to care. During the reporting period, following the return of Ethiopians exploited overseas, the Bole International Airport Authority and immigration officials in Addis Ababa referred an unknown number of female victims to eleven local NGOs that provided care specific to trafficking victims. Typically such referrals were made only at the behest of self-identified victims of trafficking. One organization assisted 70 trafficking victims during the year—often from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, and Lebanon—providing shelter, food, clothing, medical and psychological treatment without government support. The government’s reliance on NGOs to provide direct assistance to most trafficking victims, while not providing financial or in-kind support to such NGOs, resulted in unpredictable availability of adequate care; many facilities lacked sustainability as they depended on project-based funding for continued operation. Despite its reliance on NGOs to provide victims care, the government at times created challenges for these organizations as a result of its 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation. This proclamation prohibits organizations that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that promote—among other things—human rights, the rights of children and persons with disabilities, and justice. These restrictions had a negative impact on the ability of some NGOs to adequately provide a full range of protective services, including assistance to victims in filing cases against their traffickers with authorities and conducting family tracing.

The government operated child protection units in the 10 sub-cities of Addis Ababa and six major cities, including Dire Dawa, Adama, Sodo, Arba Minch, Debre Zeit, and Jimma; staff at the units were trained in assisting the needs of vulnerable children, including potential trafficking victims. Healthcare and other social services were generally provided to victims of trafficking by government-operated hospitals in the same manner as they were provided to other victims of abuse. The government continued to jointly operate an emergency response center in the Afar Region jointly with the IOM, at which police and local health professionals provided medical and nutritional care, temporary shelter, transport to home areas, and counseling to migrants in distress, including trafficking victims. While officials reportedly encouraged victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers, there were no protective mechanisms in place to support their active role in these processes. For example, Ethiopian law does not prevent the deportation of foreign victims to countries where they might face hardship or retribution. There were no reports of trafficking victims being detained, jailed, or prosecuted in 2013. The limited nature of consular services provided to Ethiopian workers abroad continued to be a weakness in government efforts. Although Employment Exchange Services Proclamation No. 632/2009 requires licensed employment agencies to place funds in escrow to provide assistance in the event a worker’s contract is broken, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has never used these deposits to pay for victims’ transportation back to Ethiopia. Nonetheless, in one case, a young woman in domestic servitude was pushed off the fifth story of a building by her employer in Beirut; once the victim was out of the hospital, the Ethiopian Embassy assisted in her repatriation, and upon her arrival, officials referred her to an NGO for assistance.

While officials worked to facilitate the return of stranded migrants and detainees, many of whom are believed to be trafficking victims, its focus was solely emergency assistance, with minimal direct provision of or support for longer-term protective services necessary for adequate care of trafficking victims. In April 2013, through a bilateral agreement with Yemeni officials, the Ethiopian government facilitated the return of 618 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen after having failed to cross the Saudi Arabian border or been deported from Saudi Arabia. The government did not coordinate humanitarian assistance for these returnees upon their arrival in Addis Ababa. IOM coordinated subsequent returns, providing shelter at the IOM transit center in Addis Ababa, where returnees received medical care and psycho-social support while UNICEF conducted family tracing. The government did not provide financial or in-kind support to these IOM-led operations.

Beginning in November 2013, the Saudi Arabian government began massive deportation of foreign workers, who lacked proper visas or employment papers. The Ethiopian government led the repatriation and closely collaborated with IOM as part of an emergency response to the deportation of 163,000 Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia—many of whom were likely trafficking victims. Ethiopian diplomats worked to identify Ethiopian detainees stuck in 64 Saudi detention camps and various ministries met twice a week in an effort to return the migrants as rapidly as possible because of inhumane conditions within Saudi deportation camps. With a peak of 7,000 returning each day, the government partnered with IOM to provide food, emergency shelter, and medical care, and facilitate the deportees’ return to their home areas. Those requiring overnight stays in Addis Ababa were accommodated in IOM’s transit center and three transit facilities set up by the government; two of these were on government training campuses and one was rented at the government’s expense. The Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Section of the Ministry of Agriculture set up incident command centers at transit centers where representatives from all ministries addressed issues among returnees. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs provided blankets, food, and the approximate equivalent of $12,000 to a local NGO that assisted 87 severely traumatized trafficking victims identified among this population—believed to be only a mere fraction of the total number of victims needing comprehensive counseling and reintegration support among these deportees. Regional governments established committees to provide returnees basic assistance and planned to support their reintegration via the establishment of cooperatives and small businesses. For example, in Addis Ababa, 3,000 returnees received psychological support and 1,743 graduated from technical skills training. While the government contributed the equivalent of approximately $2.5 million towards repatriation costs, it requested reimbursement from IOM via donors for the equivalent of approximately $27,000 worth of food.

Prevention

The government made moderate efforts to prevent human trafficking. It coordinated both regional and national awareness raising campaigns. In 2013, nationally-owned media companies aired a drama series which portrayed the dangers of being trafficked. The Women’s Development Army, a government run program, raised awareness of the dangers of sending children to urban areas alone and of the potential for abuse when illegal brokers facilitate migration. Working-level officials from federal ministries and agencies met weekly as part of the technical working group on trafficking, led by MOLSA. The inter-ministerial taskforce on trafficking met quarterly and was extensively involved in responding to the deportation of Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia.

Officials acknowledged that licensed employment agencies were involved in facilitating both legal and illegal labor migration and, as a result, enacted a temporary ban on the legal emigration of low-skilled laborers in October 2013. The ban is set to remain in place until draft amendments to the employment exchange proclamation are enacted to allow for greater oversight of private employment agencies, to mandate the placement of labor attachés in Ethiopian embassies, and to establish an independent agency to identify and train migrant workers. The government monitored the activities of labor recruitment agencies and closed an unknown number of agencies that were identified as having sent workers into dangerous conditions. Officials acknowledged that the ban may encourage illegal migration; as a result, the EFP mobilized additional resources to monitor Ethiopia’s borders. In February 2014, the EFP intercepted 101 Ethiopians led by an illegal broker at the border with Sudan. In early November 2013, the government sent a delegation of officials to Saudi Arabia to visit various camps where Ethiopians were being held. Due to the poor conditions in the camps and numerous reports of abuse, the Ethiopian government acted to remove all of their citizens swiftly. During the year, a planned government-funded, six-week, pre-departure training for migrant workers was suspended due to lack of funding. Labor migration agreements negotiated in the previous reporting period with Jordan, Kuwait, and Qatar remained in place; the government negotiated new agreements in 2013 with the Governments of Djibouti, Sudan, the UAE, and Kenya. However, these agreements did not explicitly contain provisions to protect workers—such as by outlining mandatory rest periods, including grounds for filing grievances, and prohibiting recruitment fees.

In 2013, the government established the Office of Vital Records to implement a June 2012 law requiring registration of all births nationwide; however, the lack of a uniform national identification card continued to impede implementation of the law and allowed for the continued issuance of district-level identification cards that were subject to fraud. MOLSA’s inspection unit decreased in size during the reporting period from 380 to 291 inspectors as a result of high turnover rates and limited resources. In 2013, the government’s list of Activities Prohibited for Young Workers became law. MOLSA inspectors were not trained to use punitive measures upon identifying labor violations, and expressed concern that such efforts would deter foreign investment. The government provided Ethiopian troops with anti-trafficking training prior to their deployment abroad on international peacekeeping missions, though such training was conducted by a foreign donor.

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/countries/2014/226721.htm#.VKOCop-RPe0.facebook

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Stop aid to Tyrants: It is time to a new development model April 14, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Facebook and Africa, Finfinnee, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Land Grabs in Africa, Opportunity Cost, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Poverty, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Theory of Development, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
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“Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.”-  http://time.com/23075/william-easterly-stop-sending-aid-to-dictators/

Traditional foreign aid often props up tyrants more than it helps the poor. It’s time for a new model.

Too much of America’s foreign aid funds what I call authoritarian development. That’s when the international community–experts from the U.N. and other bodies–swoop into third-world countries and offer purely technical assistance to dictatorships like Uganda or Ethiopia on how to solve poverty.

Unfortunately, dictators’ sole motivation is to stay in power. So the development experts may get some roads built, but they are not maintained. Experts may sink boreholes for clean water, but the wells break down. Individuals do not have the political rights to protest disastrous public services, so they never improve. Meanwhile, dictators are left with cash and services to prop themselves up–while punishing their enemies.

But there is another model: free development, in which poor individuals, asserting their political and economic rights, motivate government and private actors to solve their problems or to give them the means to solve their own problems.

Compare free development in Botswana with authoritarian development in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia in 2010, Human Rights Watch documented how the autocrat Meles Zenawi selectively withheld aid-financed famine relief from everyone except ruling-party members. Meanwhile democratic Botswana, although drought-prone like Ethiopia, has enjoyed decades of success in preventing famine. Government relief directed by local activists goes wherever drought strikes.
In the postwar period, countries such as Chile, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have successfully followed the path of free development–often in spite of international aid, not because of it. While foreign policy concerns have often led America to prop up dictatorial regimes, we need a new rule: no democracy, no aid. If we truly want to help the poor, we can’t accept the dictators’ false bargain: ignore our rights abuses, and meet the material needs of those we oppress. Instead, we must advocate that the poor have the same rights as the rich everywhere, so they can aid themselves.

Easterly is the co-director of New York University’s Development Research Institute and author of The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.

Read  further at original source@
http://time.com/23075/william-easterly-stop-sending-aid-to-dictators/

 

As protestors from Kiev to Khartoum to Caracas take to the streets against autocracy, a new book from economist William Easterly reminds us that Western aid is too often on the wrong side of the battle for freedom and democracy.  In The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the PoorEasterly slams thedevelopment community for supporting autocrats, not democrats, in the name of helping the world’s poorest. Ignoring human rights abuses and giving aid to oppressive regimes, he maintains, harms those in need and in many ways “un-develops” countries.

The Tyranny of Experts takes on the notion that autocracies deliver stronger economic growth than freer societies.  Easterly argues that when economic growth occurs under autocratic regimes, it is more often achieved at the local level in spite of the regime’s efforts.  In some instances, growth under autocracies can be attributed to relative increases in freedoms.  He points to China as an example of this, attributing the country’s phenomenal growth to its adoption of greater personal and economic freedoms, especially compared to the crippling Maoist policies of the past.

Easterly also rejects the myth that dictators are dependable and that a certain level of oppression should be overlooked for the sake of economic growth and overall prosperity. Most recently, the violence and chaos following the 2011 Arab uprisings has made some nostalgic for the stable, if undemocratic, governments that kept civil unrest in check, allowing for a measure of economic development to take hold. Easterly stresses that instability and tumult in the wake of ousting a dictator is not the fault of an emerging democracy, but instead an understandable result of years of autocratic rule. The answer is not to continue to support autocrats in the name of stability, but rather to start the inevitably messy process of democratization sooner.

Easterly is of course not the first to call attention to the importance of prioritizing rights and freedoms in the development agenda. Scholars from Amartya Sen to more recently, Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont, have also advocated for a rights-based approach to development. In Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons From Democratic Transitions, my coauthors and I similarly found that economic growth and political freedom go hand-in-hand.

Still, the hard questions remain: how to help those without economic and political freedoms?  And when should donors walk away from desperately poor people because their government is undemocratic? Easterly argues that the donor community should draw the line with far more scrutiny than it does today – not just at the obvious cases, such as North Korea, but with other undemocratic countries, such as Ethiopia, where human rights abuses are rampant. He debunks the notion that aid can be “apolitical,” arguing that it is inherently political: giving resources to a government allows it to control and allocate (or withhold) resources as it sees fit. The aid community should focus on ways to help oppressed populations without helping their oppressors. For example, scholarship programs, trade, and other people-to-people exchanges can give opportunities to people in need. At the very least, Easterly argues, development actors should not praise oppressive regimes or congratulate them on economic growth they did not create.

Rather than being seduced by “benevolent dictators,” Easterly urges donors to focus their energy on “freedom loving” governments that need help. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a step in the right direction but, as Easterly pointed out during the CFR meeting, MCC’s approach is undermined by other U.S. aid agencies, such as USAID, that continue to assist countries even when they don’t meet certain good governance and human rights standards.

Easterly also emphasizes the need for aid organizations to be more transparent about where their money is going. Robert Zoellick made strides in this direction during his tenure as World Bank president. But more recent developments suggest that the Bank still has a way to go in becoming more open and accountable.  (Easterly noted that an initial invitation to speak about The Tyranny of Experts at the World Bank was later rescinded for “scheduling reasons.”) http://blogs.cfr.org/development-channel/2014/03/14/helping-the-oppressed-not-the-oppressors/#cid=soc-facebook-at-blogs-helping_the_oppressed_not_the_-031414

No democracy, no aid

 

 

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201403190105-0023568

 

 

March 26, 2014 (The Seattle Times) — SOMEHOW — probably my own fault — I have wound up on Bill Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists. Gates singled me out by name in his annual 2014 letter to his foundation as an “aid critic” spreading harmful myths about ineffective aid programs.

I actually admire Gates for his generosity and advocacy for the fight againstglobal poverty through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. We just disagree about how to end poverty throughout the world.

Gates believes poverty will end by identifying technical solutions. My research shows that the first step is not identifying technical solutions, but ensuring poor people’s rights.

Gates concentrates his foundation’s efforts on finding the right fixes to the problems of the world’s poor, such as bed nets to prevent malarial mosquito bites or drought-tolerant varieties of corn to prevent famine. Along with official aid donors, such as USAID and the World Bank, the foundation works together with local, generally autocratic, governments on these technical solutions.

Last year, Gates cited Ethiopia in a Wall Street Journal guest column as an example, a country where he described the donors and government as setting “clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach.”

This approach, Gates said, “helps us to deliver tools and services to everybody who will benefit.” Gates then gives credit for progress to the rulers. When the tragically high death rates of Ethiopian children fell from 2005 to 2010, Gates said this was “in large part thanks to” such a measurement-driven program by Ethiopia’s autocrat Meles Zenawi, who had ruled since 1991. Gates later said Meles’ death in August 2012 was “a great loss for Ethiopia.”

Do autocratic rulers like Meles really deserve the credit?

Gates’ technocratic approach to poverty, combining expert advice and cooperative local rulers, is a view that has appealed for decades to foundations and aid agencies. But if technical solutions to poverty are so straightforward, why had these rulers not already used them?

The technical solutions have been missing for so long in Ethiopia and other poor countries because autocrats are more motivated to stay in power than to fix the problems of poverty. Autocracy itself perpetuates poverty.

Meles violently suppressed demonstrations after rigged elections in 2005. He even manipulated donor-financed famine relief in 2010 to go only to his own ruling party’s supporters. The donors failed to investigate this abuse after its exposure by Human Rights Watch, continuing a long technocratic tradition of silence on poor people’s rights.

Rulers only reliably become benevolent when citizens can force them to be so — when citizens exert their democratic rights.

Our own history in the U.S. shows how we can protest bad government actions and reward good actions with our rights to protest and to vote. We won’t even let New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie get away with a traffic jam on a bridge.

Such democratic rights make technical fixes happen, and produce a far better long-run record onreducing poverty, disease and hunger than autocracies. We saw this first in the now-rich countries, which are often unfairly excluded from the evidence base.

Some developing countries such as Botswana had high economic growth through big increases in democratic rights after independence. Botswana’s democrats prevented famines during droughts, unlike the regular famines during droughts under Ethiopia’s autocrats.

Worldwide, the impressive number of developing countries that have shifted to democracy includes successes such as Brazil, Chile, Ghana, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as former Soviet Bloc countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia.

If the democratic view of development is correct, the lessons for Gates are clear: Don’t give undeserved credit and praise to autocrats. Don’t campaign for more official aid to autocrats. Redirect aid to democrats. If the democratic view is wrong, I do deserve to be on Gates’ list of the world’s most misguided economists.

http://ayyaantuu.com/africa/guest-the-flaw-in-bill-gates-approach-to-ending-global-poverty/

Related findings:

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/04/09/357842/britain-funds-criminals-in-ethiopia/?fb_action_ids=621424617949652&fb_action_types=og.likes

 

The UK government is providing financial aid to human rights abusers in Ethiopia through funding training paramilitaries, who perpetrate summary killings, rape and torture in the impoverished African country, local media reported.

Through its foreign aid budget, the UK government provides financial support to an Ethiopian government security force known as the “special police” as part of its “peace and development programme”, which would cost up to £15 million in five years, The Guardian reported. 

The Department for International Development warned in a leaked document of the “reputational risks” of working with organizations that are “frequently cited in human rights violationallegations”, according to the report. 

The Ethiopian government’s counter-insurgency campaign in Ogaden, a troubled region largely populated by ethnic Somalis is being enforced by the 14,000-strong special police. 

This is while police forces are repeatedly accused by Human Rights Watch of serious human rights abuses. 

Claire Beston, the Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher, said it was highly concerning that Britain was planning to work with the paramilitary force.

 

In Ethiopia 40.2% of population are undernourished and the country is one of the world’s 10 hungriest countries April 2, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Free development vs authoritarian model, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Ogaden, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Poverty, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia.
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  • There are over 870 million people in the world who are hungry right now. I’m not talking about could use a snack before lunch hungry, not even didn’t have time for breakfast hungry, but truly, continually, hungry. Of these 870 million people, it’s been estimated by the World Food Programme that 98% live in developing countries, countries that perversely produce most of the world’s food stocks. So why is this the case?
  • In Ethiopia an alarming 40.2% of population are undernourished.The 2011 Horn of Africa drought left 4.5 million people in Ethiopia in need of emergency food assistance.  Pastoralist areas in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia were most severely affected by the drought.  At the same time, cereal markets experienced a supply shock, and food prices rose substantially, resulting in high food insecurity among poor people.  By the beginning of 2012, the overall food security situation had stabilized thanks to the start of the Meher harvest after the June-to-September rains  resulting in improved market supply — and to sustained humanitarian assistance. While the number of new arrivals in refugee camps has decreased significantly since the height of the Horn of Africa crisis, Ethiopia still continues to receive refugees from Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. The Humanitarian Requirements Document issued by the government and humanitarian partners in September 2012 estimates that 3.76 million people require relief food assistance from August to December 2012. The total net emergency food and non-food requirement amounts to US$189,433,303. Ethiopia remains one of the world’s least developed countries, ranked 174 out of 187 in the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index.

Read more @ http://www.globalcitizen.org/Content/Content.aspx?id=d7f0ac9b-e3a3-4233-8103-0348bb35e127

Ethiopia: Farmer gets legal aid from UK to sue Britain for giving aid to the brutal regime of Ethiopia March 30, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa Rising, Aid to Africa, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Ethnic Cleansing, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kambata, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group Australia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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An Ethiopian farmer has been given legal aid in the UK to sue Britain – because he claims millions of pounds sent by the UK to his country is supporting a brutal regime that has ruined his life.
He says UK taxpayers’ money – £1.3 billion over the five years of the coalition Government – is funding a despotic one-party state in his country that is forcing thousands of villagers such as him from their land using murder, torture and rape.
The landmark case is highly embarrassing for the Government, which has poured vast amounts of extra cash into foreign aid despite belt-tightening austerity measures at home.
Prime Minister David Cameron claims the donations are a mark of Britain’s compassion.
But the farmer – whose case is set to cost tens of thousands of pounds – argues that huge sums handed to Ethiopia are breaching the Department for International Development’s (DFID) own human rights rules.
He accuses the Government of devastating the lives of some of the world’s poorest people rather than fulfilling promises to help them. The case comes amid growing global concern over Western aid propping up corrupt and repressive regimes.
If the farmer is successful, Ministers might have to review major donations to other nations accused of atrocities, such as Pakistan and Rwanda – and it could open up Britain to compensation claims from around the world.
Ethiopia, a key ally in the West’s war on terror, is the biggest recipient of British aid, despite repeated claims from human rights groups that the cash is used to crush opposition.
DFID was served papers last month by lawyers acting on behalf of ‘Mr O’, a 33-year-old forced to abandon his family and flee to a refugee camp in Kenya after being beaten and tortured for trying to protect his farm.
He is not seeking compensation but to challenge the Government’s approach to aid. His name is being withheld to protect his wife and six children who remain in Ethiopia.
‘My client’s life has been shattered by what has happened,’ said Rosa Curling, the lawyer handling the case. ‘It goes entirely against what our aid purports to stand for.’

Read more @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592534/Is-farcical-use-taxpayers-money-Ethiopian-gets-legal-aid-UK-sue-giving-aid-Ethiopia.html

Africa: Legacy of Pre-colonial Empires and Colonialism March 13, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Afaan Publication, Africa, Africa Rising, African Beat, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Ancient African Direct Democracy, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dhaqaba Ebba, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, Hadiya, Hadiya and the Omo Valley, Haile Fida, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kemetic Ancient African Culture, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Language and Development, Nubia, Ogaden, OMN, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromia Support Group, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Artists, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo Sport, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Poverty, Self determination, Sidama, Sirna Gadaa, South Sudan, Specialization, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Oldest Living Person Known to Mankind, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa, Tyranny, Youth Unemployment.
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‘Our knowledge of the nature of identity relations in pre-colonial Africa is less than complete. However, there is little doubt that many parts of the continent were torn apart by various wars, during that era. Many of the pre-colonial wars revolved around state formation, empire building, slave raids, and control over resources and trade routs. The slave raiding and looting empires and kingdoms, including those of the 19th century, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss in detail the nature of pre-colonial empires in Africa. The examples of the Abyssinian Empire and the Mahdiyya state in Sudan provide a glimpse of the impacts of pre-colonial empires on the prevailing problems in inter-identity relations. The Abyssinian Empire, for example, is credited for creating the modern Ethiopian state during the second half of the 19th century and defending it from European colonialism. However, it also left behind a deeply divided country where the populations in the newly incorporated southern parts of the country were ravaged by slave raids and lootings and, in many cases, reduced into landless tenants, who tilled the land for northern landlords (Pankhurst, 1968). The Empire also established a hierarchy of cultures where the non-Abyssinian cultures in the newly incorporated territories were placed in a subordinate position. There are claims, for instance, that it was not permissible to publish, preach, teach or broadcast in Oromiya [Afaan Oromo] (language of the Oromo people) in Ethiopia until the end of the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie (Baxter, 1978, 228). It requires a great deal of sensitivity to teach Ethiopian history in the country’s schools, since the empire-builders of the 19th century are heroes to some identities while they are viewed as villains who brought destruction and oppression by others. Similarly, Sudan’s Mahdiyya state, which professed Arab identity and was supported by slave raiding communities, left behind complex scars in inter-identity relations, which still plague the country (Francis Deng, 2010).’ pp 10-12

Diversity Management in Africa: Findings from the African Peer Review Mechanism
and a Framework for Analysis and Policy-Making , 2011.

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/publications/3-diversity-management.pdf

Related articles:

No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the cruelty of the TPLF/EPRDF regime.
A country is not about its leaders but of its people. It goes without saying that the people are the symbolic mirror of their nation. That is exactly why foreigners particularly the development partners assess and evaluate a nation through its people. In other words, a happy people are citizen of not only a peaceful and happy nation but one which accepts the principles of democracy, rule of law and human and people’s right. On the contrast, heartbroken, timid and unhappy people are subjects of dictatorial, callous and brutal regimes. Such people are robbed of their humanity and identity through systematic harassment, intimidation, unlawful detention, extra judicial killing and disappearances by the leaders who transformed themselves into creators of human life or lords. The largest oromo nation in Ethiopia through the 22years of TPLF/EPRDF repressive leadership has turned into a nation sobbing in the dark. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. All it takes is a closer look at any Oromos in the face. The story is the same on all the faces: fear, uncertainty, and an unquenchable thirst for freedom. The disturbing melody of the sobs in the dark echo the rhythmic desire to break free from TPLF dictatorial shackles.
The Horn African region of the Ethiopia is home to just 90 million people, it is also home to one of the world’s most ruthless, and eccentric, tyrannical regime .TPLF/EPRDF is ruling the nation particularly the Oromos with an iron fist for the past two decades and yet moving on. Today dissents in Oromia are frequently harassed, arrested, tortured, murdered and put through sham trials, while the people are kept in a constant state of terror through tight media control, as repeatedly reported by several human rights groups. It has been long time since the Woyane government bans most foreign journalists and human rights organizations and NGOs from operating in the country for the aim of hiding its brutal governance from the world. While the people in Ethiopia are being in terrorized by TPLF gangs, the western powers are yet looking at the country as a very strategic place to fight the so called terrorism in horn African region. But In today’s Ethiopia; as an Oromo, No one can speak out against the dictatorship in that country. You can be killed. You can be arrested. You can be kept in prison for a long time. Or you can disappear in thin air. Nobody will help. Intimidations, looting Oromo resources and evicting Oromos from their farm lands have become the order of the day everywhere across Oromia.
No Oromo has constitutional or legal protection from the killing machinery of the TPLF securities. The recent murdering of Tesfahun Chemeda in kallitti prison is a case book of the current Circumstance.
The So called EPRDF constitution, as all Ethiopian constitutions had always been under the previous Ethiopian regimes, is prepared not to give legal protections to the Oromo people, but to be used against the Oromo people. Prisons in the Ethiopia have become the last home to Oromo nationalists, human right activists or political opponent of the regime. Yet the international community is either not interested or have ignored the numerous Human Right abuses in Ethiopia simply because, they think there is stability in the country. Is there no stability in North Korea? I don’t understand why the international community playing double standard with dining and wining with Ethiopian brutal dictators while trying to internationally isolate other dictators. For crying out loud, all dictators are dangerous to humanity and shaking their hands is even taboo much more doing business with them.
Without the support of the USA and EU, major pillars of the regime would have collapsed. Because one reason why TPLF is sustaining in power is through the budgetary support and development funding of the EU, the United States and offered diplomatic validation by the corrupted African Union. Foremost, the US and EU as the largest partners are responsible for funding the regime’s sustainability and its senseless brutality against ordinary citizens. They would have the capacity to disrupt the economic might of this regime without negatively impacting ordinary citizens, and their failure to do so is directly responsible for the loss of many innocent lives, the torture of many and other grievous human rights abuses. Helping dictators while they butcher our people is what I cannot understand. What I want to notify here is, on the way of struggling for freedom it is very essential to call on the western powers to stop the support they are rendering to dictators in the name of fighting the so called terrorism in Horn Africa, otherwise it will remain an obstacle for the struggle.
Holding elections alone does not make a country democratic. Where there is no an independent media, an independent judiciary (for the rule of law), an independent central bank, an independent electoral commission (for a free and fair vote); neutral and professional security forces; and an autonomous (not a rubber stamp) parliament, no one should expect that the pseudo election will remove TPLF from power. The so-called “Ethiopian constitution” is a façade that is not worth the paper which it is written on. It does not impose the rule of law; and does not effectively limit governmental power. No form of dissent is tolerated in the country.
As my understanding and as we have observed for more than two decades, it is unthinkable to remove TPLF regime without a military struggle or without popular Uprisings. They are staying, staying, and staying in power – 10, 20, 22 and may be 30 or 40 years. They have developed the mentality of staying on power as their own family and ethnic property. So that they are grooming their clans, their wives, sons, cats, dogs and even goats to succeed them. They are simply the worst mafia regime and the most politically intolerant in the Africa. It is impossible to remove them electorally because we have been witnessing that the electoral system is fundamentally flawed and indomitably skewed in favor them. Every gesture and every words coming from TPLF gangs in the last several years have confirmed that to remove them by election is nothing but like to dream in daylight.
The late dictator “Meles Zenawi” had once said that TPLF “shall rule for a thousand years”, asserting that elections SHALL NOT remove his government. He also said: “the group who want the power must go the forest and fight to achieve power”. Therefore, taking part in Pseudo election will have no impact on reducing the pain of the oppressed people. Evidently, the opposition and civil societies have been rendered severely impotent, as any form of dissent attracts the ultimate penalty in Ethiopia. Furthermore, we are watching that this regime is intensifying its repression of democracy each day, and ruling strictly through the instrument of paralyzing fear and the practice of brutality against ordinary citizens.
As we are learning from history, Dictators are not in a business of allowing election that could remove them from their thrones. The only way to remove this TPLF dictatorship is through a military force, popular uprising, or a rebel insurgency: Egypt (2011), Ivory Coast (2011), Tunisia (2011), Libya (2011), Rwanda (1994), Somalia (1991), Liberia (1999), etc. A high time to fire up resistance to the TPLF killings and resource plundering in Oromia, is now. To overthrow this brutal TPLF dictatorship and to end the 22 years of our pain, it is a must to begin the resistance with a nationwide show of defiance including distributing postures of resistance against their brutality across Oromia and the country. Once a national campaign of defiance begins, it will be easy to see how the TPLF regime will crumble like a sand castle. Besides, we the Oromo Diaspora need to work on strengthening the struggle by any means we can. It is the responsibility of the Diaspora to advance the Oromo cause, and at the same time to determine how our efforts can be aided by the international community. As well, it is a time for every freedom thirsty Oromo to take part in supporting our organization Oromo liberation Front by any means we can.
These days, TPLF regime is standing on one foot and removing it is easier than it appears. Let all oppressed nations organize for the final push to liberty. The biggest fear of Woyane regime is people being organized and armed with weapons of unity, knowledge, courage, vigilance, and justice. What is needed is a unified, dedicated struggle for justice and sincerity. Oromo’s are tired of the dying, the arrests, the detentions, the torture, the brutality and the forced disappearances. This should come to an end! DEATH FOR TPLF LEADERES ,.long live FOR OROMIYA
_____________________________________
The author, ROBA PAWELOS, can be reached by bora1273@yahoo.com
http://oromiatimes.org/2014/03/13/no-oromo-has-constitutional-or-legal-protection-from-the-cruelty-of-the-tplfeprdf-regime-roba-pawelos/
‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”. Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.
If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.
Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.’…………………………………………………

A number of African governments accused of human rights abuses have turned to public relations companies to salvage the image of their countries.

The BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine asked two experts whether “reputation management” is mostly a cover-up for bad governance.

NO: Thor Halvorssen is president of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum.

Thor Halvorssen has published extensively on the subject of lobbying
For Public Relations (PR) companies and their government clients, “reputation management” can be a euphemism of the worst sort. In many cases across Africa, it often means whitewashing the human rights violations of despotic regimes with fluff journalism and, just as easily, serving as personal PR agents for rulers and their corrupt family members.

But they also help governments drown out criticism, often branding dissidents, democratic opponents and critics as criminals, terrorists or extremists.

Today, with the preponderance of social media, anyone with an opinion, a smart phone and a Facebook account can present their views to an audience potentially as large as any major political campaign can attract.

This has raised citizen journalism to a level of influence unknown previously. Yet, this communication revolution has also resulted in despotic governments smearing not just human rights advocates, but individuals with blogs as well as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook accounts. This undermines the power and integrity of social media.

And as PR firms help regimes “astroturf” with fake social media accounts, they do more damage than just muddling legitimate criticism with false comments and tweets linking back to positive content – they also make the general public sceptical about social media.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations. But PR professionals who spin for them should be exposed as amoral.

It is no surprise that ruthless governments that deny their citizens basic freedoms would wish to whitewash their reputations”

For instance, Qorvis Communications, a PR and lobbying firm in the United States, represents Equatorial Guinea – among other allegedly repressive governments – for a reported $55,000 a month. The firm is said to have amassed more than $100 million by helping their clients with “reputation management”.

By burying opposing public opinions or spinning false, positive stories of stability and economic growth on behalf of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s brutal regime, the firm is seriously hampering the progress of human rights in the country.

In response, Qorvis says that customers with troublesome human rights records are a very small part of its client base, and that these governments are using Qorvis as a means to be heard in the “court of public opinion”.

Washington Media Group, another American PR firm, was hired in 2010 by the Tunisian government. The autocracy was subsequently described in various media outlets as a “stable democracy” and a “peaceful, Islamic country with a terrific story to share with the world”. Only after the regime’s snipers began picking off protesters did Washington Media Group end its $420,000 contract.

‘Limited engagement’
When a PR firm spins a dictator’s story, it does not just present a different viewpoint, as the firm might want you to believe; rather, it undermines the resources from which people can draw opinions. If a website or magazine commends the government, how is an average citizen to know for certain if the information is accurate or true?

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Teodoro Obiang Nguema is accused of leading a brutal regime in Equatorial Guinea
Many firms that operate, or have done, on behalf of kleptocracies in Africa are based not only in the US but also in the United Kingdom. They include Bell Pottinger (Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt), Brown Lloyd James (Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya) and Hill & Knowlton (Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda).

There are likely many more that continue to do this work under the cover of corporate secrecy. When firms get caught or criticised for their activities many say it is “limited engagement” for only a few months or that the task only involved “tourism” or “economic progress”.

If, for instance, a firm served the questionable government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo they would probably insist they are “consultants” helping to create “economic opportunity” and, no doubt, providing a “guiding hand” to the current president as he improves the lot of the Congolese poor.

Yet the spin doctors most probably ignore the fact that President Joseph Kabila’s security forces killed Floribert Chebeya, arguably the DR Congo’s leading human rights defender, and likely “disappeared” his driver (he is still missing). Only after an international uproar were the policemen directly responsible for the killing brought to justice.

Meanwhile, political opponents routinely disappear, journalists are arrested for criticising the government and any comprehensive human rights report contains appalling anecdotes and painful analysis about a country with little judicial independence and respect for the rule of law.

PR agents do not create “economic opportunities” – they alter reality so that certain deals and foreign aid can flow faster and in larger quantities – all the while being rewarded handsomely.

‘Briefcase bandits’
Africa’s spin doctors (mostly American and European) deliberately choose to represent what the Free Africa Foundation’s George Ayittey so refreshingly describes as “Swiss-bank socialists”, “crocodile liberators”, “quack revolutionaries”, and “briefcase bandits”.

Mr Ayittey – a former political prisoner from Ghana – pulls us a lot closer to the truth.

If the mainstream media adopts Mr Ayittey’s language, the free governments of the world would be forced to face the truth and take necessary steps to tie their aid and trade deals to democratic reform for the benefit of Africa’s population.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we must combat the work of firms that provide “reputation management” to oppressive states by exposing their role in abetting injustice.

Those firms may want to consider atoning by volunteering for the civil society groups, human rights’ defenders and economic opportunity organisations working to make Africa free and prosperous.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15109351

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The tyranny of experts vs the real cause of poverty:The unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights March 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Poverty, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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How development experts have empowered dictators and helped to trap millions and millions of people in poverty

“Ethiopia, for example, reaps money and plaudits from development giants such as the Gates Foundation while remaining a bastion of authoritarian rule. Economic growth and other positive development outcomes in such states are a mirage, the author argues. His central claim is that no matter how much international aid is poured in, the lives of citizens won’t durably improve without freedom.” -SARAH CHAYES, Book Review, Wall Street Journal

‘The international professionals perpetrate an illusion that poverty is purely a technical problem, distracting attention away from the real cause: the unchecked power of the state against poor people without rights. The dictators whom experts are advising are not the solution — they are the problem. The individual economic and political rights crucial to development include all those we take for granted at home, such as the right to your own property, the right to trade with whomever you wish, the right to protest bad government actions (don’t burn down our houses!), and the right to vote for politicians who do beneficial actions (clean our water!). Technical experts in development sometimes concede some rights and deny others, which disrespects rights for what they are: unalienable. The Uganda story shows the Mubende farmers’ lack of both economic rights (rights to their own property) and political rights (prevented at gunpoint from protesting). The tyranny of experts that neglects rights is first of all a moral tragedy. It reflects a double standard in which we respect rights for the world’s rich — is it conceivable that we would forget these farmers if the story had happened in Ohio? — but not for the poor.
The technocratic approach of dictators advised by experts is also a pragmatic tragedy, because it does not actually work to end poverty.  New research by economists on history and modern experience suggest that free individuals with political and economic rights make up remarkably successful problem-solving systems. Such systems based on rights reward a decentralized array of people: Economic entrepreneurs with property rights get to keep the rewards of solving the problems of their consumers. Political entrepreneurs at many government levels and in many departments get rewarded with a longer tenure in office if they solve the citizens’ problems, and they are driven out of office if they don’t. …Focusing on rights yields two perspectives on how development success happens. First, societies that have already attained individual freedom are likely to have already escaped poverty. Economists have gone back deep into our own history to confirm this widely-accepted story for how we in the West escaped our own poverty, but we seem unwilling to consider that the same story could play out in the rest of the world. Second, societies in which there is a positive change in in freedom will likely see a positive change in prosperity (ergo, rapid economic growth and fall in poverty). So what should we do about rights for the poor? Possible starting places for Western policy changes are to not fund dictators, to not support projects that torch farms, to not break promises to investigate rights abuses, and to not let us forget such abuses and missing investigations. But obsessing too much on the “what should we do?” question should not hand the agenda back to the same technical experts who have showed so little interest in the rights of the poor in the first place. The danger of such a tyranny of experts is illustrated by a long history of politicians using technical poverty debates as an excuse to avoid debating rights for the poor. The danger of such a tyranny of experts is illustrated by a long history of politicians using technical poverty debates as an excuse to avoid debating rights for the poor.’ – Read the details and analysis at the original source: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/03/10/the_new_tyranny

Book Review: ‘The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor’ by William Easterly

dictatorsThe notion of development assistance was born in a period of unabashed racism.

By SARAH CHAYES

March 7, 2014 (The Wall Street Journal) — Why does poverty persist across so much of the world, despite billions of dollars in international aid and the efforts of armies of development professionals? That is the question that William Easterly explores in “The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor.” His answer: a lack of respect for liberty—not just on the part of governments of impoverished countries but also, more provocatively, on the part of the would-be developers themselves.

Mr. Easterly, an economics professor at New York University, joins other students of international aid in decrying the preference for technical fixes when the political structures of recipient states are built to deny political participation and economic opportunity to most of their citizens. “The technocratic illusion,” he writes, “is that poverty results from a shortage of expertise, whereas poverty is really about a shortage of rights.”

Ethiopia, for example, reaps money and plaudits from development giants such as the Gates Foundation while remaining a bastion of authoritarian rule. Economic growth and other positive development outcomes in such states are a mirage, the author argues. His central claim is that no matter how much international aid is poured in, the lives of citizens won’t durably improve without freedom.

Mr. Easterly recalls that the very notion of development assistance was born in a period of unabashed racism, out of a conjunction of two opposing demands. One was the need for late colonial empires to provide a different rationale than racial superiority for their continued domination of the Third World. The other was the desire of Third World leaders to legitimize seizing authoritarian power themselves.

Touting the virtues of development designed by “experts” and delivered by autocrats proved to be a useful strategy for both camps. “Sun Yat-sen,” writes Mr. Easterly of China in 1924, “suggested the idea of technocratic development to resist European imperialism in China, while at the same time in Versailles, the Allies suggested technocratic development to expand European imperialism in Africa.” And, a few decades later, “the new African leaders found state-led technocratic development to be a justification for their own aspirations to unchecked power.”

This marriage of convenience may have sabotaged democracy’s chances of emerging from the rubble of empire, Mr. Easterly suggests, drawing on evidence from China, Colombia and West Africa. The bias in favor of technocratic fixes, and against fundamental political reform, has certainly helped enable autocratic regimes, which, now as then, capture development aid like any other rent. In Yemen, for example, before counterterrorism security cooperation grew to its current scale, aid was a key source of funding for the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.

Mr. Easterly’s alternative to the autocrat-driven, technocratic model of development is simple: Apply abroad what we know has worked at home—bottom-up solutions, a free flow of ideas leading to innovative experiments and democratic politics. His positive examples aren’t drawn from the international-assistance realm but rather from the organic emergence of economic prosperity in such environments as 12th-century Italian city-states or the Korean auto industry. Hyundai’s rise is presented as an example of an efficient division of labor engineered almost as a matter of course by free-market forces. Unable to farm his infertile land, Chung Ju Yung, who liked tinkering with cars, set up as a mechanic, thereby exchanging “his problem-solving talents . . . for the problem-solving talents of others in producing food for him.” He would go on to found Hyundai.

Mr. Easterly is hardly the first to criticize the international-development community for its avoidance of politics and fixation on technical solutions. But his belabored insistence that freedom and democracy are the only reliable paths to economic prosperity is too general and thus not very helpful for anyone thinking seriously about how to reform development assistance. While he is right to castigate the many aid efforts undertaken in autocratic contexts, few serious Western development professionals today actively promote dictatorship. Indeed, acceptance of much of Mr. Easterly’s reasoning has driven, from the 1990s on, a sharp increase in support for grass-roots development and democratization efforts.

But Mr. Easterly fails to acknowledge such evolutions. And he thereby misses an opportunity to highlight the obstacles that this approach, in turn, has encountered: the tendency of such grass-roots organizations to respond to the desires of donors rather than their own constituencies, their inability to live up to outsize expectations or, when successful, their tendency to suffer repression at the hands of authoritarian states. Nor does Mr. Easterly contend in detail with the fundamental question raised by his book: What explains the persistence of such a “momentous double standard on rights for the West and not for the Rest?”

Some explanations do emerge in passing. Geostrategic priorities, for example, have impelled the U.S. to use foreign aid to reward autocratic allies in the fights against Communism and terrorism. Racism, blatant or otherwise, has made Westerners doubt non-white non-Westerners’ desire for rights and ability to handle them. The desire to self-perpetuate has also been a powerful motive to stick to the status quo for an industry as large as international assistance—a motive Mr. Easterly doesn’t emphasize. Challenging entrenched power structures is a good way to get thrown out of a country, as a number of democracy-promotion organizations recently learned in Egypt.

Apart from these gaps, and the book’s lack of explicit recommendations, its analysis raises some philosophical problems. It draws too sharp an opposition between individualism and collective values. By depicting a global “East” caught in a feedback loop of autocracy and “collectivist values,” Mr. Easterly falls into Samuel Huntingtonesque generalizations. Similarly, he seems to suggest that geography and climate predisposed the Southern Hemisphere to slave-based or extractive economies.

The generalizations, moreover, evade a lot of contrary nuance. The Nordic countries are widely seen as more respectful of community values than the U.S. or Britain. And many of their health and development outcomes outstrip ours. Some might argue that these are smaller, more homogeneous societies, but so are some of the negative examples of “collectivist values” that Mr. Easterly cites, such as the “Maghribi” network, a 10th-century Cairo-based Jewish trading community. And the world economic meltdown of 2008, with devastating development effects for tens of millions, was the result not of excessively collectivist values but the reverse. Poor development outcomes, in other words, aren’t only a matter of rights, as Mr. Easterly argues. At issue is also the distribution of power—justice as well as liberty.

The book’s argument about the power of freedom and democracy to beget development is made by way of a vast historical tableau. From the 12th-century Italian city-states, the narrative winds past the slave trade, expounds the virtues of migration, explores the ideas of Adam Smith and ruminates on the structure of technological innovation. Supporting anecdotes include a Senegalese religious trading community, the Korean automotive industry and an evolving Manhattan neighborhood.

It is hard to trust an author to command such a welter of detail. And indeed, the result is too often haphazard, self-contradictory or erroneous. For example, while the Maghribi traders are said to demonstrate self-sabotaging collectivist values, the Mourides, a modern Somali religious brotherhood that is organized along nearly the same principles, is cited to illustrate the virtues of migration. The Korean auto industry, depicted as embodying “the amazing potentials of specialization and trade,” emerged under an autocratic government applying protectionist laws.

By my count, finally, about 15% of Mr. Easterly’s text recaps what was just said or announces items from later chapters. Subheadings like “Another Key Moment in This Book” suggest an argument that isn’t tight enough to convince on its own merits. And that’s too bad. Mr. Easterly calls for a profound overhaul of the way powerful nations conceive of and implement aid—and, more important, of the broader foreign-policy decision-making of which aid is a component. That change is needed. It’s just not clear this book is crisp or cogent enough to help advance it.

Ms. Chayes is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

To buy this book Click Here

http://ayyaantuu.com/articles/book-review-the-tyranny-of-experts-economists-dictators-and-the-forgotten-rights-of-the-poor-by-william-easterly/

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and has the second largest population in Africa: Poverty means the health system is weak March 9, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Comparative Advantage, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Poverty, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Theory of Development, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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“In the early 80′s, Bob Geldof of the band called The Boomtown Rats saw in the news the massive famine engulfing the African country of Ethiopia. He felt guilty because he couldn’t believe that while the Western world was suffering from an abundance of wealth and food, a continent just below them were a people that did not have anything at all. He organized Band Aid, enlisting the help of other stars like Bono, George Michael and Sting, to raise funds for Africa through a song entitled “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Their counterparts in the United States followed suit, with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie writing a song called “We are the World.” They then banded together for Live Aid, that added stars like Madonna, Paul McCartney and Elton John in a two-continent concert. Yet, almost three decades after, Africa remains a veritable wasteland. Out of the 20 poorest countries in the world, 17 comes from the continent, including nine out of the top 10. Based on the different countries’ gross domestic product purchasing power parity, here are the 20 poorest countries in the world in 2013.”

http://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/location/the-20-poorest-countries-in-the-world-in-2013/7/

‘Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and has the second largest population in Africa. Poverty means the health system is weak, which means:
The average life expectancy is just 59
Out of every 40 women that go in to labour, one dies
Over a third of children are malnourished
90% of Ethiopians have poor health, a low level of education, and inadequate living conditions
Only 200 doctors are trained per year to serve a country with a population of over 80 million.
Ethiopia has suffered periodic droughts and famines, a long civil conflict in the 20th century, and a border war with Eritrea. This brought millions to the brink of starvation in the 1970s and 1980s.’
http://www.healthpovertyaction.org/where-we-work/africa/ethiopia/

About 29 per cent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Ethiopia ranks 174th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s human development index, and average per capita incomes are less than half the current sub-Saharan average.

Ethiopia has enormous potential for agricultural development. At present only about 25 per cent of its arable land is cultivated, and agriculture is dominated by subsistence rain fed farming, using few inputs and characterized by low productivity. The vast majority of farmers are smallholders. About 12.7 million smallholders produce 95 per cent of agricultural GDP. These farmers are extremely vulnerable to external shocks such as volatile global markets and drought and other natural disasters.

Smallholder farmers form the largest group of poor people in Ethiopia. More than half cultivate plots of 1 hectare or less and struggle to produce enough food to feed their households. A large number of poor households face a prolonged hunger season during the pre-harvest period. Herders, like farmers, are vulnerable to increasingly frequent drought, which can wipe out their livestock and assets and bring on severe poverty.

The persistent lack of rainfall is a major factor in rural poverty. Drought has become more frequent and severe throughout the country over the past decade, and the trend shows signs of worsening. The impact of drought is most severe for vulnerable households living in the pastoral areas of lowlands and the high-density parts of highlands.

In addition to their vulnerability to climatic conditions, poor rural people lack basic social and economic infrastructure such as health and education facilities, veterinary services and access to safe drinking water. Among the more specific causes of rural poverty in Ethiopia are:

• An ineffective and inefficient agricultural marketing system;
• Underdeveloped transport and communications networks;
• Underdeveloped production technologies;
• Limited access of rural households to support services;
• Environmental degradation;
• Lack of participation by rural poor people in decisions that affect their livelihoods.

The intensity of poverty varies at the household level in relation to the land’s size, quality and productivity, climate conditions and production technologies. Households headed by women are particularly vulnerable. Women are much less likely than men to receive an education or health benefits, or to have a voice in decisions affecting their lives. For women, poverty means more infant deaths, undernourished families, lack of education for children and other deprivations.

Ethiopia has an estimated 1.3 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Rural areas have low prevalence rates, but available data suggest that the incidence could increase in these areas. With the support of development partners, the government has embarked on major programmes to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS, and assist poor rural households in coping with the social and economic consequences of living with the disease.- IFAD

http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/country/home/tags/ethiopia

‘A Unicef report states that in Ethiopia there are at this moment 4.5 million orphans on a population of some 90 million. The 4.5 million means that 5 percent of the total population is an orphan. Orphans are in Ethiopia defined as children under 18 whose both parents died. They died of AIDS, untreated illnesses, hunger, draught and war.’

A Calculation: The ‘Orphan Crisis’ in Ethiopia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethiopia February 28, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, African Poor, Colonizing Structure, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Human Rights, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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Ethiopia:2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

By US  Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

27 February 2014

  • The most significant human rights problems included: restrictions on freedom of expression and association, including through arrests; detention; politically motivated trials; harassment; and intimidation of opposition members and journalists, as well as continued restrictions on print media. 
  • Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; allegations of torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and, at times, life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; allegations of abuses in the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; alleged interference in religious affairs; limits on citizens’ ability to change their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities; clashes between ethnic minorities; discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS; limits on worker rights; forced labor; and child labor, including forced child labor.
  • Impunity was a problem. The government, with some reported exceptions, usually did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.
  • Members of the security forces reportedly committed killings. On August 8, security forces in Addis Ababa detained more than one thousand Muslims participating in Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Authorities released most of the detainees shortly thereafter, but there were credible allegations some of the detainees died while in detention. There  continued to be reports of abuses, including killings, by the Somali Region Special Police.
  • A few domestic human rights groups operated, but with significant government restrictions. The government was generally distrustful and wary of domestic human rights groups and international observers. State-controlled media were critical of international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.
  • The CSO law prohibits charities, societies, and associations (NGOs or CSOs) that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that advance human and democratic rights or promote equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, genders, and religions; the rights of children and persons with disabilities; conflict resolution or reconciliation; or the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. The implementation of the law continued to result in the severe curtailment of NGO activities related to human rights. In July 2012 the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed concern that civil society space “has rapidly shrunk” since the CSO law’s enactment.
  • The country has more than 80 ethnic groups, of which the Oromo, at approximately 35 percent of the population, is the largest. The federal system drew boundaries roughly along major ethnic group lines. Most political parties remained primarily ethnically based.
  • Clashes between ethnic groups during the year resulted in injury and death. In January ethnic clashes broke out at Addis Ababa University reportedly due to anti-Oromo graffiti. The clashes resulted in injury to as many as 20 persons. 
  • The government, controlled by the ruling EPRDF, restricted media freedom and arrested opposition members. Constituent parties of the EPRDF conferred advantages upon their members; the parties directly owned many businesses and were broadly perceived to award jobs and business contracts to loyal supporters. Several opposition political parties reported difficulty in renting homes or buildings in which to open offices, citing visits by EPRDF members to the landlords to persuade or threaten them not to rent property to these parties. There were reports authorities had terminated the employment of teachers and other government workers if they belonged to opposition political parties.
  • According to sources, the ruling party via the Ministry of Education continued to give preference to students loyal to the party in assignments to postgraduate programs. Some university staff members commented that priority for employment after graduation in all fields was given to students who joined the party. Authorities limited teachers’ ability to deviate from official lesson plans. Numerous anecdotal reports suggested non-EPRDF members were more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and bypassed for promotions. There were unspecified reports of teachers not affiliated with the EPRDF being summarily dismissed for failure to attend unscheduled meetings. There continued to be a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from individuals in the academic community alleging bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion. According to multiple credible sources, teachers and high school students in grade 10 and above were required to attend training on the concepts of revolutionary democracy and EPRDF party ideology. 
  • The state-owned Ethio Telecom was the only internet service provider in the country. The government restricted access to the internet and blocked several websites, including blogs; opposition websites; and websites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF. The government also temporarily blocked news sites such as al-Jazeera. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo! were temporarily inaccessible at times. Several news blogs and websites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Addis Neger, Nazret, Ethiopian Review, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, Tensae Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Media Forum. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network providers that let users circumvent government screening of internet browsing and e-mail. According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 1.5 percent of individuals used the internet in 2012. In March, Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center at the University of Toronto, identified 25 countries, including Ethiopia, that host servers linked to FinFisher surveillance software. According to the report, “FinFisher has gained notoriety because it has been used in targeted attacks against human rights campaigners and opposition activists in countries with questionable human rights records.”
  • Estimates by human rights groups and diplomatic missions regarding the number of political prisoners varied. The government did not permit access by international human rights organizations.
  • All of the Ethiopian journalists, opposition members, and activists previously convicted and jailed under the antiterrorism proclamation remained in prison.
  • On January 8, the Federal Court of Cassation denied journalist Reyot Alemu’s appeal of her conviction on the charge of participating in the promotion or communication of a terrorist act. She was serving a five-year prison sentence.
  • On May 2, the Federal Supreme Court upheld the sentences of journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega and vice chairman of the opposition front Medrek Andualem Arage for terrorism and treason. In September 2012 the government announced it asked the Federal High Court to freeze the assets of Eskinder and Andualem while investigating whether their assets were used in conjunction with the commission of the crimes for which they were convicted. The court had not issued a decision by year’s end. 
  • The Federal Supreme Court upheld the 2012 convictions under the criminal code of Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa, two well-known political opposition figures from the Oromo ethnic group, for conspiracy to overthrow the government and conspiracy to incite unrest. The Supreme Court subsequently determined the Federal High Court did not consider mitigating circumstances and reduced Bekele’s sentence from eight years to three years and seven months. The Supreme Court also reduced Olbana’s sentenced from 13 to 11 years. Courts convicted 69 members of Oromo political opposition parties, charged separately in 2011 under the criminal code with “attacking the political or territorial integrity of the state.”

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm#

– See more at: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=220113&year=2013#wrapper

Ethiopia is a federal republic. The ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of four ethnically based parties, controls the government. In September 2012, following the death of former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, parliament elected Hailemariam Desalegn as prime minister. In national parliamentary elections in 2010, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won 545 of 547 seats to remain in power for a fourth consecutive five-year term. Although the relatively few international officials allowed to observe the elections concluded that technical aspects of the vote were handled competently, some also noted that an environment conducive to free and fair elections was not in place prior to the election. Authorities generally maintained control over the security forces, although Somali Region Special Police and local militias sometimes acted independently. Security forces committed human rights abuses.

The most significant human rights problems included: restrictions on freedom of expression and association, including through arrests; detention; politically motivated trials; harassment; and intimidation of opposition members and journalists, as well as continued restrictions on print media. On August 8, during Eid al-Fitr celebrations, security forces temporarily detained more than one thousand persons in Addis Ababa. The government continued restrictions on activities of civil society and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) imposed by the Charities and Societies Proclamation (the CSO law).

Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; allegations of torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and, at times, life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; allegations of abuses in the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; alleged interference in religious affairs; limits on citizens’ ability to change their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities; clashes between ethnic minorities; discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS; limits on worker rights; forced labor; and child labor, including forced child labor.

Impunity was a problem. The government, with some reported exceptions, usually did not take steps to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption.

Factions of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), an ethnically based, violent, and fragmented separatist group operating in the Somali Region, were responsible for abuses.

SECTION 1. RESPECT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE PERSON, INCLUDING FREEDOM FROM:
a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
Members of the security forces reportedly committed killings.

On August 8, security forces in Addis Ababa detained more than one thousand Muslims participating in Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Authorities released most of the detainees shortly thereafter, but there were credible allegations some of the detainees died while in detention.

There continued to be reports of abuses, including killings, by the Somali Region Special Police.

Scattered fighting continued between government forces – primarily regional government-backed militias – and elements of the ONLF. Clashes between ethnic groups resulted in injury and death.

b. Disappearance
There were several reported cases of disappearances of civilians after clashes between security forces and rebel groups.

Security forces detained at least 12 residents of Alamata town in the northern Tigray Region in January following protests against government plans to demolish illegal housing units. The whereabouts of the detainees remained unknown at year’s end.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, there were reports security officials tortured and otherwise abused detainees.

Authorities reportedly tortured Solomon Kebede, a columnist with Muslim Affairs magazine (see section 2.a.).

Sources widely believed police investigators often used physical abuse to extract confessions in Maekelawi, the central police investigation headquarters in Addis Ababa. Human Rights Watch reported abuses, including torture, occurred at Maekelawi. In an October report the NGO described beatings, stress positions, the hanging of detainees by their wrists from the ceiling, prolonged handcuffing, the pouring of water over detainees, verbal threats, and solitary confinement at the facility. Authorities continued to restrict access by diplomats and NGOs to Maekelawi.

In 2010 the UN Committee Against Torture reported it was “deeply concerned” about “numerous, ongoing, and consistent allegations” concerning “the routine use of torture” by police, prison officers, and other members of the security forces – including the military – against political dissidents and opposition party members, students, alleged terrorists, and alleged supporters of violent separatist groups like the ONLF and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). The committee reported that such acts frequently occurred with the participation of, at the instigation of, or with the consent of commanding officers in police stations, detention centers, federal prisons, military bases, and unofficial or secret places of detention. Some reports of such abuses continued during the year.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison and pretrial detention center conditions remained harsh and, in some cases, life threatening. There were numerous reports that authorities beat prisoners. Medical attention following beatings reportedly was insufficient in some cases.

Physical Conditions: As of September 2012 there were 70,000-80,000 persons in prison, of whom approximately 2,500 were women and nearly 600 were children incarcerated with their mothers. Authorities sometimes incarcerated juveniles with adults and sometimes incarcerated small children with their mothers. Male and female prisoners generally were separated.

Severe overcrowding was common, especially in prison sleeping quarters. The government provided approximately eight birr ($0.42) per prisoner per day for food, water, and health care. Many prisoners supplemented this amount with daily food deliveries from family members or by purchasing food from local vendors, although there were unspecified reports officials prevented some prisoners from receiving supplemental food from their families. Medical care was unreliable in federal prisons and almost nonexistent in regional prisons. Prisoners had limited access to potable water, as did many in the country. Also water shortages caused unhygienic conditions, and most prisons lacked appropriate sanitary facilities. Many prisoners had serious health problems in detention but received little treatment. Information released by the Ministry of Health in 2012 reportedly stated that nearly 62 percent of inmates in various jails across the country suffered from mental health problems as a result of solitary confinement, overcrowding, and lack of adequate health care facilities and services.

The country had six federal and 120 regional prisons. The Ethiopian NGO Justice For All-Prison Fellowship Ethiopia (JFA-PFE) ran model prisons in Adama and Mekele, with significantly better conditions than those found in other prisons. There also were many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele. Most were located at military camps.

Pretrial detention often occurred in police station detention facilities, where the conditions varied widely. Reports regarding pretrial detention in police stations indicated poor hygiene and police abuse of detainees.

Administration: It was difficult to determine if recordkeeping was adequate due to the lack of transparency regarding incarceration. Authorities did not employ alternative sentencing for nonviolent offenders. Prisons did not have ombudspersons to respond to complaints. Legal aid clinics existed in some prisons for the benefit of prisoners. Authorities allowed the submission by detainees of complaints to judicial authorities without censorship. Courts sometimes declined to hear such complaints. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Federal Police Commission sometimes investigated allegations of abuse, although there were reports that detainees’ discussions with them were not done in private, which could limit their ability to speak freely.

Authorities generally permitted prisoners to have visitors, although some police stations did not allow pretrial detainees access to visitors (including family members and legal counsel). In some cases authorities restricted family visits to prisoners to a few per year. Family members of prisoners charged with terrorist activity alleged instances of blocked access to the prisoners. There were also reports authorities denied those charged with terrorist activity visits with their lawyers, or with representatives of the political parties to which they belonged. In June prison authorities temporarily granted full visitation privileges to imprisoned journalist/blogger Eskinder Nega; previously, Eskinder was been permitted visits by a select group of individuals. Prison officials limited the number of individuals permitted to visit journalist Reyot Alemu.

Prisoners generally were permitted religious observance, but this varied by prison, and even by section within a prison, at the discretion of prison management. There were some allegations that while in custody authorities denied detainees adequate locations in which to pray. Prisoners were permitted to voice complaints about prison conditions or treatment to the presiding judge during their trials.

Independent Monitoring: During the year the International Committee of the Red Cross visited regional prisons throughout the country.

Regional authorities allowed government and NGO representatives to meet regularly with prisoners without third parties present. The government-established EHRC, which is funded by parliament and subject to parliamentary review, monitored federal and regional detention centers and interviewed prison officials and prisoners in response to allegations of widespread human rights abuses. The JFA-PFE was granted access to various prison and detention facilities.

Improvements: The government and prison authorities generally cooperated with efforts of the JFA-PFE to improve prison conditions. Reports indicated prison conditions, including the treatment of prisoners, improved upon the completion of a local legal aid clinic, although specific data was not available.

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
Although the constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, the government often ignored these provisions. There were multiple reports of arbitrary arrest and detention by police and security forces throughout the country.

Civilians, international NGOs, and other aid organizations operating in the Somali Region reported government security forces, local militias, and the ONLF committed abuses such as arbitrary arrest.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
The Federal Police reports to the Ministry of Federal Affairs, which is subject to parliamentary oversight. The oversight was loose. Each of the country’s nine regions has a state or special police force that reports to the regional civilian authorities. Local militias operated across the country in loose coordination with regional and federal police and the military, with the degree of coordination varying by region. In many cases these militias functioned as extensions of local EPRDF political bosses.

Security forces were effective, but impunity remained a serious problem. The mechanisms used to investigate abuses by the federal police were not known. There continued to be reports of abuse, including killings, by the Somali Region Special Police. The government rarely publicly disclosed the results of investigations into abuses by local security forces, such as arbitrary detention and beatings of civilians.

The government continued its efforts to provide human rights training for police and army recruits. The EHRC trained more than 100 police officers and prison officials during the year and in 2012 on basic human rights concepts and prisoner treatment. The government continued to accept assistance from the JFA-PFE and the EHRC to improve and professionalize its human rights training and curriculum by including more material on the constitution and international human rights treaties and conventions.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
Although the constitution and law require that detainees be brought to court and charged within 48 hours of arrest, authorities did not always respect this requirement. With court approval, persons suspected of serious offenses may be detained for 14 days without being charged and for additional 14-day periods if an investigation continues. Under the antiterrorism proclamation, police may request to hold persons without charge for 28-day periods, up to a maximum of four months, while an investigation is conducted. The law prohibits detention in any facility other than an official detention center; however, local militias and other formal and informal law enforcement entities used dozens of unofficial local detention centers.

A functioning bail system was in place. Bail was not available for persons charged with murder, treason, and corruption. In most cases authorities set bail between 500 and 10,000 birr ($26 and $530), which most citizens could not afford. The government provided public defenders for detainees unable to afford private legal counsel, but only when their cases went to court. While detainees were in pretrial detention, authorities sometimes allowed them little or no contact with legal counsel, did not provide full information on their health status, and did not provide for family visits.

Arbitrary Arrest: Authorities regularly detained persons without warrants.

On May 24, in the western state of Benishangul-Gumuz, local police detained Muluken Tesfaw, a journalist for the Ethio-Mihdar newspaper, who was investigating allegations that local officials unlawfully evicted ethnic Amhara residents from their homes. The journalist reportedly was not carrying his press credentials. On May 31, authorities released Muluken without charge.

Pretrial Detention: Some detainees reported being held for several years without being charged and without trial. Information on the percentage of detainee population in pretrial detention and the average length of time held was not available. Trial delays were most often caused by lengthy legal procedures, the large numbers of detainees, judicial inefficiency, and staffing shortages.

Amnesty: On September 11, in keeping with a long-standing tradition of issuing pardons at the Ethiopian new year, the federal government pardoned 498 prisoners. Regional governments also pardoned persons during the year. For example, the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) regional government pardoned 1,984 prisoners, the Oromia regional government pardoned 2,604 prisoners, and the Amhara regional government pardoned 2,084 prisoners.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The law provides for an independent judiciary. Although the civil courts operated with a large degree of independence, the criminal courts remained weak, overburdened, and subject to political influence. The constitution recognizes both religious and traditional or customary courts.

TRIAL PROCEDURES
By law accused persons have the right to a fair public trial by a court of law within a “reasonable time,” a presumption of innocence, the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choice, and the right to appeal. The law provides defendants the right against self-incrimination. The law gives defendants the right to present witnesses and evidence in their defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and access government-held evidence. The government did not always allow defendants the right of access to evidence it held. The court system does not use jury trials. Judicial inefficiency and lack of qualified staff often resulted in serious delays in trial proceedings and made the application of the law unpredictable. The government continued to train lower court judges and prosecutors and made effective judicial administration the primary focus of this training. Defendants were often unaware of the specific charges against them until the commencement of the trial; this also caused defense attorneys to be unprepared to provide an adequate defense.

The Public Defender’s Office provided legal counsel to indigent defendants, although its scope and quality of service remained limited due to the shortage of attorneys. Numerous free legal aid clinics around the country, based primarily at universities, provided advice to clients. In certain areas of the country the law allows volunteers, such as law students and professors, to represent clients in court on a pro bono basis.

On January 22, citing national security concerns, the Federal High Court closed the trial of 28 Muslims identified with July 2012 protests and one Muslim accused of accepting funds illegally from a foreign embassy. On December 12, the Federal High Court dismissed charges against 10 of the defendants and reduced charges against 18 others. Although the Federal High Court also closed the trial of 28 additional Muslims the government alleged to have links to al-Qaida and al-Shabaab, the court reopened the trial to the public on October 29. Both trials continued at year’s end.

Many citizens residing in rural areas generally had little access to formal judicial systems and relied on traditional mechanisms of resolving conflict. By law all parties to a dispute must agree to use a traditional or religious court before such a court may hear a case, and either party may appeal to a regular court at any time. Sharia (Islamic law) courts may hear religious and family cases involving Muslims. Sharia courts received some funding from the government and adjudicated the majority of cases in the Somali and Afar regions, which are predominantly Muslim. In addition other traditional systems of justice, such as councils of elders, continued to function. Some women stated they lacked access to free and fair hearings in the traditional justice system because they were excluded by custom from participation in councils of elders and because there was strong gender discrimination in rural areas.

POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
Estimates by human rights groups and diplomatic missions regarding the number of political prisoners varied. The government did not permit access by international human rights organizations.

All of the Ethiopian journalists, opposition members, and activists previously convicted and jailed under the antiterrorism proclamation remained in prison.

On January 8, the Federal Court of Cassation denied journalist Reyot Alemu’s appeal of her conviction on the charge of participating in the promotion or communication of a terrorist act. She was serving a five-year prison sentence.

On May 2, the Federal Supreme Court upheld the sentences of journalist and blogger Eskinder Nega and vice chairman of the opposition front Medrek Andualem Arage for terrorism and treason. In September 2012 the government announced it asked the Federal High Court to freeze the assets of Eskinder and Andualem while investigating whether their assets were used in conjunction with the commission of the crimes for which they were convicted. The court had not issued a decision by year’s end.

The Federal Supreme Court upheld the 2012 convictions under the criminal code of Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa, two well-known political opposition figures from the Oromo ethnic group, for conspiracy to overthrow the government and conspiracy to incite unrest. The Supreme Court subsequently determined the Federal High Court did not consider mitigating circumstances and reduced Bekele’s sentence from eight years to three years and seven months. The Supreme Court also reduced Olbana’s sentenced from 13 to 11 years. Courts convicted 69 members of Oromo political opposition parties, charged separately in 2011 under the criminal code with “attacking the political or territorial integrity of the state.”

CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
The law provides citizens the right to appeal human rights violations in civil court. No such cases were filed during the year.

f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The law requires authorities to obtain judicial warrants to search private property; police often ignored the law, and there were no records of courts excluding evidence found without warrants.

There were periodic reports throughout the year police carried out nighttime raids of Muslims’ homes in Addis Ababa to collect evidence against persons they alleged to be terrorists. The government claimed the police had warrants.

Opposition political party leaders reported suspicions of telephone tapping and other electronic eavesdropping, and alleged government agents attempted to lure them into illegal acts by calling and pretending to be representatives of groups – designated by the country’s parliament as terrorist organizations – interested in making financial donations.

The government reportedly used a widespread system of paid informants to report on the activities of particular individuals. During the year opposition members reported ruling party operatives and militia members made intimidating and unwelcome visits to their homes and offices.

Security forces continued to detain family members of persons sought for questioning by the government. There were reports unemployed youths who were not affiliated with the ruling coalition sometimes had trouble receiving the “support letters” from their kebeles (neighborhoods or wards) necessary to get jobs.

The national government and regional governments continued to put in place “villagization” plans in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, SNNPR, and Somali regions. These plans involved the relocation by regional governments of scattered rural populations from arid or semiarid lands vulnerable to recurring droughts into designated clusters. The stated purposes of villagization were to improve the provision of government services (i.e., health care, education, and clean water), protect vulnerable communities from natural disasters and attacks, and change environmentally destructive patterns of shifting cultivation. Some observers stated the purpose was to enable the large-scale leasing of land for commercial agriculture. The government described the villagization program as strictly voluntary.

International donors reported that assessments from more than 16 visits to villagization sites since 2011 did not corroborate allegations of systematic human rights violations in this program. They did find problems such as delays in establishing promised infrastructure from rushed program implementation. Communities and individual families appeared to have agreed to move based on assurances from authorities of food aid, services, and land, although in some instances communities moved before adequate basic services and shelter were in place in the new locations. International human rights organizations, however, continued to express concern regarding the villagization process. A report by the Oakland Institute in February stated that the military forcibly relocated communities and committed human rights violations in the Omo Valley. A report by the Oakland Institute in July asserted that, during a January 2012 assessment in the Lower Omo Valley, donor representatives heard testimony from community members regarding human rights violations.

SECTION 2. RESPECT FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, INCLUDING:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press; however, authorities arrested, detained, and prosecuted journalists and other persons whom they perceived as critical of the government.

Freedom of Speech: Authorities arrested and harassed persons for criticizing the government. The government attempted to impede criticism through various forms of intimidation, including detention of journalists and opposition activists and monitoring and interference in the activities of political opposition groups. Some persons feared authorities would retaliate against them for discussing security force abuses.

Press Freedoms: The government continued to take actions to close independent newspapers. Regulators revoked the operating licenses of Addis Times magazine and Li-Elina newspaper in February and March, respectively, after independent editor Temesgen Dessalegn acquired them. The remaining 14 newspapers had a combined weekly circulation in Addis Ababa of more than 140,000. Most newspapers were printed on a weekly or biweekly basis, with the exception of the state-owned Amharic and English dailies.

The government controlled the only television station that broadcast nationally, which, along with radio, was the primary source of news for much of the population. Four private FM radio stations broadcast in the capital city, one private radio station broadcast in the northern Tigray Region, and at least 16 community radio stations broadcast in the regions. State-run Ethiopian Radio had the largest reach in the country, followed by Fana Radio, which was affiliated with the ruling party.

Government-controlled media closely reflected the views of the government and the ruling EPRDF. The government periodically jammed foreign broadcasts. The law prohibits political and religious organizations and foreigners from owning broadcast stations.

Violence and Harassment: The government continued to arrest, harass, and prosecute journalists. This included the prosecution of three persons associated with the defunct Muslim Affairs magazine under the antiterrorism proclamation.

On January 17, authorities arrested Solomon Kebede, columnist and managing editor of Muslim Affairs. They charged him along with 27 other Muslims in April under the antiterrorism proclamation.

The case against Temesgen Dessalegn, editor in chief of the defunct Feteh newspaper, continued. Charges against him included inciting and agitating the country’s youth to engage in violence, defamation of the government, and destabilizing the public by spreading false reports. Mastewal Berhanu, former publisher and managing director of Feteh, reportedly left the country due to government harassment.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Government harassment caused journalists to avoid reporting on sensitive topics. Many private newspapers reported informal editorial control by the government through article placement requests and calls from government officials concerning articles perceived as critical of the government. Private sector and government journalists routinely practiced self-censorship.

Libel Laws/National Security: The government used the antiterrorism proclamation to suppress criticism. Journalists feared covering five groups designated by parliament in 2011 as terrorist organizations (Ginbot 7, the ONLF, the OLF, al-Qaida, and al-Shabaab), citing ambiguity on whether reporting on these groups might be punishable under the law. Several journalists, both local and foreign correspondents, reported an increase in self-censorship.

The government used libel laws during the year to suppress criticism.

On May 15, police in Addis Ababa questioned Ferew Abebe, editor in chief of the Sendek newspaper, about 2012 articles that alleged the widow of former prime minister Meles Zenawi refused to vacate the prime minister’s official residence after the death of her husband. Police requested that Ferew reveal his sources to them and would not disclose who initiated the libel claim against Ferew. Ferew posted bail and was released; authorities did not file formal charges by year’s end.

INTERNET FREEDOM
The state-owned Ethio Telecom was the only internet service provider in the country. The government restricted access to the internet and blocked several websites, including blogs; opposition websites; and websites of Ginbot 7, the OLF, and the ONLF. The government also temporarily blocked news sites such as al-Jazeera. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo! were temporarily inaccessible at times. Several news blogs and websites run by opposition diaspora groups were not accessible. These included Addis Neger, Nazret, Ethiopian Review, CyberEthiopia, Quatero Amharic Magazine, Tensae Ethiopia, and the Ethiopian Media Forum. Authorities took steps to block access to Virtual Private Network providers that let users circumvent government screening of internet browsing and e-mail. According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 1.5 percent of individuals used the internet in 2012.

In March, Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center at the University of Toronto, identified 25 countries, including Ethiopia, that host servers linked to FinFisher surveillance software. According to the report, “FinFisher has gained notoriety because it has been used in targeted attacks against human rights campaigners and opposition activists in countries with questionable human rights records.” A “FinSpy” campaign in the country allegedly “used pictures of Ginbot 7, an Ethiopian opposition group, as bait to infect users.”

In March police arrested university student Manyazewal Eshetu, for posting allegations of government corruption on Facebook. Authorities later released Manyazewal without charge.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS
The government restricted academic freedom, including through decisions on student enrollment, teachers’ appointments, and the curriculum. Authorities frequently restricted speech, expression, and assembly on university and high school campuses.

According to sources, the ruling party via the Ministry of Education continued to give preference to students loyal to the party in assignments to postgraduate programs. Some university staff members commented that priority for employment after graduation in all fields was given to students who joined the party.

Authorities limited teachers’ ability to deviate from official lesson plans. Numerous anecdotal reports suggested non-EPRDF members were more likely to be transferred to undesirable posts and bypassed for promotions. There were unspecified reports of teachers not affiliated with the EPRDF being summarily dismissed for failure to attend unscheduled meetings. There continued to be a lack of transparency in academic staffing decisions, with numerous complaints from individuals in the academic community alleging bias based on party membership, ethnicity, or religion.

According to multiple credible sources, teachers and high school students in grade 10 and above were required to attend training on the concepts of revolutionary democracy and EPRDF party ideology.

A Ministry of Education directive prohibits private universities from offering degree programs in law and teacher education. The directive also requires public universities to align their curriculum offerings with the ministry’s policy of a 70-to-30 ratio between science and social science academic programs. As a result the number of students studying social sciences and the humanities at public institutions continued to decrease, and private universities focused heavily on the social sciences.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY
The constitution and law provide for freedom of assembly; however, the government did not respect this right. Organizers of large public meetings or demonstrations must notify the government 48 hours in advance and obtain a permit. Authorities may not refuse to grant a permit but may require that the event be held at a different time or place for reasons of public safety or freedom of movement. If authorities determine an event should be held at another time or place, the law requires that organizers be notified in writing within 12 hours of the time of submission of their request.

The government denied some requests by the Semayawi (Blue) Party and Medrek, the largest opposition coalition, to hold protests in Addis Ababa, although the government officially permitted a June 2 Semayawi Party demonstration. The march was widely reported as the first mass outpouring of discontent permitted by the government since protests in 2005. The government subsequently allowed additional protests to take place in Addis Ababa and several other cities, although organizers in most cases alleged government interference, and authorities required several of the protests to move to different dates or locations from those the organizers requested. Protest organizers alleged the government’s claims of needing to move the protests based on public safety concerns were not credible.

Local government officials, almost all of whom were affiliated with the EPRDF, controlled access to municipal halls, and there were many complaints from opposition parties that local officials denied or otherwise obstructed the scheduling of opposition parties’ use of halls for lawful political rallies. There were numerous credible reports that owners of hotels and other large facilities cited unspecified internal rules forbidding political parties from utilizing their space for gatherings.

Regional governments, including the Addis Ababa regional administration, were reluctant to grant permits or provide security for large meetings.

The government arrested persons in relation to opposition demonstrations. This included a March 17 protest and a planned August 31 protest by the Semayawi Party. Authorities also arrested Unity for Democracy and Justice Party members before and after a July 17 protest.

On August 31, security forces raided the headquarters of the Semayawi Party to prevent a demonstration planned for the following day. Authorities reportedly temporarily detained 60 to 90 persons and beat some of them. The demonstration would have coincided with a mass public rally promoting interfaith tolerance organized by the government.

Beginning in late 2011 and continuing throughout the year, some members of the Muslim community held peaceful protests following Friday prayers at several of Addis Ababa’s largest mosques, the Aweliya Islamic Center in Addis Ababa, and at other locations throughout the country. Most demonstrations occurred without incident, although police met some with arrests and alleged use of unnecessary force. For example, on August 8, security forces in Addis Ababa detained more than one thousand Muslims participating in Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
Although the law provides for freedom of association and the right to engage in unrestricted peaceful political activity, the government limited this right.

A report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association stated, “The enforcement of these [the CSO law] provisions has a devastating impact on individuals’ ability to form and operate associations effectively.”

The CSO law bans anonymous donations to NGOs. All potential donors were therefore aware their names would be public knowledge. The same was true concerning all donations made to political parties.

International NGOs seeking to operate in the country had to submit an application via Ethiopian embassies abroad, which was then submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Charities and Societies Agency.

c. Freedom of Religion
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/.

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons
Although the law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, the government restricted some of these rights.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern; however, at times authorities, armed groups and the situation of insecurity limited the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate.

According to the UN, humanitarian organizations reported 36 incidents that impeded humanitarian work in the first six months of the year compared with 34 during the same period in 2012; 32 of these cases were in the Somali Region. The incidents included violence and hostility against humanitarian personnel, theft of assets, interference with the implementation of humanitarian programs, and restrictions on importation of personnel and goods into the country for humanitarian work. This data referred broadly to humanitarian work and were not limited to activities focusing on IDPs or refugees.

Although the Somali regional government granted several organizations access to Nogob (formerly Fik) to start humanitarian operations, access to areas in the Somali Region remained challenging due to continuing clashes between government forces and the ONLF, as well as reports of al-Shabaab elements operating in and around Somali refugee camps in Dolo Ado. Cases were noted in which NGOs were denied access to areas of operation despite agreements with regional officials. In numerous cases NGOs deferred travel to program activity sites due to insecurity. On June 13, suspected ONLF gunmen fired on a mobile health and nutrition team supported by the UN Children’s Fund in Korahe zone and seriously injured one person.

In-country Movement: The government continued to relax but did not completely remove restrictions on the movement of persons into and within the Somali Region, continuing to argue the ONLF posed a security threat (see section 2.d., Internally Displaced Persons). Security concerns forced a temporary halt of deliveries of food and medicine in the limited areas affected by fighting.

The government continued a policy that allowed refugees to live outside of a camp. According to the Administration for Returnees and Refugee Affairs (ARRA), which managed the out-of-camp program, 3,412 refugees lived outside of the camps in 2012, compared with 1,294 in 2011. Prior to this policy the government gave such permission primarily to attend higher education institutions, undergo medical treatment, or avoid security threats at the camps.

Foreign Travel: On October 23, the government enacted a temporary ban on citizens travelling to the Middle East for employment. The ban did not affect citizens travelling for investment or business reasons. The government stated it issued the ban to prevent harassment, intimidation, and trauma suffered by those working abroad as domestic employees.

Exile: Several citizens sought political asylum in other countries or remained abroad in self-imposed exile.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated the total number of IDPs in the country as of June to be 363,141, an increase of 71,487 from the period January through March. The increase was mostly due to conflict and flooding in the Somali and Gambella regions. Drought also caused displacements during the year.

In January conflict between ethnic Oromos and Somalis over border demarcation and land ownership displaced approximately 55,000 persons from Gursum, Meyu, Kimbi, and Chinaksen districts in Oromia Region. Insecurity resulted in the delay of humanitarian assistance. The impacted population remained displaced at year’s end.

Heavy rainfall in the Somali Region from late March to early April resulted in severe flooding in Faafan, Jerer, Korahe, Nogob, and Shebele zones, destroying homes and displacing thousands. Joint assessments by the United Nations, NGOs, and the government reported the floods affected 500 households in Kebredihar and 5,756 in the Mustahil, Ferfer, and Kelafo districts of Shebelle zone. Flooding from April to June displaced an additional 36,792 individuals in Ferfer, Kelafo, and Mustahil, and 6,657 individuals in the Kebrediar and Dobowein districts of Korahe zone.

During the year drought caused the displacement of more than 22,000 persons in Afar.

According to the IOM, an estimated 80 percent of all IDPs were considered “protracted” IDPs, for whom durable solutions (return to home areas, local integration, and resettlement in other parts of the country) were not possible at the time. This was due to lack of resolution of the conflict, lack of political decision or resources to support local integration, or undesirability of resettlement to other areas of the country.

The government, through the Disaster Risk Management Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) and regional and district administrations, encouraged humanitarian responses to internal displacement and facilitated assessments to determine humanitarian needs. Humanitarian organizations usually provided assistance received by IDPs. For example, both the DRMFSS and the local government helped to coordinate the humanitarian response following conflict between ethnic Somali and Oromo residents of East Hararghe zone, Oromia Region.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees.

According to the UNHCR, the country hosted 423,851 refugees as of September. The majority of refugees were from Somalia (242,588), with others coming from Sudan (31,951), South Sudan (67,958), Eritrea (77,083), and other countries particularly Kenya (4,271).

The UNHCR, the ARRA, and humanitarian agencies continued to care for Sudanese arrivals fleeing from conflict in Sudan’s Blue Nile State. The government also extended support to South Sudanese asylum seekers from South Sudan’s Jonglei State; 5,776 of these asylum seekers crossed into the country by July, raising the total of South Sudanese asylum seekers to more than 67,000.

Eritrean asylum seekers continued to arrive in the country. This included a large number of unaccompanied minors. Many Eritreans who arrived in the country regularly departed for secondary migration through Egypt and Sudan to go to Israel, Europe, and other final destinations.

Employment: The government did not grant refugees work permits.

Access to Basic Services: The UNHCR and ARRA, with support from NGOs, provided refugees in camps with basic services such as health, education, water, sanitation, and hygiene. For those outside of camps, there were no reports of discrimination in access to public services.

Durable Solutions: The government granted refugee status to asylum seekers from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan. The government welcomed refugees to settle permanently in the country but did not offer a path to citizenship or facilitate integration. It permitted Eritrean refugees to live outside refugee camps provided they sustained themselves financially. The government provided some support for Eritreans who were pursuing higher education. During the first half of the year, approximately 2,600 refugees departed the country for resettlement.

SECTION 3. RESPECT FOR POLITICAL RIGHTS: THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS TO CHANGE THEIR GOVERNMENT
The constitution and law provide citizens the right to change their government peacefully. The ruling party’s electoral advantages limited this right.

Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: In August 2012, following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the ruling EPRDF elected Hailemariam Desalegn to take Meles’s place as chairman of the party and subsequently nominated him for the post of prime minister. In September 2012 parliament elected Hailemariam as prime minister.

In the 2010 national parliamentary elections, the EPRDF and affiliated parties won 545 of 547 seats to remain in power for a fourth consecutive five-year term. Government restrictions severely limited independent observation of the vote. Although the relatively few international officials allowed to observe the elections concluded technical aspects of the vote were handled competently, some also noted the lack of an environment conducive to free and fair elections prior to election day. Several laws, regulations, and procedures implemented since the 2005 national elections created a clear advantage for the EPRDF throughout the electoral process. There was ample evidence that unfair government tactics, including intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters, influenced the extent of the EPRDF victory. In addition, voter education was limited to information about technical voting procedures and was done only by the National Electoral Board just days before voting began.

The African Union, whose observers arrived one week before the vote, deemed the elections to be free and fair. The EU, some of whose observers arrived a few months before the vote, concluded the elections fell short of international standards for transparency and failed to provide a level playing field for opposition parties. The EU observed a “climate of apprehension and insecurity,” noting that the volume and consistency of complaints of harassment and intimidation by opposition parties was “a matter of concern” and had to be taken into consideration “in the overall assessment of the electoral process.”

The EPRDF’s continued dominance was demonstrated in nationwide elections to local and city council positions held in April. EPRDF-affiliated parties won all but five of 3.6 million seats; 33 opposition parties boycotted the elections.

Political Parties: Political parties were predominantly ethnically based. The government, controlled by the ruling EPRDF, restricted media freedom and arrested opposition members. Constituent parties of the EPRDF conferred advantages upon their members; the parties directly owned many businesses and were broadly perceived to award jobs and business contracts to loyal supporters. Several opposition political parties reported difficulty in renting homes or buildings in which to open offices, citing visits by EPRDF members to the landlords to persuade or threaten them not to rent property to these parties.

There were reports authorities had terminated the employment of teachers and other government workers if they belonged to opposition political parties. According to Oromo opposition groups, the Oromia regional government continued to threaten to dismiss opposition party members, particularly teachers, from their jobs. Government officials alleged that many members of legitimate Oromo opposition political parties were secretly OLF members and more broadly that members of many opposition parties had ties to Ginbot 7. At the university level members of Medrek and its constituent parties were able to teach.

Registered political parties must receive permission from regional governments to open and occupy local offices.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws or cultural or traditional practices prevented women or minorities from voting or participating in political life on the same basis as men or nonminority citizens, although women were significantly underrepresented in both elected and appointed positions. The Tigray Regional Council held the highest proportion of women nationwide, at 48.5 percent.

The government’s policy of ethnic federalism led to the creation of individual constituencies to provide for representation of all major ethnic groups in the House of People’s Representatives. There were more than 80 ethnic groups, and small groups lacked representation in the legislature. There were 24 nationality groups in six regional states (Tigray, Amhara, Beneshangul-Gumuz, the SNNPR, Gambella, and Harar) that did not have a sufficient population to qualify for constituency seats based on the 2007 census; however, in the 2010 elections, individuals from these nationality groups competed for 24 special seats in the House of People’s Representatives. Additionally these 24 nationality groups have one seat each in the House of Federation.

Women held three federal government ministerial positions and 152 of 547 seats in the national parliament.

SECTION 4. CORRUPTION AND LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT
The law provides criminal penalties for corruption by officials. Despite the government’s prosecution of numerous officials for corruption, some officials continued to engage in corrupt practices. Corruption, especially the solicitation of bribes, remained a problem among low-level bureaucrats. Police and judicial corruption also continued to be problems. Some government officials appeared to manipulate the privatization process, and state- and party-owned businesses received preferential access to land leases and credit.

Corruption: The Ministry of Justice has primary responsibility for combating corruption, largely through the Federal Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (FEACC).

During the year the FEACC initiated criminal proceedings against the director general of the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, his deputy, and as many as 60 other government officials and private business leaders for alleged corrupt practices. Most trials continued at year’s end, although some cases were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Whistleblower Protection: The law provides protection to public and private employees for making internal disclosures or lawful public disclosures of evidence of illegality, such as the solicitation of bribes or other corrupt acts, gross waste or fraud, gross mismanagement, abuse of power, or substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety. The law also specifically bars appointed or elected officials and public servants from making direct or indirect reprisals against whistleblowers.

Financial Disclosure: The law requires all government officials and employees officially register their wealth and personal property. The president and prime minister registered their assets. By the end of 2012, a total of 32,297 federal government officials registered their assets, according to the FEACC. The FEACC held financial disclosure records. According to the law, any person seeking access to these records may do so by making a request in writing, although access to information on family assets may be restricted unless the FEACC deems the disclosure necessary. The law includes financial and criminal sanctions for noncompliance.

Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, but access was largely restricted. The law includes a sufficiently narrow list of exceptions outlining the grounds for nondisclosure. Responses generally must be made within 30 days of a written request, and fees may not exceed the actual cost of responding to the request. The law includes mechanisms for punishing officials for noncompliance, as well as appeal mechanisms for review of disclosure denials. Information on the number of disclosures or denials during the year was not available.

The government publishes its laws and regulations in the national gazette prior to their taking effect. The Government Communications Affairs Office managed contacts between the government, the press, and the public; the private press reported the government rarely responded to its queries.

SECTION 5. GOVERNMENTAL ATTITUDE REGARDING INTERNATIONAL AND NONGOVERNMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
A few domestic human rights groups operated, but with significant government restrictions. The government was generally distrustful and wary of domestic human rights groups and international observers. State-controlled media were critical of international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch.

The CSO law prohibits charities, societies, and associations (NGOs or CSOs) that receive more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources from engaging in activities that advance human and democratic rights or promote equality of nations, nationalities, peoples, genders, and religions; the rights of children and persons with disabilities; conflict resolution or reconciliation; or the efficiency of justice and law enforcement services. The implementation of the law continued to result in the severe curtailment of NGO activities related to human rights. In July 2012 the UN high commissioner for human rights expressed concern that civil society space “has rapidly shrunk” since the CSO law’s enactment.

Some human rights defender organizations continued to register either as local charities, meaning they could not raise more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign donors but could act in the specified areas, or as resident charities, which allowed foreign donations above 10 percent but prohibited activities in those areas.

One of several sets of the law’s implementing regulations, commonly known as the 70/30 rule, caps administrative spending at 30 percent of an organization’s operating budget. The regulations define training of teachers, agricultural and health extension workers, and other government officials as an “administrative” cost, contending the training does not directly affect beneficiaries, thus limiting the number of training programs that can be provided by development assistance partners who prefer to employ train-the-trainer models to reach more persons. The government addressed application of this regulation on a case-by-case basis. A Civil Society Sector Working Group cochaired by the Ministry of Federal Affairs and a representative of the donor community convened periodically to monitor and discuss challenges that arose as the law was implemented.

The government denied most NGOs access to federal prisons, police stations, and political prisoners. The government permitted the JFA-PFE, one of four organizations granted an exemption enabling them to raise unlimited funds from foreign sources and to engage in human rights advocacy, to visit prisoners. The JFA-PFE played a positive role in improving prisoners’ chances for clemency.

Authorities limited the access of human rights organizations, the media, humanitarian agencies, and diplomatic missions to conflict-affected areas, although it eased such restrictions. Humanitarian access in the Somali Region improved in particular. The government lacked a clear policy on NGO access to sensitive areas, leading regional government officials and military officials frequently to refer requests for access to the federal government. Officials required journalists to register before entering conflict regions. There were isolated reports of regional police or local militias blocking NGOs’ access to particular locations on particular days, citing security concerns. Some agencies limited project activities for security reasons.

Some persons feared authorities would retaliate against them if they met with NGOs and foreign government officials who were investigating allegations of abuse.

UN and Other International Bodies: Requests to visit the country from the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment remained outstanding.

Government Human Rights Bodies: The EHRC investigated human rights complaints and produced annual and thematic reports. The commission operated 112 legal aid centers in collaboration with 17 universities and two civil society organizations, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association and the Ethiopian Christian Lawyers Fellowship. The commission also completed the preparatory measures to sign collaborative agreements with two additional universities. The EHRC reported its Addis Ababa headquarters resolved 90 percent of the 952 complaints submitted to it during 2012.

The Office of the Ombudsman has authority to receive and investigate complaints with respect to administrative mismanagement by executive branch offices. From September 2011 to September 2012, the office received 2,094 complaints. Of these, the ombudsman opened investigations into 784, and the office reported it resolved the remaining cases through alternative means. The majority of complaints dealt with social security, labor, housing, and property disputes. The Office of the Ombudsman did not compile nationwide statistics.

SECTION 6. DISCRIMINATION, SOCIETAL ABUSES, AND TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The constitution provides all persons equal protection without discrimination based on race, nation, nationality or other social origin, color, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, property, birth, or status, but the government did not fully promote and protect these rights. The constitution does not address discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Women
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape and provides for penalties of five to 20 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case; the law does not expressly address spousal rape. The government did not fully enforce the law, partially due to widespread underreporting. Recent statistics on the number of abusers prosecuted, convicted, or punished were not available. Anecdotal evidence suggested reporting of rapes had increased since the 2004 revision of the criminal code but the justice system was unable to keep up with the number of cases.

Domestic violence, including spousal abuse, was a pervasive social problem.

Although women had recourse to the police and the courts, societal norms and limited infrastructure prevented many women from seeking legal redress, particularly in rural areas. The government prosecuted offenders on a limited scale. Domestic violence is illegal, but government enforcement of laws against rape and domestic violence was inconsistent. Depending on the severity of damage inflicted, legal penalties range from small fines to imprisonment for up to 10 to 15 years.

Domestic violence and rape cases often were delayed significantly and given low priority. In the context of gender-based violence, significant gender gaps in the justice system remained, due to poor documentation and inadequate investigation. “Child friendly” benches hear cases involving violence against children and women. Police officers were required to receive domestic violence training from domestic NGOs and the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Women and girls experienced gender-based violence, but it was underreported due to cultural acceptance, shame, fear, or a victim’s ignorance of legal protections.

Harmful Traditional Practices: The most prevalent harmful traditional practices were FGM/C, uvula cutting, tonsil scraping and milk tooth extraction, early marriage, and marriage by abduction.

Marriage by abduction is illegal, although it continued in some regions despite the government’s attempts to combat the practice. A 2009 Population Council study of seven regions found that 2.6 percent of married female youth reported their marriage occurred through abduction. The study found the rate to be 12.9 percent in the SNNPR, 4.4 percent in Oromia, 3 percent in Afar, and less than 1percent in Beneshangul Gumuz. The study did not include the Gambella or Somali regions. Forced sexual relationships accompanied most marriages by abduction, and women often experienced physical abuse during the abduction. Abductions led to conflicts among families, communities, and ethnic groups. In cases of marriage by abduction, the perpetrator did not face punishment if the victim agreed to marry the perpetrator.

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C is illegal, but the government did not actively enforce this prohibition or punish those who practiced it.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment was widespread. The penal code prescribes penalties of 18 to 24 months’ imprisonment, but authorities generally did not enforce harassment laws.

Reproductive Rights: Individuals and couples have the right to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of children and to have the information and means to do so free from discrimination, coercion, and violence. The 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) indicated a modern contraceptive prevalence of 27 percent nationwide among married women, a twofold increase from the survey done six years earlier. The survey found 25.3 percent of married girls and women ages 15 to 49 had unmet family planning needs. The 2011 DHS indicated the maternal mortality rate was 676 deaths per 100,000 live births as compared with 673 per 100,000 reported in the 2005 DHS. The immediate causes of maternal mortality included excessive bleeding, infection, hypertensive complications, and obstructed labor, with the underlying cause being the prevalence of home births and lack of access to emergency obstetric care. Only 9 percent of women reported delivering in a health facility or with a skilled birth attendant.

Discrimination: Discrimination against women was a problem and was most acute in rural areas, where an estimated 85 percent of the population lived. The law contains discriminatory regulations, such as the recognition of the husband as the legal head of the family and the sole guardian of children more than five years old. Courts generally did not consider domestic violence by itself a justification for granting a divorce. Irrespective of the number of years the marriage existed, the number of children raised, and joint property, the law entitled women to only three months’ financial support if a relationship ended. There was limited legal recognition of common-law marriage. A common-law husband had no obligation to provide financial assistance to his family, and as a result, women and children sometimes faced abandonment. Traditional courts continued to apply customary law in economic and social relationships.

According to the constitution all land belongs to the government. Both men and women have land-use rights, which they may pass on as an inheritance. Land law varies among regions. All federal and regional land laws empower women to access government land. Inheritance laws also enable widowed women to inherit joint property they acquired during marriage.

In urban areas women had fewer employment opportunities than men, and the jobs available did not provide equal pay for equal work. Women’s access to gainful employment, credit, and the opportunity to own or manage a business was further limited by their generally lower level of education and training and by traditional attitudes.

The Ministry of Education reported female participation in undergraduate and postgraduate programs increased to 144,286 during the 2011-12 academic year, compared with 123,706 in 2010-11, continuing the trend of increasing female participation in higher education.

Children
Birth registration: Citizenship is derived from one’s parents. The law requires all children to be registered at birth. Children born in hospitals were registered while most children born outside of hospitals were not. The overwhelming majority of children, particularly in rural areas, were born at home.

Education: As a policy, primary education was universal and tuition-free; however, there were not enough schools to accommodate the country’s youth, particularly in rural areas. The cost of school supplies was prohibitive for many families, and there was no legislation to enforce compulsory primary education. The number of students enrolled in schools expanded faster than trained teachers could be deployed.

Child Abuse: Child abuse was widespread. A 2009 study conducted by the African Child Policy Forum revealed prosecuting offenders for sexual violence against children was difficult due to inconsistent interpretation of laws among legal bodies and the offender’s right to bail, which often resulted in the offender fleeing or coercing the victim or the victim’s family to drop the charges. “Child friendly” benches heard cases involving violence against children and women. During the year the Federal Court of First Instance announced that tribunals hearing cases relating to families and children would keep extended hours to accommodate children’s school schedules. There was a commissioner for women and children’s affairs in the EHRC.

Forced or Early Marriage: The law sets the legal marriage age for girls and boys at 18; however, authorities did not enforce this law uniformly, and rural families sometimes were unaware of this provision. In several regions it was customary for older men to marry young girls, although this traditional practice continued to face greater scrutiny and criticism.

According to the 2011 DHS, the median age of first marriage among women surveyed between the ages of 20 and 49 was 17.1 years. The age of first marriage appeared to be rising. In 2005 the median age of marriage for women surveyed between 20 and 24 was 16.5 years, and while 39 percent of women between 45 and 49 reported being married by age 15, only 8 percent of young women between 15 and 19 years of age reported being or having been married.

In the Amhara and Tigray regions, girls were married routinely as early as age seven. Child marriage was most prevalent in the Amhara Region, where the median first marriage age was 15.1 years, according to the 2011 DHS, compared with 14.7 years in 2005. Regional governments in Amhara and, to a lesser extent, Tigray offered programs to educate young women on problems associated with early marriage.

Harmful Traditional Practices: Societal abuse of young girls continued to be a problem. Harmful practices included FGM/C, early marriage, marriage by abduction, and food and work prohibitions.

The majority of girls in the country have undergone some form of FGM/C, although the results of the 2009 Population Council survey suggested its prevalence had declined. Sixty-six percent of female respondents ages 21 to 24 reported they were subjected to FGM/C compared with 56 percent of those ages 15 to 17. Of the seven regions surveyed, the study found the rates to be highest in Afar (90.3 percent), Oromia (77.4 percent), and the SNNPR (74.6 percent).

FGM/C was much less common in urban areas, where only 15 percent of the population lived. Girls typically experienced clitoridectomies seven days after birth (consisting of an excision of the clitoris, often with partial labial excision) and infibulation (the most extreme and dangerous form of FGM/C) at the onset of puberty. The penal code criminalizes practitioners of clitoridectomy, with imprisonment of at least three months or a fine of at least 500 birr ($26). Infibulation of the genitals is punishable with imprisonment of five to 10 years. No criminal charges have ever been brought for FGM/C. The government discouraged the practice of FGM/C through education in public schools, the Health Extension Program, and broader mass media campaigns.

Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum age for consensual sex is 18 years, but authorities did not enforce this law. The law provides for three to 15 years in prison for sexual intercourse with a minor. The law provides for one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 birr ($530) for trafficking in indecent material displaying sexual intercourse by minors. The law prohibits profiting from the prostitution of minors and inducing minors to engage in prostitution; however, commercial sexual exploitation of children continued, particularly in urban areas. Girls as young as age 11 reportedly were recruited to work in brothels. Customers often sought these girls because they believed them to be free of sexually transmitted diseases. Young girls were trafficked from rural to urban areas. They also were exploited as prostitutes in hotels, bars, resort towns, and rural truck stops. Reports indicated family members forced some young girls into prostitution.

Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: Ritual and superstition-based infanticide continued in remote tribal areas, particularly South Omo. Local governments worked to educate communities against the practice.

Displaced Children: According to a 2010 report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, approximately 150,000 children lived on the streets, of whom 60,000 were in the capital. The ministry’s report stated families’ inability to support children due to parental illness or insufficient household income exacerbated the problem. These children begged, sometimes as part of a gang, or worked in the informal sector.

A 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found that 82.3 percent of boys who lived or worked on the streets had been to or had enrolled in school, 26.4 percent had lost one parent, and 47.2 percent had lost both parents. Among these boys, 72 percent worked for pay at some point in their lives. Government and privately run orphanages were unable to handle the number of street children.

Institutionalized Children: There were an estimated 5.4 million orphans in the country, according to a 2010 report by the Central Statistics Authority. The vast majority lived with extended family members. Government orphanages were overcrowded, and conditions were often unsanitary. Due to severe resource constraints, hospitals and orphanages often overlooked or neglected abandoned infants. Institutionalized children did not receive adequate health care.

International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Anti-Semitism
The Jewish community numbered approximately 2,000 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.

Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at http://www.state.gov/j/tip/.

Persons with Disabilities
The constitution does not mandate equal rights for persons with disabilities. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment and mandates access to buildings. It is illegal for deaf persons to drive.

The law prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. It also makes employers responsible for providing appropriate working or training conditions and materials to persons with disabilities. The law specifically recognizes the additional burden on women with disabilities. The government took limited measures to enforce the law, for example, by assigning interpreters for hearing-impaired civil service employees.

The law mandates building accessibility and accessible toilet facilities for persons with physical disabilities, although specific regulations that define the accessibility standards were not adopted. Buildings and toilet facilities were usually not accessible. Landlords are required to give persons with disabilities preference for ground-floor apartments, and this was respected.

Women with disabilities were more disadvantaged than men with disabilities in education and employment. An Addis Ababa University study from 2008 showed that female students with disabilities were subjected to a heavier burden of domestic work than their male peers. The 2010 Population Council Young Adult Survey found young persons with disabilities were less likely to have ever attended school than young persons without disabilities. The survey indicated girls with disabilities were less likely than boys with disabilities to be in school; 23 percent of girls with disabilities were in school, compared to 48 percent of girls without disabilities and 55 percent of boys without disabilities. Overall, 47.8 percent of young persons with disabilities surveyed reported not going to school due to their disability. Girls with disabilities also were much more likely to suffer physical and sexual abuse than girls without disabilities. Of sexually experienced girls with disabilities, 33 percent reported having experienced forced sex. According to the same survey, some 6 percent of boys with disabilities had been beaten in the three months prior to the survey, compared with 2 percent of boys without disabilities.

There were several schools for hearing and visually impaired persons and several training centers for children and young persons with intellectual disabilities. There was a network of prosthetic and orthopedic centers in five of the nine regional states.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs worked on disability-related problems. The CSO law continued to affect negatively several domestic associations, such as the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind, the Ethiopian National Association of the Deaf, and the Ethiopian National Association of the Physically Handicapped, like other civil society organizations.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
The country has more than 80 ethnic groups, of which the Oromo, at approximately 35 percent of the population, is the largest. The federal system drew boundaries roughly along major ethnic group lines. Most political parties remained primarily ethnically based.

Clashes between ethnic groups during the year resulted in injury and death. In January ethnic clashes broke out at Addis Ababa University reportedly due to anti-Oromo graffiti. The clashes resulted in injury to as many as 20 persons. In February clashes between members of the Afar, Somali, and Oromo ethnic groups in the eastern town of Awash Arba reportedly resulted in the deaths of more than 20 persons.

Authorities in the western region of Benishangul-Gumuz forcibly evicted as many as 8,000 ethnic Amhara residents from their homes; some of those evicted alleged police beat and harassed them because of their ethnicity. The regional president publically stated the evictions were a mistake and called on the evictees to return. Government officials also stated that victims would be compensated for lost property and any injuries sustained. Authorities dismissed several local officials from their government positions because of their alleged involvement in the evictions, and charged some of these officials with criminal offenses.

Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal and punishable by imprisonment under the law. There is no law prohibiting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals. There were some reports of violence against LGBT individuals; reporting was limited due to fear of retribution, discrimination, or stigmatization. There are no hate crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms to aid in the investigation of abuses against LGBT persons. Persons did not identify themselves as LGBT persons due to severe societal stigma and the illegality of consensual same-sex sexual activity. Activists in the LGBT community stated they were followed and at times feared for their safety. There were periodic detentions of some in the LGBT community, combined with interrogation and alleged physical abuse.

The AIDS Resource Center in Addis Ababa reported the majority of self-identified gay and lesbian callers, most of whom were male, requested assistance in changing their behavior to avoid discrimination. Many gay men reported anxiety, confusion, identity crises, depression, self-ostracism, religious conflict, and suicide attempts.

Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Societal stigma and discrimination against persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS continued in the areas of education, employment, and community integration. Persons living with or affected by HIV/AIDS reported difficulty accessing services. Despite the abundance of anecdotal information, there were no statistics on the scale of the problem.

SECTION 7. WORKER RIGHTS
a. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining
The constitution and the law provide workers, except for certain categories of workers primarily in the public sector, with the right to form and join unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively, although other laws severely restrict or excessively regulate these rights. The law specifically prohibits managerial employees, teachers, health care workers, and civil servants (including judges, prosecutors, and security service workers) from organizing unions. Other workers specifically excluded by law from unionizing include domestic workers and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers.

A minimum of 10 workers is required to form a union. While the law provides all unions with the right to register, the government may refuse to register trade unions that do not meet its registration requirements. The law stipulates a trade union organization may not act in an overtly political manner. The law allows administrative authorities to appeal to the courts to cancel union registration for engaging in prohibited activities, such as political action. While the law prohibits antiunion discrimination by employers and provides for reinstatement for workers fired for union activity, it does not prevent an employer from creating or supporting a workers’ organization for the purpose of controlling it.

Other laws and regulations that explicitly or potentially infringe upon workers’ rights to associate freely and to organize include: the CSO law; Council of Ministers Regulation No. 168/2009 on Charities and Societies to reinforce the CSO law; Proclamation No. 652/2009 on Antiterrorism. During the year the International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations noted the CSO law gives the government power to interfere in the right of workers to organize, including through the registration, internal administration, and dissolution of organizations, and that the Antiterrorism Proclamation could become a means of punishing the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and the right to organize.

While the law recognizes the right of collective bargaining, this right was severely restricted. Negotiations aimed at amending or replacing a collective agreement must be completed within three months of its expiration, or the provisions on wages and other benefits cease to apply. Civil servants, including public school teachers, have the right to establish and join professional associations, but are not allowed to negotiate for better wages or working conditions. Furthermore, the arbitration procedures in the public sector are more restrictive than those in the private sector.

Although the constitution and law provide workers with the right to strike to protect their interests, the law contains detailed provisions prescribing excessively complex and time-consuming formalities that make legal strike actions difficult to carry out. The law requires aggrieved workers to attempt reconciliation with employers before striking and includes a lengthy dispute settlement process. These provisions applied equally to an employer’s right to lock workers out. Two-thirds of the workers involved must support a strike for it to occur. If a case has not already been referred to a court or labor relations board, workers retain the right to strike without resorting to either of these options, provided they give at least 10 days’ notice to the other party and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and make efforts at reconciliation.

The law also prohibits strikes by workers who provide essential services, including air transport and urban bus service workers, electric power suppliers, gas station personnel, hospital and pharmacy personnel, firefighters, telecommunications personnel, and urban sanitary workers. The list of essential services exceeds the ILO definition of essential services. The law prohibits retribution against strikers, but also provides for excessive civil or penal sanctions against unions and workers involved in unauthorized strike actions. Unions may be dissolved for carrying out strikes in “essential services.”

The informal labor sector, including domestic workers, is not unionized and is not protected by labor laws. Lack of adequate staffing prevented the government from effectively enforcing applicable laws during the year. Court procedures were subject to lengthy delays and appeals.

Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining were not respected. Although the government permits unions, the government established and controlled the major trade unions. As it had for more than four years, the government continued to use its authority to refuse to register the National Teachers’ Association (NTA) on the grounds that a national teacher association already existed, and that the NTA’s registration application was not submitted in accordance with the CSO law. According to the Education International report to the ILO in 2011, government security agents subjected members of the NTA to surveillance and harassment, with the goal of intimidating teachers to abandon the NTA and forcing them to give up their long-standing demand for the formation of an independent union. In November 2012 the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association expressed its concern with regard to serious violations of the NTA’s trade union rights, including continuous interference in its internal organization that prevented it from functioning normally, as well as interference by way of threats, dismissals, arrest, detention, and mistreatment of NTA members. The committee urged the government to register the NTA without delay; to ensure the CSO law was not applicable to workers’ and employers’ organizations; and to undertake civil service reform to fully protect the right of civil servants to establish and join organizations of their own choosing.

While the government allowed citizens to exercise the right of collective bargaining freely, representatives negotiated wages only at the plant level. It was common for employers to refuse to bargain. Unions in the formal industrial sector made some efforts to enforce labor regulations.

Despite the law prohibiting antiunion discrimination, unions reported employers fired union activists. There were reports most Chinese employers generally did not allow workers to form unions and often transferred or fired union leaders, and intimidated and pressured members to leave unions. Lawsuits alleging unlawful dismissal often take years to resolve because of case backlogs in the courts. Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination were required to reinstate workers fired for union activities and generally did so. While the law prohibits retribution against strikers, most workers were not convinced the government would enforce this protection. Labor officials reported that, due to high unemployment and long delays in the hearing of labor cases, some workers were afraid to participate in strikes or other labor actions. Antiunion activities occurred but were rarely reported.

b. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The law prohibits most forms of forced or compulsory labor, including by children, but it also permits courts to order forced labor as a punitive measure. The government did not effectively enforce the forced labor prohibition, and forced labor occurred. Both adults and children were forced to engage in street vending, begging, traditional weaving, or agricultural work. Children also worked in forced domestic labor. Situations of debt bondage also occurred in traditional weaving, pottery, cattle herding, and other agricultural activities, mostly in rural areas.

Also see the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at http://www.state.gov/j/tip/.

c. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment
By law the minimum age for wage or salary employment is 14 years. The minimum age provisions, however, only apply to contractual labor and do not apply to self-employed children or children who perform unpaid work. Special provisions cover children between the ages of 14 and 18, including the prohibition of hazardous or night work. The law defines hazardous work as work in factories or involving machinery with moving parts or any work that could jeopardize a child’s health. Prohibited work sectors include passenger transport, electric generation plants, underground work, street cleaning, and many other sectors. The law expressly excludes children under age 16 attending vocational schools from legal protection with regard to the prohibition on young workers performing hazardous work. The law does not permit children between the ages of 14 and 18 to work more than seven hours per day, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., on public holidays or rest days, or on overtime.

The government did not effectively enforce these laws. The lack of labor inspectors and controls prevented the government from enforcing the law. The resources for inspections and the implementation of penalties were extremely limited. Despite the introduction of labor inspector training at Gondar University in 2011, insufficient numbers of labor inspectors and inspections resulted in lax enforcement of occupational safety and health measures and in increased numbers of children working in prohibited work sectors, particularly construction. The National Action Plan to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor was signed at the end of 2012.

While primary education is free, it is not compulsory, and net school enrollment was low, particularly in rural areas. To underscore the importance of attending school, joint NGO and government-led community-based awareness raising activities targeted communities where children were heavily engaged in agricultural work. During the year the government invested in modernizing agricultural practices and constructing schools to combat the problem of child labor in agricultural sectors.

Child labor remained a serious problem. In both rural and urban areas, children often began working at young ages. Child labor was particularly pervasive in subsistence agricultural production, traditional weaving, fishing, and domestic work. A growing number of children worked in construction. Children in rural areas, especially boys, engaged in activities such as cattle herding, petty trading, plowing, harvesting, and weeding, while other children, mostly girls, collected firewood and fetched water. Children worked in the production of gold. In small-scale gold mining, they dug their own mining pits and carried heavy loads of water. Children in urban areas, including orphans, worked in domestic service, often working long hours, which prevented many from attending school regularly. They also worked in manufacturing, shining shoes, making clothes, as porters, directing customers to taxis, parking, public transport, petty trading, and occasionally herding animals. Some children worked long hours in dangerous environments for little or no wages and without occupational safety protection. Child laborers often faced physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of their employers.

Also see the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor at http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/tda.htm.

d. Acceptable Conditions of Work
There is no national minimum wage. Some government institutions and public enterprises set their own minimum wages. Public sector employees, the largest group of wage earners, earned a monthly minimum wage of approximately 420 birr ($22). The official estimate for the poverty income level was approximately 315 birr ($16) per month.

Only a small percentage of the population, concentrated in urban areas, was involved in wage-labor employment. Wages in the informal sector generally were below subsistence levels.

The law provides for a 48-hour maximum legal workweek with a 24-hour rest period, premium pay for overtime, and prohibition of excessive compulsory overtime. The country has 13 paid public holidays per year. The law entitles employees in public enterprise and government financial institutions to overtime pay; civil servants receive compensatory time for overtime work. The government, industries, and unions negotiated occupational safety and health standards. Workers specifically excluded by law from unionizing, including domestic workers and seasonal and part-time agricultural workers, generally did not benefit from health and safety regulations in the workplace.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs’ inspection department was responsible for enforcement of workplace standards. The country had 380 labor inspectors, but due to lack of resources, the labor inspectors did not enforce standards effectively. The ministry’s severely limited administrative capacity; lack of an effective mechanism for receiving, investigating, and tracking allegations of violations; and lack of detailed, sector-specific health and safety guidelines hampered effective enforcement of these standards. In addition penalties were not sufficient to deter violations.

Compensation, benefits, and working conditions of seasonal agricultural workers were far below those of unionized permanent agricultural employees. The government did little to enforce the law. Most employees in the formal sector worked a 39-hour workweek. Many foreign, migrant, and informal sector workers worked more than 48 hours per week.

Workers have the right to remove themselves from dangerous situations without jeopardizing their employment. Despite this law most workers feared losing their jobs if they were to do so. Hazardous working conditions existed in the agricultural sector, which was the primary base of the country’s economy. There were also reports of hazardous and exploitative working conditions in the construction and fledgling industrial sectors.

Read further @http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm#

(OPride) — The United States in a scathing report on Thursday accused Ethiopia of curtailing freedom of expression and association, using politically motivated trials, harassment and intimidation of activists and journalists.

Ethiopia holds estimated 70,000-80,000 persons, including some 2,500 women and nearly 600 children incarcerated with their mothers, in severely overcrowded six federal and 120 regional prisons, the U.S. said in its voluminous 2013 Human Rights Reportreleased by Secretary of State John Kerry. “There also were many unofficial detention centers throughout the country, including in Dedessa, Bir Sheleko, Tolay, Hormat, Blate, Tatek, Jijiga, Holeta, and Senkele,” the report said.

While it said pretrial detention in local police stations were marred with poor hygiene and police abuse, the report also highlighted impunity for security forces who often commit politically-motivated killings against dissidents and opposition party members as “a serious problem.” The Ethiopian government rarely, if ever, took actions “to prosecute or otherwise punish officials who committed abuses other than corruption,” the report added.

The report named some of the well-known political prisoners and journalists including Eskinder Nega, Bekele Gerba, Olbana Lelisa, Reeyot Alemu and Woubeshet Taye.“Federal Supreme Court upheld the 2012 convictions under the criminal code of Bekele Gerba and Olbana Lelisa, two well-known political opposition figures from the Oromo ethnic group, for conspiracy to overthrow the government and conspiracy to incite unrest,” the report noted.

“The Supreme Court subsequently determined the Federal High Court did not consider mitigating circumstances and reduced Bekele’s sentence from eight years to three years and seven months. The Supreme Court also reduced Olbana’s sentenced from 13 to 11 years. Courts convicted 69 members of Oromo political opposition parties, charged separately in 2011 under the criminal code with “attacking the political or territorial integrity of the state.”

Gerba, who has fully served out his reduced time, was widely expected to be released last month. However, according to family sources, prison officials gave conflicting reasons for his continued imprisonment, including that his time at the Maekelawi prison doesn’t count or his file was misplaced. Meanwhile, both Gerba and Lelisa are reportedly ill with restricted and limited medical care.

Terminally ill

Lelisa is a longtime Oromo rights activist with Oromo Peoples Congress (OPC), who rose through the ranks of the organization from a sole member to top leadership. He competed in the last three elections representing the Caliya district in West Shewa. He was elected to the Oromia regional parliament in 2005. He was subsequently arrested on concocted charges of plotting to overthrow government by working with the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), recruiting youth for armed rebellion and for inciting the frequent youth revolt in Ambo and West Shewa.

Lelisa, who has so far served three years of the 11 years sentence, reports being mistreated while in prison. He has repeatedly been beaten by unidentified men at Kaliti prison with orders from security services. He has sustained serious wounds from the beatings by government agents who pose as prisoners, according to OPride sources. Lelisa, who is terminally ill and said to be on a long-term medication for undisclosed condition, had repeatedly appealed to the higher court about his mistreatment but received no response to date.

Singling out the Oromo

While the State Department’s report is short on details, there are several evidences that show the Ethiopian government continues to single out Oromo dissidents. Last year, the OLF released a partial list (independently verified by a reputable OPride source) of 528 individuals sentenced to death and life imprisonment on purely political grounds.

The list includes names of individuals, their gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Underscoring the disproportionate repression of the Oromo, of the 528 individuals who were sentenced to death or life imprisonment by the Ethiopian courts, 459 are Oromo nationals followed by 52 Amhara nationals. “This list clearly indicates that the minority regime in Ethiopia is using its kangaroo courts for destroying Oromo and Amhara nationals who are viewed as potential threat to the regimes hold on to power,” one informant, who asked not to be named, told OPride.

As documented by various international human rights organizations, today, it is a serious crime, under the Tigrean dominated Ethiopian government to support any independent Oromo organization. Thousands of Oromos have been imprisoned, tortured and killed extra-judicially for no apparent reason other than expressing Oromo national feeling and for their support of Oromo organizations such as the OLF.

The selective and systematic targeting of Oromo in Ethiopia by the current began in 1992 when the OLF which jointly ruled Ethiopia from 1991-1992  with the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF) was banned and its members and supporters jailed for years and hundreds executed without due process of law. Although Oromia, the Oromo regional state in Ethiopia, is autonomous in name, the Oromo do not have any meaningful voice in the affairs of their own state, which is totally controlled by the TPLF.

The later represents no more than seven percent of the population of Ethiopia, while the Oromo, who constitute the single largest national group in Ethiopia and the third largest national group in the whole of Africa. The Oromo are denied the basic democratic rights to organize freely and legally and express their political opinions. There is no single independent newspaper or media outlet catering to the Oromo populace in their native tongue.

The TPLF fears the Oromo numerical strength deliberately characterizes all independent Oromo organizations, which it does not control as the “terror wing” of the OLF.  The goal for such characterization is to persecute peaceful supporters of the OLF behind the façade of fighting against a “ terrorist organization.” Under the anti-terror law of the current Ethiopian regime, anyone who is suspected of peacefully supporting the OLF, could be sentenced to life imprisonment or executed. The above mentioned 459 Oromo nationals who were sentenced to death or life imprisonment are all  suspected OLF supporters.

Destroying the lives of 528 innocent human beings on political ground is a crime against humanity, which must be condemned by all civilized nations. The tearless cry of the U.S. AnnuaL Human Rights report notwithstanding, at this moment no calling is more urgent and more noble and no responsibility greater for those who believe in human rights than raising their voice for pressuring the government of Ethiopia to free the 528 innocent individuals who were sentenced to death and life imprisonment  on purely political grounds.

In the last year alone, two Oromo activists have died in prison under mysterious circumnances. Last year, OPride reported about the death in prison of former UNHCR recognized refugee, engineer Tesfahun Chemeda. Last month, a former parliamentary candidate from Chalenqo in Western Hararghe, Ahmed Nejash died in prison. According to an OPC source, Nejash successfully run and challenegd Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Development, during the 2010 elections. He was subsequently arrested in 2011 alleged of being an OLF activist. Although his death recieved scant media coverage even within the Oromo community, a close relative of the late Jarra Abba Gadaa, Nejash is one of the veterans of Oromo people’s struggle. “He was sentenced to seven years, which was also upheld by the higher court,” the OPC told OPride source said. “He was in Zuway with Bekele and Olbana and he was healthy the last time I saw him in 2013.”

http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3735-us-slams-ethiopia-s-human-rights-abuse

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21 Things They Never Tell You About Poverty & Poor Countries February 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Poverty, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Theory of Development, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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  • Poverty-as-rule-not -exception is difficult to bend our minds around because we tend to base our views about the world on direct experience. If people around us seem mostly well-fed and content, then why shouldn’t everybody else be? We still don’t know as much as we should about poverty and we try to ignore poor people. Most people’s experience of the global poor is the waiter at their table or the pool attendant, the ones lucky enough to have jobs. Only by direct experience and immersion in local circumstances is it possible to have a vague inkling of what it might be like to be genuinely destitute. There’s no obligation on holidaymakers to go wandering around in slums, but anybody who claims knowledge about deprivation should experience or observe it first-hand for themselves, ideally for a long time.
  • Which undermines my first four points. As Morten Jerven says in his book Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled By African Development Statistics And What To Do About It, “the most basic metric of development, GDP, should not be treated as an objective number but rather as a number that is a product of a process in which a range of arbitrary and controversial assumptions are made.” Jerven finds that the discrepancy between different GDP estimates is up to a half in some cases. This supports my experience from working in the least developed countries, where statistics offices are usually underfunded and don’t have the resources to collect data often or well enough.
  • There’s a kind of false scientism: foreign academic economists spend ages refining complicated econometric models despite the raw material being rubbish. In the absence of good numbers, the only immediate alternative is to live in a country, to use good theory and to rely where necessary on case studies and even anecdote.
  • A report from Oxfam last month pointed out that 85 people, about as many as would fit on a double-decker bus, own as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population.
  • The Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson shows that equality is good for everyone. Redistribution reduces poverty and makes life better for the rich in the form of less crime, better education and a more cohesive society. Global inequality is getting worse, not better. If we don’t radically reduce inequality the poor will eat us, so aid isn’t an option, and it’s not about the rich world “saving” the poor. It’s essential for everyone.
  • Although things are improving, a huge chunk of the world’s population remain poor. Over a fifth of humans, 1.29 billion, are considered extremely poor . In effect the equivalent of every man, woman and child in Europe, the United States and the Middle East scrape by on 75 British pence a day adjusted for the cost of living in each country. About a third of the world lives on less than $2 a day. The poorest half of the world – 3.5 billion people – own only 0.71% of the world’s wealth between them.
  • A billion people live in chronic hunger. Nearly a third of all children are chronically malnourished, which unless addressed before the age of two often leaves them stunted and mentally impaired. A sixth of the world’s adults can’t read or write and many more have only rudimentary literacy. Sub-Saharan Africa has only two doctors for every 10,000 people, which is partly why on average its inhabitants live to an average age of 56.
  • Rather than a term like “developing” to describe these people and countries, the travel writer Dervla Murphy’s phrase “majority world” is more accurate.
  • “The four basic needs: food, housing, clothes and medicine must be cheap and easy for everybody. That’s civilisation”, says Jon Jandai, a farmer from northeast Thailand. I’d add primary, secondary and tertiary education, too.
  • Lower income countries have leapfrogged some technologies. For example many will never install fixed telephone lines because mobile coverage is so good. Vast numbers of people will never touch a PC, doing all their computing on a smartphone or tablet.
  • The governments of poor countries should be more adventurous, leapfrogging ideologies too. Some proponents of economic growth argue that environmental sustainability and a focus on happiness will handicap poverty reduction. But it could enable some countries to prioritise the important things in life. Endless growth is impossible and undesirable.
  • Beyond a certain point rich inefficiency is the real problem. Why do developing countries ape the development paths and economic structures of the West? We are wage slaves who perform bullshit jobs so that we can service our mortgages. The advance of the car ruined everyone’s quality of life so that a minority can sit in air-conditioned metal boxes in jams. Clever though-leadership in the majority world could lead the way for the rich. Bhutan’s idea of Gross National Happiness is an example.
  • There’s plenty of food to go round. World agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago despite a 70% population increase, due to rising yields, higher farming intensity and more use of land. The real problems are the system of distribution and energy use. If the rich world didn’t hog all the food and produce it inefficiently there’d be enough for everyone.
  • The amount officially spent on each poor person globally is US$20 a year, according to the World Bank. The amount has doubled in the last decade following a dip in the late 1990s. But several opinion polls show that rich country inhabitants think they’re much more generous than they really are. Americans think that their government spends 28% of the budget on aid when it’s really about 1%. Brits are almost as bad. The result of this widespread overestimation of generosity is that many people in rich countries want to cut aid.

http://emergenteconomics.com/2014/02/24/21-things-they-never-tell-you-about-poor-countries/

http://emergenteconomics.com/

Emergent Economics

Prompted by Bill Gates’s annual letter and the response from the Overseas Development Institute I thought I’d list some of the things that in my experience seem to be less understood about poor countries. (I wanted to list 23 things like Ha-Joon Chang on capitalism but I couldn’t think of another two). I use the word poor on purpose because although the word risks sounding patronising or dismissive, euphemisms like developing and less-developed can be worse. Thoughts are welcome.

1. Poverty is the rule, not the exception.For most people life just isn’t as good as it is for you and I, the comfortable people from a country rich enough to allow us the literacy, time and Internet access to read blogs written by well-meaning left liberals. Poverty-as-rule-not -exception is difficult to bend our minds around because we tend to base our views about the world on direct experience. If…

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Ethiopia’s Land & Water Grabs Devastate Communities: New Satellite Imagery Shows Extensive Clearance of Land Used By Indigenous People to Make Way for State-Run Sugar Plantations February 25, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Environment, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Hadiya, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Kambata, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Ogaden, Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Self determination, Sidama, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized.
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‘Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to 200,000 agro-pastoralists, is under development for sugar plantations and processing. The early stages of the development have resulted in the loss of land and livelihoods for thousands of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable citizens. The future of 500,000 agro-pastoralists in Ethiopia and Kenya is at risk.’ – Human Rights Watch
http://www.hrw.org/node/123131

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-pottinger/ethiopia-pushes-river-bas_b_4811584.html

(Nairobi) – New satellite imagery shows extensive clearance of land used by indigenous groups to make way for state-run sugar plantations in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, Human Rights Watch and International Rivers said today. Virtually all of the traditional lands of the 7,000-member Bodi indigenous group have been cleared in the last 15 months, without adequate consultation or compensation. Human Rights Watch has also documented the forced resettlement of some indigenous people in the area.

The land clearing is part of a broader Ethiopian government development scheme in the Omo Valley, a United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, including dam construction, sugar plantations, and commercial agriculture. The project will consume the vast majority of the water in the Omo River basin, potentially devastating the livelihoods of the 500,000 indigenous people in Ethiopia and neighboring Kenya who directly or indirectly rely on the Omo’s waters for their livelihoods.

“Ethiopia can develop its land and resources but it shouldn’t run roughshod over the rights of its indigenous communities,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The people who rely on the land for their livelihoods have the right to compensation and the right to reject plans that will completely transform their lives.”

A prerequisite to the government’s development plans for the Lower Omo Valley is the relocation of 150,000 indigenous people who live in the vicinity of the sugar plantations into permanent sedentary villages under the government’s deeply unpopular “villagization” program. Under this program, people are to be moved into sedentary villages and provided with schools, clinics, and other infrastructure. As has been seen in other parts of Ethiopia, these movements are not all voluntary.
Satellite images analyzed by Human Rights Watch show devastating changes to the Lower Omo Valley between November 2010 and January 2013, with large areas originally used for grazing cleared of all vegetation and new roads and irrigation canals crisscrossing the valley. Lands critical for the livelihoods of the agro-pastoralist Bodi and Mursi peoples have been cleared for the sugar plantations. These changes are happening without their consent or compensation, local people told Human Rights Watch. Governments have a duty to consult and cooperate with indigenous people to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources.

The imagery also shows the impact of a rudimentary dam built in July 2012 that diverted the waters of the Omo River into the sugar plantations. Water rapidly built up behind the shoddily built mud structure before breaking it twice. The reservoir created behind the dam forced approximately 200 Bodi families to flee to high ground, leaving behind their crops and their homes.

In a 2012 report Human Rights Watchwarned of the risk to livelihoods and potential for increased conflict and food insecurity if the government continued to clear the land. The report also documented how government security forces used violence and intimidation to make communities in the Lower Omo Valley relocate from their traditional lands, threatening their entire way of life with no compensation or choice of alternative livelihoods.

The development in the Lower Omo Valley depends on the construction upstream of a much larger hydropower dam – the Gibe III, which will regulate river flows to support year-round commercial agriculture.

A new film produced by International Rivers, “A Cascade of Development on the Omo River,” reveals how and why the Gibe III will cause hydrological havoc on both sides of the Kenya-Ethiopia border. Most significantly, the changes in river flow caused by the dam and associated irrigated plantations could cause a huge drop in the water levels of Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake and another UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lake Turkana receives 90 percent of its water from the Omo River and is projected to drop by about two meters during the initial filling of the dam, which is estimated to begin around May 2014. If current plans to create new plantations continue to move forward, the lake could drop as much as 16 to 22 meters. The average depth of the lake is just 31 meters.

The river flow past the Gibe III will be almost completely blocked beginning in 2014. According to government documents, it will take up to three years to fill the reservoir, during which the Omo River’s annual flow could drop by as much as 70 percent. After this initial shock, regular dam operations will further devastate ecosystems and local livelihoods. Changes to the river’s flooding regime will harm agricultural yields, prevent the replenishment of important grazing areas, and reduce fish populations, all critical resources for livelihoods of certain indigenous groups.

The government of Ethiopia should halt development of the sugar plantations and the water offtakes until affected indigenous communities have been properly consulted and give their free, prior, and informed consent to the developments, Human Rights Watch and International Rivers said. The impact of all planned developments in the Omo/Turkana basin on indigenous people’s livelihoods should be assessed through a transparent, independent impact assessment process.

“If Ethiopia continues to bulldoze ahead with these developments, it will devastate the livelihoods of half a million people who depend on the Omo River,” said Lori Pottinger, head of International Rivers’ Ethiopia program. “It doesn’t have to be this way – Ethiopia has options for managing this river more sustainably, and pursuing developments that won’t harm the people who call this watershed home.”

Background
Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley is one of the most isolated and underdeveloped areas in East Africa. At least eight different groups call the Omo River Valley home and the livelihood of each of these groups is intimately tied to the Omo River and the surrounding lands. Many of the indigenous people that inhabit the valley are agro-pastoralist, growing crops along the Omo River and grazing cattle.

In 2010, Ethiopia announced plans for the construction of Africa’s tallest dam, the 1,870 megawatt Gibe III dam on the Omo River. Controversy has dogged the Gibe III dam ever since. Of all the major funders who considered the dam, only China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) provided financing (the World Bank, African Development Bank, and European Investment Bank all declined to fund it, though the World Bank and African Development Bank have financed related power lines).

The Ethiopian government announced even more ambitious plans for the region in 2011, including the development of at least 245,000 hectares of irrigated state-run sugar plantations. Downstream, the water-intensive sugar plantations, will depend on irrigation canals. Although there have been some independent assessments of the Gibe dam project and its impact on river flow and Lake Turkana, to date the Ethiopian government has not published any environmental or social impact assessments for the sugar plantations and other commercial agricultural developments in the Omo valley.

According to the regional government plan for villagization in Lower Omo, the World Bank-supported Pastoral Community Development Project (PCDP) is funding some of the infrastructure in the new villages. Despite concerns over human rights abuses associated with the villagization program that were communicated to Bank management, in December 2013 the World Bank Board approved funding of the third phase of the PCDP III. PCDP III ostensibly provides much-needed services to pastoral communities throughout Ethiopia, but according to government documents PCDP also pays for infrastructure being used in the sedentary villages that pastoralists are being moved to.

The United States Congress in January included language in the 2014 Appropriations Act that puts conditions on US development assistance in the Lower Omo Valley requiring that there should be consultation with local communities; that the assistance “supports initiatives of local communities to improve their livelihoods”; and that no activities should be supported that directly or indirectly involve forced evictions.

However other donors have not publicly raised concerns about Ethiopia’s Lower Omo development plans. Justine Greening, the British Secretary of State for International Development, in 2012 stated that her Department for International Development (DFID) was not able to “substantiate the human rights concerns” in the Lower Omo Valley despite DFID officials hearing these concerns directly from impacted communities in January 2012.

Ethiopia: Land, Water Grabs Devastate Communities | Human Rights Watch

http://www.hrw.org

http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/02/18/ethiopia-land-water-grabs-devastate-communities

Africa: Agribusiness Feeds the Rich; Small Farmers Feed the Rest February 18, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Aid to Africa, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Domestic Workers, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Human Rights, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Self determination, Slavery, State of Oromia, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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“Agribusiness feeds the rich; small farmers feed the rest. Yet we have a strong interest in feeding the world and are concerned that food conferences dominated by agribusiness directly threaten our ability to produce affordable, healthy, local food.Solving world hunger is not about industrial agriculture producing more food – our global experience of the green revolution has shown that the drive towards this industrial model has only increased the gap between the rich and the poor. Feeding the world is about increasing access to resources like land and water, so that people have the means to feed themselves, their families and their communities. Small family farms produce the majority of food on the planet – 70% of the world’s food supply! If conferences, like this one, exclude the voice of small farmers, then the debate about feeding the world is dominated by the rich and the solutions proposed will only feed their profits.”
A farming revolution is under way in Africa, pushed by giant corporations and the UK’s aid budget. It will surely be good for the global economy, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron, but will Africa’s small farmers see the benefit?

Many millions of small farmers that were once merely poor, will be propelled into destitution, the chaff of a neoliberal market revolution as pitiless as it is powerful.
World leaders in agriculture and development gathered in London last week at the The Economist’s ‘Feeding the World Summit’ to discuss global solutions to tackling Africa’s food security crisis.

At the event, which cost between £700 and £1,000 to attend, industry leaders spoke of new innovations and initiatives which would help fight poverty, world hunger and malnutrition, and transform the lives of millions of farmers worldwide.

Just one farmer

But there was only one farmer among the speakers, Rose Adongo, with barely a handful more in the audience. A Ugandan beef and honey farmer, Adongo was unimpressed by the technical solutions offered by the corporate speakers.

For her, the main issue was land ownership for farmers – and desperately needed changes in Ugandan law, under which women have no right to land ownership even though 80% of the country’s farmers are women, and they produce 60% of the food.

If only a woman could own land – currently passed down from father to son “she can produce more food”. Besides that she wanted cheaper fertilisers and an end to the desperate toil of hand working in the fields. Much of the land is currently plowed by hand which “can take weeks to do”.

Among the excluded …

But many were excluded from the event – and desperately wanted their voices to be heard. Among them was Jyoti Fernandes, from The Landworkers’ Alliance (member of La Via Campesina), a producer-led organisation representing small-scale agroecological producers in the UK.

“Agribusiness feeds the rich; small farmers feed the rest”, she said. “None of our members could afford to attend the Feeding the World Summit.

“Yet we have a strong interest in feeding the world and are concerned that food conferences dominated by agribusiness directly threaten our ability to produce affordable, healthy, local food.

Solving world hunger, she insisted, “is not about industrial agriculture producing more food – our global experience of the green revolution has shown that the drive towards this industrial model has only increased the gap between the rich and the poor.”

Improving access to land and water

“Feeding the world is about increasing access to resources like land and water, so that people have the means to feed themselves, their families and their communities.

“Small family farms produce the majority of food on the planet – 70% of the world’s food supply! If conferences, like this one, exclude the voice of small farmers, then the debate about feeding the world is dominated by the rich and the solutions proposed will only feed their profits.”

As Graciela Romero of War on Want commented in The Ecologist last week, it is that small farmers are feeding the world – not corporations:

“Millions of small-scale farmers produce 70% of the world’s food. Yet they remain excluded and forgotten from exchanges which affect their livelihoods or concern how to end world hunger.”

Private investment

Among the 27 speakers at the event were Nestlé Head of Agriculture Hans Joehr, Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, Cargill Vice-Chairman Paul Conway, UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition David Nabarro, and representatives from the World Food Program and World Vision.

And despite the involvement of some NGOs, academics UN officials, the main topic of discussion was private sector investment in agriculture.

Lynne Featherstone, a junior UK minister for International Development, said the way forward is newly developed efficient fertilisers, pest tolerant crops and private sector investment:

“There is substantial room for improvement, and helping farmers increase productivity while consuming fewer inputs is a priority. With partners such as CGIAR we have developed more efficient fertilisers and pest tolerant crop varieties.”

UK spending £280m to support private sector engagement

She also outlined the Government plans to invest £280m from its aid budget funding in businesses and organisations under the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (AFNC).

This private sector initiative – which has also involves 14 Governments – ostensibly aims to lift 50 million people in Africa out of poverty by 2022, by attracting more private investment in agriculture. Featherstone explained the rationale:

“Economic growth in these countries is best achieved through agricultural growth, which has the power of raising incomes and getting people out of poverty. And the private sector can catalyse that agricultural growth with sustainable agricultural investment.”

But is it really about land grabs?

But critics fear that is has rather more to do with getting governments on-side so corporations can carry out land grabs – taking the best watered and most fertile land away from African farmers and delivering it up to investors to plant cash crops across the continent, while turning once independent small farmers into a a proletarian underclass of landless plantation workers and rootless urban workers.

Paulus Verschuren, Special Envoy on Food and Nutrition Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands attempted to strike a balance:

“We are not going to fix the zero-hunger challenge without involving the private sector, but we need to set the criteria for these transformational partnerships. They need to have a business outcome and a development outcome.”

Corporations keen to help small farmers …

Representatives of major food corporations also insisted that they wanted to work with small farmers and help them to produce their crops efficiently while meeting development objectives.

Nestlé’s Corporate Head of Agriculture, Hans Jöhr, claimed to be willing to work with small farmers as well as large to fulfil development objectives and improving resource efficiency:

“The issue of feeding the world has to been seen in perspective of rural development, and not only technology”, he said. “And it’s definitely not about talking small versus big farmers, I think that was really the yesterday talk. It’s about people, individuals, it’s about farmers.

We cannot go on polluting and destroying

“So in this meeting about farmers, when we are talking about farmers, we are going back to what we have listened to, the restrictions we all face in business is natural resources, natural capital. It’s not only about the land, it’s mainly about water.

“This leads us to looking into production systems and methods and understanding that we cannot continue to go on with polluting destroying and depleting natural resources and with wasting them.

“Farmers who don’t know how to farm waste a tremendous amount of natural resources and agricultural materials because they don’t know how to store, and are not linked to an outlet to markets. That means that we have to help them better understand the production systems.”

Productivity must be raised

Vice Chairman of Cargill, Paul Conway, emphasised the importance of secure land ownership: “The number one thing here isn’t technology, it isn’t finance, it’s security of tenure of the land, which is absolutely critical.”

And Monsanto’s CEO Hugh Grant played down the importance of genetic modification in improving crop yields in Africa, from 20 bushels of grain per hectare to India’s typical level of 100 bushels.

“There is no reason Africa shouldn’t be close to India, it’s all small-holder agriculture. Why is it 20 today and not 90? Now forget biotech, that’s eminently achievable with some sensible husbandry and land reform ownership, the tools are in hand today.”

“We have set goals to double yields in the next 30 years with a third less water, agriculture gets through an enormous amount of water. The first 70 per cent of which goes to agriculture, the next 30 per cent goes to Coke, Pepsi, swimming pools and everything you drink and all of industry, and that isn’t sustainable.

We believe our sole focus on agriculture is vital as the world looks to produce enough nutritious food to feed a growing population while conserving, or even decreasing, the use of precious natural inputs such as land, water and energy.”

Farmers ‘invisible and irrelevant’

But Mariam Mayet, Director of African Safety for Biosafety – which campaigns against genetic engineering, privatisation, industrialisation and private sector control of African agriculture – was not convinced.

To the constellation of famous speakers and corporate representatives, she said, small farmers were a simple obstruction to progress:

“We know that all of African farmers are invisible and irrelevant to those at this summit. These producers are seen as inefficient and backwards, and if they have any role at all, it is to be forced out of agriculture to becoming mere passive consumers of industrial food products.

“Africa is seen as a possible new frontier to make profits, with an eye on land, food and biofuels in particular.

“The recent investment wave must be understood in the context of consolidation of a global food regime dominated by large corporations in input supply such as seed and agrochemicals especially, but also increasingly in processing, storage, trading and distribution.

“Currently African food security rests fundamentally on small-scale and localised production. The majority of the African population continue to rely on agriculture as an important, if not the main, source of income and livelihoods.”

Can the chasm be bridged?

If we take the sentiments expressed by corporate bosses at face value – and why not? – then we do not see any overt determination to destroy Africa’s small farmers. On the contrary, they want to help them to farm better, more productively and efficiently, and more profitably.

And perhaps we should not be surprised. After all that suits their interests, to have a growing and prosperous farming sector in Africa that can both buy their products and produce reliable surpluses for sale on global food markets.

The rather harder question is, what about those farmers who lack the technical or entrepreneurial ability, the education, the desire, the extent of land, the security of land tenure, to join that profitable export-oriented sector? And who simply want to carry on as mainly subsistence farmers, supporting their families, producing only small surpluses for local sale?

The small subsistence farmer has no place

Stop and think about it, and the answer is obvious. They have no place in the new vision of agriculture that is sweeping across the continent, with the generous support of British aid money.

Their role in this process is to be forced off their land – whether expelled by force or by market forces – and deliver it up to their more successful neighbour, the corporation, the urban agricultural entrepreneur, to farm it at profit for the market.

And then, either to leave their village homes and join the displaced masses in Africa’s growing cities, or to stay on as landless workers, serving their new masters.

This all represents ‘economic progress’ and increases in net production. But look behind the warm words – and many millions of small farmers that were once merely poor, will be propelled into destitution, the chaff of a neoliberal market revolution as pitiless as it is powerful.

Is this really how the UK’s aid funds should be invested?

Sophie Morlin-Yron is a freelance journalist.

Oliver Tickell edits The Ecologis

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2287243/africas_farm_revolution_who_will_benefit.html

 

A landmark G8 initiative to boost agriculture and relieve poverty has been damned as a new form of colonialism after African governments agreed to change seed, land and tax laws to favour private investors over small farmers.

Ten countries made more than 200 policy commitments, including changes to laws and regulations after giant agribusinesses were granted unprecedented access to decision-makers over the past two years.

The pledges will make it easier for companies to do business in Africathrough the easing of export controls and tax laws, and through governments ringfencing huge chunks of land for investment.

The Ethiopian government has said it will “refine” its land law to encourage long-term land leases and strengthen the enforcement of commercial farm contracts. In Malawi, the government has promised to set aside 200,000 hectares of prime land for commercial investors by 2015, and in Ghana, 10,000 hectares will be made available for investment by the end of next year. In Nigeria, promises include the privatisation of power companies.

A Guardian analysis of companies’ plans under the initiative suggests dozens of investments are for non-food crops, including cotton, biofuels and rubber, or for projects explicitly targeting export markets.

Companies were invited to the table through the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition initiative that pledges to accelerate agricultural production and lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022.

But small farmers, who are supposed to be the main beneficiaries of the programme, have been shut out of the negotiations.

Olivier de Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said governments had been making promises to investors “completely behind the screen”, with “no long-term view about the future of smallholder farmers” and without their participation.

He described Africa as the last frontier for large-scale commercialfarming. “There’s a struggle for land, for investment, for seed systems, and first and foremost there’s a struggle for political influence,” he said.

Zitto Kabwe, the chairman of the Tanzanian parliament’s public accountscommittee, said he was “completely against” the commitments his government has made to bolster private investment in seeds.

“By introducing this market, farmers will have to depend on imported seeds. This will definitely affect small farmers. It will also kill innovation at the local level. We have seen this with manufacturing,” he said.

“It will be like colonialism. Farmers will not be able to farm until they import, linking farmers to [the] vulnerability of international prices. Big companies will benefit. We should not allow that.”

Tanzania’s tax commitments would also benefit companies rather than small farmers, he said, adding that the changes proposed would have to go through parliament. “The executive cannot just commit to these changes. These are sensitive issues. There has to be enough debate,” he said.

Million Belay, the head of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), said the initiative could spell disaster for small farmers in Africa. “It clearly puts seed production and distribution in the hands of companies,” he said.

“The trend is for companies to say they cannot invest in Africa without new laws … Yes, agriculture needs investment, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to bring greater control over farmers’ lives.

“More than any other time in history, the African food production system is being challenged. More than any other time in history outside forces are deciding the future of our farming systems.”

AFSA has also denounced the G8 initiative as ushering in a new wave of colonialism on the continent.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/feb/18/g8-new-alliance-condemned-new-colonialism

Stop Clearing Oromo from their Land in the Name of Boosting Economic Development: Who Will Stand for the Oromo People Living on the Outskirts of Finfinnee? February 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Aannolee and Calanqo, Africa, African Poor, Aid to Africa, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Finfinnee, Food Production, Gadaa System, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Humanity and Social Civilization, ICC, Ideas, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Nubia, Ogaden, Omo, Oromia, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo First, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Sirna Gadaa, Slavery, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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It is to be recalled that Finfinnee (Addis Ababa) was founded as the present capital city the so called Ethiopian in 1886 by a man called Minilik II. During this time, the area was inhabited by the Oromo people and the area was almost covered with natural forest. Initially the Shawa government made it seat at Ankober. Hence, before the founding of Finfinee as a political and economic capital of the king, all the areas within the present Finfinnee and the surround areas was free like any other Oromia lands. However, after 1886 the Semitic people from the northern segments and others had taken the land and the Oromo people who were used to live in these areas were forced lost their land through time.

For example, according to Central Statistics Agency of Ethiopia (2007) Out of the 2,738,248 100% total population living in Finfinnee, the total number of the Oromo people living in the city was only 534,255 (19.51%). Since its founding as a capital, Finfinnee remained the capital city for the successive Ethiopian regimes (Menilik II, Lij Eyassu, Zawuditu, Hailesillasse I, Mengistu, Melles and HaileMariam). Through time, the number of inhabitants increased and urbanization expanded greatly. The deliberate and implicitly planned mission and decision of the Semitic people to erase any sign of Oromo history from Finfinnee was started during the forcefully integration of Oromo people into Ethiopia as second-class citizens and the process has continued in the present government.

Different people mostly from the northern part of the so called Ethiopia have come from the various ethnic groups come and settled in the capital owing to its supper suitable agro-climatic and exploit the natural within the outside today’s Finfinne from the near distance in the name of work and investment. Where did those Oromo farmers go when Finfinnee became the property of new invaders? Be in mind that the Oromo’s are pushed to the peripheral areas of the capital and the number of Oromo people inhabitants decreased from time to time, as the above data depicts. The indigenous people of the land were pushed out one after the other and were replaced by the invaders from the north. What is happening to the Oromo people living on the outskirt of Finfinne today? It is simply the continuation of a process, which had resulted in a massive displacement of an indigenous Oromo people.

B. The New Master Plan of Fifinnee and Areas to be Incorporated

For the last 100 or so years the Master Plan of Finfinnee city was revised several times. The recent proposal of preparing new Master Plan for City administration that planned to incorporates all the towns and districts lying within the range of 1 hour commuting distance from the Finfinnee, justifies the blatant violation of the constitution and their voracious appetite to systematically replacing resource and land deficient people to these fertile lands owned by the Oromo people. According to the proposed plan of established the “Integrated Regional Development Plan”, an additional 36 towns and 17 districts currently administered by the Oromia regional State will be merged with Finfinnee so that the right of the land use will be determined by the central mayor .

The new Master Plan was intended to incorporate Oromia’s land locating in 100kms around the Finfinnee city. According to Ethiopia Government preparation, the following 36 Towns and 17 Districts are included in the newly planned Master plan. (See the figure 1.)

Some of the Towns are: Adama, Sodere, Mojo, Wenji Adama, Ejere, Alem Tena, Koka, Adulala, Bushoftu, Dukem, Gelen, Akaki Beseka, Godino, Chefe Donsa, Sebeta , Sendafa, Milkewa, Wendoda, Sirti, Duber,Gorfo, Chancho, Mulo, Debra,Muger , Ulo, Adis Alem, Holota, Burayu,Debre Genet, Illu Teji, Tefki, Sebeta, Boneya, Melka Kunture and etc.
Some of the Districts areas are: Adama, Dodota, Bora, Lome, Liben chukala, Adea (around Bushoftu), Akaki, Gimbichu, Bereh(around Sebeta), Aleltu, Jida, Sulultu, Ejere, Welmera, Illu, Sebeta Hawas and etc.
Today, when the world is concerned about preserving ecology and wild life in their natural habitat, it is an Ethiopian Government that is clearing an indigenous Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Economic Development. Hence, who should stand and speak for these innocent people and argue to preserve the right of the extremely vulnerable Oromo people living in the proposed territories and to preserve the indigenous Oromo people, culture, Languages and etc. Otherwise sooner than latter these great people will be marginalized and lost their identities.

Finfinee
Figure 1: The newly Developed and proposed Master Plan of the tomorrow’s Finfinne over the coming 25 years

C. The Agenda behind the “Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP)”

An office called “Addis Ababa and the surrounding Oromia Integrated Development Plan” prepared an International and National Conference on June 2013 at Adama Town, Galma Abba Gadaa. The Objective of organizing the conference of the top ranking government cadres (mostly OPDO’s) was to work on the manifesting of the proposed Integrated Regional Development Plan (IRDP) and prepare the cadre’s to work on the people.

On the Conference, it was stated that, the Purposes of the “IRDP” are:

Instrumental to unleashing Regional Development Potentials
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Enables localities addressing their mutual development challenges
Strengthens complementarities and interconnection of localities
These purposes can be the explicit or clear objectives of the plan. However, the plan have hidden or implicit agenda. Systematically bringing the land under their custody so that, it will sooner or later scramble among their impoverished people in their region. For example, the Finfinnee City Administration and Finfinnee Special Zone can address their mutual development challenges without being incorporated into one master plan. However, the Master plan is not prepared on mutual benefit as the plan is solely prepared by Finfinnee City Administration, despite the name of the office. Hence, though development is boldly emphasized, the main purpose seems to clear the Oromo farmers from their lands in the name of unfair Economic Development.

It was also stated that the Pillars of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:

Regional Infrastructure Networks
Natural Resource and Environment Stewardship
Cross – Boundary Investments/ e.g FDI)
Joint Regional Projects
However, there seem hidden agenda behind these pillars. For example, in the name of cross-Boundary Investments, local Oromo farmers are going to lose their land for the so-called “investors” and under the pretext of promoting national economy through FDI initiatives In addition, if the plan is going to be realized natural and environmental degradation is inevitable.

In addition, the Basic Principles of the Integrated Regional Development Plan are:

Ensuring Mutual Benefits
A joint development Framework – not a substitute for local plans
An Integrated Regional Plan voluntarily accepted by participating partners
Differences resolved through negotiation and under in-win scenario
Nevertheless, the plan will not ensure a mutual benefit at it is largely intended to displace Oromo farmers from their land. In additions, the populations of the two areas are not homogenous. Hence, they have no common interest. Even though it is said the “IRDP’ will be voluntarily accepted by participating partners, the top cadres in Oromia themselves have strongly opposed the plan on the conference. Beside, the implicit objective of the plan is to remove/avoid the differences in language and culture there by to plant “Ethiopianism or Tigreans” on Oromo land. The plan is intended to say good bye to Oromo Culture and language. The other thing is that the differences between Oromo and others cannot be resolved as it is intended to eradicate Oromo identity, culture and language. As we know from history, Oromo’s never compromised on these issues. Hence, if the plan is to be implemented, peaceful co-existence may not be there.

D. Problems that may come because of the Integrated Regional Development Plan

As different sources shown, many Oromo’s living in Special Zone has already lost their land in the name of foreign direct investment and land grasping. This is because of several fa3ctories are constructed in the special zone by taking the Lands from local Oromo farmers. It is not new to see Oromo labor workers or guards in their own land. Family members are highly displaced by this measure. Many went to street. Not only the displaced Oromos damaged by this. It is said chemical coming out of the factories are also hurting the health of the remaining Oromos. It is said that “In Central Oromia, thousands of people and their livestock died due to the industrial pollution directly released to rivers and lakes.”

Taking the above as an experience, there also different reasons why the newly Master plan of Finfinne should not be implemented on Oromo people. Some of the reasons are:

1. It will bring Extreme Poverty: It is inevitable that the local Oromo farmers lost their land in the name of investment and urbanization. This means that the Oromos are systematically cleaned from their own land, as they were cleaned from Finfinnee in earlier days. Hence, the local farmers lose their land which is part of their permanent asset. After the lose their land, the farmers will going to work for 300 birrr in the factory or serve as house servant or home guard, which is already started. By doing so, the farmers face extreme poverty. In addition, the gap between rich and poor will very high. For example, one writer described the impact of “investment” saying:

“The current regime has sold out more than 3 million hectares of fertile land to the foreigner investors after forcefully displacing Oromo farmers from their ancestral land. The grabbing of land ended the indigenous people without shelter and foods. This displacement of the Oromo people accompanied by limitless human rights violations set the Oromo to be the vast number of immigrants in the Horn of Africa.”

2. Family displacement and disintegration: Members of a family will be displaced and disintegrated as a result of loosing their land. In addition, the workers of Finfinnee special zone will be displaced as they are working in Afan Oromo.

3. Abuse of constitutional rights: After long year of struggle and sacrifice of thousands of Life, Afan Oromo given constitution right to be used in administration, school and other sectors in Oromia region. This is one of the basic objectives that Oromos has been struggling. However, if the master plan is going to be implemented, working language of Finfinnee City, Amharic, is going to be used in the areas. By doing so, the local people will be forced to learn new language to use it for different purpose. The measure will take back Oromo to the “Atse” region. The Federal Constitution states “Every people, nation and nationality have the right to speak, to write and to develop their own language, as well as to express, to develop and to promote their culture and history.Article 39” will be clearly violated. The Oromo living in Finfinnee Special Zone will lose the rights that the FDRE constitution guarantees them.

4. Academic and psychological impacts on Oromo students: If the newly proposed master plan of Finfinnee City is going to be implemented, Oromo students living in the surrounding area will attend their education in Amharic, which is second language to the students. It is strongly argued that using the native languages of students as a medium of instruction is a decisive factor for effective learning However, this situation, failure to give a role to native languages and largely depending on second/foreign language instruction, brought various difficulties to students. The students are expected to entangle not only with learning the subject matters but also the language itself. It also creates difficulty to students in expressing themselves and as a result it limits their classroom participation as there is fear of making mistakes. In addition, it is a barrier to smooth classroom communication. It is also argued that use of a second/foreign language in education negatively affects the ability and the ease with which knowledge is acquired by students. It also affects the performance of students and creates difficulties in developing their cognitive skills. Moreover, giving low status to native languages of students in educational setting leads to marginalization of majority of the citizens from active engagement in the development arena. In general, the master plan will have negative impacts on Oromo students in various academic aspects.

5. Impact on Identity and Culture of Local Oromo People: The new plan will make Oromos to lose their identity and culture, like the previous regimes did. This is because people having different identity and culture are going to settle on Oromo land. The settlers will push out the Oromo identity and replace by their own. The Oromo’s will have very limited opportunity to exercise their cultural value and linguistic form. The language and cultural development will be also hampered by the new plan.

6. Economic impact: If the master plan is going to be realized, the Finfinnee City Adminstration will control all economic aspects of the areas. The income that is collected from different factories will be taken. The Oromiya government will loose great income to Finfinnee city administration.

7. Impact on Natural Resource and Environment: As the result of the plan, there will be overspread ground and surface water pollution. In addition, there will be severe deforestation and natural resource depletion.

8. Cutting Oromia into East and West Regions: The new Master Plan of Finfinne city will cut the current Oromia into two parts i.e. Eastern and Western. This is because the Central and great part of Oromia is proposed to be taken and incorporated into Finfinnee. Hence, the Central part that joins East and West will be taken.

D. What Should be done to Save the Oromo People around Finfinnee

As shown above, the master plan is so disadvantage for Oromia. In general, if we see the plan, it will affect local Oromo people in various aspects. However, the government who is supposed to represent the Oromo people is unable to see the danger. So we kindly ask the Oromos at home and Diaspora and other concerned bodies to forward ways and mechanisms to stop the intended plan. We ask the Oromo people and international communities, who will stand for the Oromo’s living around Finfinnee??

If we read an honest history of the present and past Governments of Ethiopia, we would conclude that the present Government is truly facing a difficult dilemma. At the dawn of the 21st century, we can neither run away from ourselves nor hide our realities. We have to face our generation and the historical realities of our time. It is undeniable that today, people demand respect for their human and national rights. Above all, people will not rest until their identity and their sovereignty over what is theirs is ensured. These are the peoples’ most burning issues. They realize that they have to make utmost effort of their own. It is within the context of the above-mentioned framework that the Oromo people resolutely demand their rights and freedom. It is to those who want to deny the rights and freedoms of the people that we are most bitterly opposed. It is a crime to deny the national identity and sovereignty of a people no matter how sophisticated the tactics used to do so. It is equally wrong to see the national desire of a people from a selfish perspective. It is based on the above concepts and precepts that the Oromo people continue their unceasing and bitter struggle against being treated as second class citizens. We know that our struggle is just for it is motivated by our desire to preserve our dignity and identity as a people.

We, the sons and daughters of the Oromo people, strenuously oppose the implementation of new Master Plan for Finfinne administration because we fully understand the historical development of the desire of other people to displace the Oromo people in order to benefit the non-Oromo new comers and their lackeys in this country. This highly orchestrated conspiracy, the present Oromo generation shall not tolerate at any cost. It will steadfastly and resolutely resist the conspiracy.

We also request international communities to put pressure on FDRE/TPLF Government and Finfinnee City Administration to stop the proposed Master Plan, which directly or indirectly harm the Oromo people.

We call on the Federal Government of Ethiopia, House of Peoples’ Representatives, the Federation Council, the Oromia Council to stop clearing Oromo people from their home Land in the name of inequitable Development and replacing others on their land.

Please generate comments as many as possible on what should be done about the plan.

May Waaq Gurraacha help us!

From: Sabbontoota Oromoo, Oromia.

We are always Oromo First!!!!

Sabbontoota Oromo can be reached at sabboontotaaoromo@yahoo.in

http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/stop-clearing-oromo-from-their-land-in-the-name-of-boosting-economic-development/?fb_action_ids=10152023934163952&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B454544934645241%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

 

Ethiopia: Raya under destruction

by Teumay Debesay | February 13, 2014
rayaRaya refers a tract of land stretching from Ala wuha in the south to Alaje in the north. That is bigger than Adwa and Axum awrajas combined. Historically, this is where the Weyane rebellion started in 1928 as a spontaneous reaction to a repressive system of the time. Originating in their present day Kobo wereda, the revolt would quickly spread to cover the entire Raya and Wejerat provinces. Later, the inhabitants of Enderta joined the revolt and a sort of quasi-organized alliance was formed after a decade of Raya and Wejerat rebellion. This alliance, Weyane, would emerge so potent that by its heyday it practically liberated the provinces of Raya, Wejerat and Enderta. The imperial government with the support of British Air force resorted to aerial bombardment of the rebel held areas which caused a wide-spread damage, including complete erasure of villages. However, the most detrimental factor that actually caused the demise of Weyane was to come from none other than Adwa people. In 1943, Dejazmach Gebrehiwot Meshesha along with a dozen of Adwans exploited the trust vested on them to assassinate the leaders of the Weyane movement. This is significant for in the Ethiopian tradition, at least until then, if one manages to kill the leader one will win the battle. Meshesha and co. breach of the traditional trust and value was so venomous that even to this date mistrust and resentment runs high in Raya. It is to be noted that if not for Meshesha of Adwa, the people were in a very strong bargaining position and if one has to look how similar revolts in Bale and other regions were resolved, the rebels demand for better governance was within reach. As a thank you for their contribution, Meshesha and his fellow Adwans were rewarded heavily by Haileselasse while a series of punitive attacks continued on the ‘originators’ of Weyane and ultimately Raya was divided between Wollo and Tigray.
When the TPLF started the armed insurrection in Ethiopia, it took little time to transform itself as an Adwa-only club by the same inherited act of treachery. The legacy of resentment that Meshesha and co. left means TPLF-Adwa had hard time to set foot in Raya. Hence, they needed to come up with a trick and did it so by cosmetically inserting the word Weyane in the Tigrigna version of its name. Taken with the harsher realities under DERG, Rayans reluctantly sided with TPLF on the principle of the lesser devil. Soon, tens of thousands of Raya youth joined the TPLF, including forming the majority and the backbone of Hadush “Hayelom” Ariaya’s fighting force that brought the little known“Hayelom” into prominence. However, if the experience of my village is anything, it is fair to conclude that almost all the Raya recruits ended up as cannon fodders. Those who survived, especially the independent and rational ones, would have never escaped the Meles-Sebhat death squad. In Raya, for example, it is not uncommon to talk to your relative TPLF fighter over the phone in the morning only to be notified of his death of “natural” consequences on the same day. I will say more on the motives next time. But for now, I want to draw your attention to the following Table, which is taken from the 1994 and 2007 population census of Ethiopia. I think this illustrates how the Raya and Adwa are faring under the TPLF-Adwa administration.
Table 1: Population of Raya and Adwa awraja towns in 1994 and 2007 census

Clearly, 7 towns (Robit, Gobiye, Waja, Mersa, Korem, Wedisemro, Chelena) of Raya from the total 11, i.e., 64% of the town that existed in the 1994 Census Ethiopia have died or are dying.  Well, with Adwa awraja towns the figures show a hard-to-believe growth registering as ridiculous as 1033% for Gerhusenay, Idegaarbi(377%), Nebelet(266%); even noticeable is the emergence of a novel city (Diobdibo) in the 2007 census, attesting to the developmental and modernization campaigns  in Adwa rural areas as well. The bar graph of the rate at which towns are expanding (Adwa) or shrinking (Raya) shown below can only be a proof that in the so-called Tigray “killil” both, depending on the area, de-constructive and constructive policies are in operation. To the unsuspecting, it may occur that this might have to do with the pre-1991 TPLF bandit caused civil war. However, it is not quite so for, for instance, there was no single bomb that was dropped on Adwa towns nor was a confrontation in populated areas in the entire Adwa awraja. There was insignificant causality as far as the civilian population of Adwa is concerned for the TPLF military engagement tactic in Adwa/Axum area was totally different from the rest awrajas. For example, Korem town alone might have received far more arial bombardment than the entire Adwa awraja. From SehulMikael (the Godfather of Ethiopia’s disintegration), to Meshesha-Sebhat-Meles-Sebhat(again), there exist very little dissimilarity.Raya-under-destruction2Right now, Alamata, the only remaining city not to die fast enough as Adwans would have liked to see, is under open destruction. The residents never complained on the absence of developmental activity but never expected that the Adwa administration of the city will come-up with a destruction agenda. Surprised by the revelation, the unsuspecting residents went to Mekelle to air their grievances in the hope that the big men there might be rational and take proper action. However, Abay Woldu’s administration did not give it a second to listen; just ordered more Bulldozers, armored tanks and a battalion to effectively carry out the planned destruction. Worse, those who complained the demolishing of their belonging are rounded-up and now languish in Adwa operated secret Tigrayan jails
Reference:

  1. Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Tigray region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 11
  2. Central Statistical Authority Ethiopia: The 1994 populaion and Housing Census of Ethiopia. Results for Amhara Region, Volume 1, Statistical report.Table 2.2, Page 13
  3. The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Tigray Region, Table 2.1, page 7
  4. The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Amhara Region, Table 2.2, page 11

http://ethiofreespeech.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/ethiopia-raya-under-destruction.html?spref=fb

Repression of the Oromo and the State of Freedom in Ethiopia: Freedom House’s Annual 2013 Survey January 23, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Land Grabs in Africa, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Slavery, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized.
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Ethiopia’s 2013 SCORES

STATUS:

Not Free

FREEDOM RATING : 6.0

(1 = BEST, 7 = WORST)

CIVIL LIBERTIES: 6.0

(1 = BEST, 7 = WORST)

POLITICAL RIGHTS: 6.0

(1 = BEST, 7 = WORST)

“The government tends to favor Tigrayan ethnic interests in economic and political matters, and the EPRDF is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Repression of the Oromo and ethnic Somalis, and government attempts to co-opt their parties into subsidiaries of the EPRDF, have fueled nationalism in both the Oromia and Ogaden regions.” -Freedom House

Ethiopia is not an electoral democracy. Parliament is made up of a 108-seat upper house, the House of Federation, and a 547-seat lower house, the House of People’s Representatives. The lower house is filled through popular elections, while the upper chamber is selected by the state legislatures, with both serving five-year terms. The lower house selects the prime minister, who holds most executive power, and the president, a largely ceremonial figure who serves up to two six-year terms. All of these institutions are dominated by the EPRDF, which tightly controlled the 2010 elections and the succession process following the death of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2012. While the 1995 constitution grants the right of secession to ethnically-based states, the government acquired powers in 2003 to intervene in states’ affairs on issues of public security.

Corruption is a significant problem in Ethiopia. EPRDF officials reportedly receive preferential access to credit, land leases, and jobs. Petty corruption extends to lower level officials, who allegedly solicit bribes in return for processing documents. In a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Transparency International (TI) in 2011, 64 percent of respondents reported having had to pay a bribe to customs officials, and 55 percent to a member of the judiciary. Ethiopia was ranked 113 out of 176 countries surveyed in TI’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.

The media are dominated by state-owned broadcasters and government-oriented newspapers. One of the few independent papers in the capital, Addis Neger, closed in 2009, claiming harassment by the authorities. Privately-owned papers tend to steer clear of political issues and have low circulations. A 2008 media law criminalizes defamation and allows prosecutors to seize material before publication in the name of national security.

Journalists reporting on opposition activities face serious harassment and the threat of prosecution under the country’s sweeping 2009 Antiterrorism Proclamation. In July 2012, six journalists were convicted of terrorism. While five were convicted in absentia, the sixth, Eskinder Nega, received 18 years in prison. The judge said that he had consorted with the political group, Ginbot 7, a designated terrorist entity in Ethiopia. The United States, European Union and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed dismay at the verdicts. In other cases, the courts reduced sentences handed out to journalists convicted of terrorism. In August, a columnist with the Feteh weekly newspaper had her 14-year sentence reduced to 5 years; while in September, two Swedish journalists who had received 11-year sentences in 2011 for assisting the ONLF were pardoned.

Due to the risks of operating inside Ethiopia, many of the country’s journalists work in exile. The Committee to Protect Journalists says that Ethiopia has driven 79 journalists into exile in the past decade, more than any other nation. The authorities use high-tech jamming equipment to filter and block news websites seen as pro-opposition. Legislation adopted in May criminalizes the use of telecommunications devices to transmit any “terrorizing message.” Critics said the vaguely worded law also effectively banned the use of Skype and other voice-over-internet protocol services that cannot be closely monitored by the government.

The constitution guarantees religious freedom, but the government has increasingly harassed the Muslim community, which has grown to rival the Ethiopian Orthodox Church as the country’s largest religious group. Muslim groups accuse the government of trying to impose the beliefs of an obscure Islamic sect, al-Ahbash, at the expense of the dominant Sufi-influenced strain of Islam. Before his death, Meles said the Muslim community was a source of extremism, claiming it had links to Al-Qaeda.

Academic freedom is restricted. The government has accused universities of being pro-opposition and prohibits political activities on campuses. There have been reports of students being pressured into joining the EPRDF in order to secure places at universities.

The presence of the EPRDF at all levels of society inhibits free private discussion. Many people are wary of speaking against the government for fear of being overheard by party officials. The EPRDF maintains a network of paid informants, and opposition politicians have accused the government of tapping their telephones.

Freedoms of assembly and association are guaranteed by the constitution but limited in practice. Organizers of large public meetings must request permission from the authorities 48 hours in advance. Applications by opposition groups are routinely denied. Peaceful demonstrations were held outside mosques in July 2012, but the security forces responded violently, detaining protestors, including several prominent Muslim leaders. A total of 29 Muslims were eventually charged with offences under the antiterrorism law. They were awaiting trial at year’s end.

The 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation restricts the activities of foreign NGOs by prohibiting work on political and human rights issues. Foreign NGOs are defined as groups receiving more than 10 percent of their funding from abroad, a classification that captures most domestic organizations as well. NGOs have struggled to maintain operations as a result of the law, which also requires them to reregister with the authorities. According to Justice Ministry figures, there were 3,522 registered NGOs before the law was passed and 1,655 afterward. In 2010, the Human Rights Council (HRCO) and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association had their bank accounts frozen for violating the rules on receiving foreign funds. An appeal against the ruling by the HRCO was rejected by the Supreme Court in October 2012.

Trade union rights are tightly restricted. All unions must be registered, and the government retains the authority to cancel registration. Two-thirds of union members belong to organizations affiliated with the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, which is under government influence. Independent unions face harassment. There has not been a legal strike since 1993.

The judiciary is officially independent, but its judgments rarely deviate from government policy. The Antiterrorism Proclamation gives great discretion to the security forces, allowing the detention of suspects for up to four months without charge. It was used in 2011 to detain more than 100 members of opposition parties; terrorist suspects were denied legal assistance while they awaited trial. A total of 31 people have been convicted under the law, 12 of them journalists. Conditions in Ethiopia’s prisons are harsh, and detainees frequently report abuse.

The government tends to favor Tigrayan ethnic interests in economic and political matters, and the EPRDF is dominated by the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front. Repression of the Oromo and ethnic Somalis, and government attempts to co-opt their parties into subsidiaries of the EPRDF, have fueled nationalism in both the Oromia and Ogaden regions. Persistent claims that war crimes have been committed by government troops in the Ogaden are difficult to verify, as independent media are barred from the region. However, Human Rights Watch accused government paramilitaries of executing 10 men during an operation in the Gashaamo district in March 2012.

Private business opportunities are limited by rigid state control of economic life and the prevalence of state-owned enterprises. All land must be leased from the state. The government has evicted indigenous groups from various areas to make way for projects such as hydroelectric dams. It has also leased large tracts of land to foreign governments and investors for agricultural development in opaque deals. Up to 70,000 people have been forced to move from the western Gambella region, although the government denies the resettlement plans are connected to land investments. Journalists and international organizations have persistently alleged that the government has withheld development assistance from villages perceived as being unfriendly to the ruling party.

Women are relatively well represented in Parliament, having won 152 seats in the lower house in the 2010 elections. Legislation protects women’s rights, but they are routinely violated in practice. Enforcement of the law against rape and domestic abuse is patchy, with cases routinely stalling in the courts. Forced child labor is a significant problem, particularly in the agricultural sector. Same-sex sexual activity is prohibited by law and punishable with imprisonment.
The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to the latest edition of Freedom House’s annual survey, ‘Freedom in the World.’

Read Further @:
Report Link: http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2013/ethiopia#.UuFm1tLFLf8
http://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/freedom-world-2014

High quality version of the map: http://www.freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/MapofFreedom2014.pdf

Country ratings: http://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FIW%202014%20Scores%20-%20Countries%20and%20Territories.pdf

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The genocidal Ethiopia and Its Janjaweed Style Liyu Police: The Killings of 59 Oromo Men, Women and Children, The Wounding of 42 Others, the Confiscation of Property and the Forcible Removal of People from Their Ancestral Land in Eastern Oromia January 19, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Environment, Ethnic Cleansing, Food Production, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, ICC, Janjaweed Style Liyu Police of Ethiopia, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Nelson Mandela, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Identity, Oromo Nation, Oromo Social System, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, Slavery, South Sudan, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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Oromo Studies Association’s (OSA’s) Letter to U.S. Secretary of State on the Killings of 59 and Wounding of 42 Oromos in Eastern Oromia by Ethiopian-Trained “Liyu Police”:

January 17, 2014

The Honorable John F. Kerry
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC20520

Subject: The killings of 59 Oromo men, women and children, the wounding of 42 others, the confiscation of property and the forcible removal of people from their ancestral land in eastern Ethiopia

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Oromo Studies Association, an independent scholarly, multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization based in North American. My purpose is to bring to your attention and to protest on behalf of the members of OSA a crime committed against the Oromo in Eastern Ethiopia, that is, the killings of 59 Oromo men, women and children, the wounding of 42 others and the confiscation/destruction of property with an estimated value of Eth$14,726,000 in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. These acts of extreme and unprovoked violence, killings, violent wounding, burning of houses and confiscation of cattle and other property of the Oromo citizens in eastern Oromia zone, were committed by Ethiopian government-trained special Somali militia forces known as “Liyu Police” (translation: Special Police Force). The Ethiopian regime arms Somali in that region while disarming Oromo farmers. These actions of deliberately arming one people while equally deliberately disarming the other and, thus, by creating conflict between formerly closely related people – groups who have lived peacefully as neighbors for centuries – goes beyond abdicating governmental responsibility. It is a heinous crime that this government commits against peoples within its jurisdictional borders. The world regards these victims as citizens of Ethiopia, but they are being seriously mistreated with no proper defense available.

In the past several months, there has been a new wave of killing of Oromo nationals in particular who reside in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. Targeted Oromo victims suffer also the confiscation of their property and removal by the thousand of residents from their ancestral lands. This is a miserable new policy which constitutes nothing less than a strategy for creating a blood feud between the two culturally related people, namely, the Oromo and Somali in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. In the sacred land of their birth, Oromo children, women and unarmed men are killed systematically by Ethiopian government Special Police forces. Once the slaughter is completed, these government-equipped forces then callously deny their victims even decent burial, which, in itself, is a crime against humanity.

The Ethiopian government is responsible for inflicting a great deal of harm and damage on defenseless Oromo peasants through this practice of arming Somali against disarmed Oromo farmers by building special police force comprised of Somalis. This appears to be a continuation of the callously inhuman policy of the Ethiopian regime that led to the removal of Oromo peasants from seven major ancestral regions covering extensive territories in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. Most OSA members are Oromo Americans, who closely follow events in the region and whose findings are confirmed by the reports of pain and suffering of their families – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, relatives and friends – who were killed, wounded and displaced, and whose livelihood was destroyed by Ethiopian government Special Police forces made up of Somali armed by the regime.

The Oromo Studies Association, OSA, was established 26 years ago by international scholars from around the globe to promote studies related and relevant to the Oromo and other peoples in the Horn of Africa. In its attempt to create academic forums where ideas and research findings about the Oromo and other people of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa are freely discussed, OSA has established a peer-reviewed Journal of Oromo Studies, other periodic publications, as well as organizing regular mid-year and annual conferences. OSA has been involved in building a knowledge base for creating a democratic future for the peoples of Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. In our scholarly organization Somali and Oromo scholars work together. The Journal of Oromo Studies publishes research papers on Somali studies. Our goal is to strengthen historical relations between the two related peoples.

You may be surprised to learn that Oromia, the Oromo regional state in Ethiopia, is the largest, the richest and the most densely populated regional state in Ethiopia. Because the Oromo constitute the single largest national group in Ethiopia – and in the entire region – they are regarded as the greatest threat to the ruling minority group, dominated by members historically affiliated with the Tigrayan Liberation Front (TPLF). The current government is dominated by Tigrayans persons whose ethnicity represents less than seven percent of the population of Ethiopia. Current Ethiopian government policies, which target populations on the basis of ethnicity, are best understood in light of a history of ethnic politics and ethnic discrimination. Arming Somalis to destroy Oromo in order to confiscate their lands and other resources continues ethnic politics in its most brutal form.

Oromo do not have powerful friends in the western world who bring the injustices that they suffer to the attention of international community. The Oromo Studies Association requests that you respond to our voice as a voice of conscience uttered to the international community. We urge that you immediately put pressure on the Ethiopian regime to desist from driving Oromo out their ancestral land in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia. We request that the State Department under your able leadership look into this critical matter take effective action while there is time to reverse a criminal policy and save the lives and livelihood of vulnerable populations in Eastern Ethiopia.

In the light of the issue raised which is only the most recent of an ongoing series of violent attacks on Oromo farmers in eastern Oromia zone during 2013, the Oromo Studies Association (OSA) urgently requests that the State Department utilize its good offices to seek justice by putting pressure on the Ethiopian government to:

• Stop immediately the Liyu Police attacks on Oromo farmers in the eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Return, without delay, those who were forcibly driven from their ancestral lands in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Bring to speedy trial those who ordered the Liyu Police force to attack, killing 59 defenseless Oromo children, men and women and wounding 42 others while confiscating or destroying property estimated at Eth$14,726,000.

• Pay compensation for the lives lost and the property confiscated from those defenseless Oromo farmers in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia.

• Urge the Ethiopian government officials to stop the forcible removal of thousands of Oromo farmers from their ancestral lands in eastern Oromia zone of Ethiopia and make sure that such measures will never be repeated in Oromia or other parts of Ethiopia.

• Advise the leaders of the Ethiopian government to abandon the cruel and crude policy of disarming Oromo while unleashing the special police force on defenseless children, men and women.

• Strongly urge the leaders of the Ethiopian government to respect and implement the provisions in their own Constitution, which officially guarantees respect for human rights and democratic governance.

The Oromo Studies Association requests that the State Department, under your leadership, set an example by taking the above measures in a timely fashion.

You have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of Oromo and other people in Ethiopia. Our scholarly association appreciates your good efforts in this regard.

Sincerely,

Ibrahim Elemo, President
Oromo Studies Association
P.O.Box: 6541
Minneapolis, MN 55406-0541
E-mail: ielemo@weisshospital.com

CC:
Ambassador Girma Birru
Embassy of FDRE, Washington, D.C
3506 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General
Office of the Secretary General of United Nations
885 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10017, USA

Mr. David Cameron, Prime Minister of UK
10 Downing Street, London, UK

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

http://gadaa.com/oduu/23953/2014/01/19/oromo-studies-associations-osas-letter-to-u-s-secretary-of-state-on-the-killings-of-59-and-wounding-of-42-oromos-in-eastern-oromia-by-ethiopian-trained-liyu-police/#.Uts92fi_TfU.facebook

Liyu Police is Ethiopia’s (TPLF’s) style of  Janjaweed to conduct genocide against the Oromo people.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1003597/Janjaweed

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer

Economy: South Africa At Top Of wealth List For Africa, Ethiopia At Very Bottom January 8, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Aid to Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Development, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Economics, Economics: Development Theory and Policy applications, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized, Warlords.
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Ethiopian is among the poorest  in Africa, while South Africa tops the continent’s list of wealth per capita, a new survey released on Tuesday showed.

South Africa’s wealth per person last year was $11,310, according to research by consultancy New World Wealth, which has offices in the UK and South Africa. South Africa’s wealth per person grew 169% from $4,200 in 2000. Ethiopia’s wealth per capita last year stood at $260.

This was  very far lower than that of Zimbabwe ($570), Tanzania ($450), Mozambique ($430) and Uganda ($360).
Wealth per capita is a measure of the net assets held by individuals including real estate, shares, business interests and intangibles, while excluding primary residences, according to the research released on Tuesday.

Libya ($11,040 wealth per capita), Tunisia ($8,400), Algeria ($6,250), Morocco ($5,780) and Egypt ($4,350) rank high on the list. Namibia, with per capita wealth of $10,500, and Botswana at $6,580 were among the top-ranked countries in Africa last year. This was, however, well below the global average of $27,600 and a fraction of that of the top-ranked countries such as Switzerland and Australia with wealth per capita of more than $250,000. When it comes to fastest-growing countries by economic growth per capita from 2000 to 2012, Angola tops the continental list, followed by Ghana and Zambia.

http://www.bdlive.co.za/economy/2014/01/08/sa-at-top-of-wealth-list-for-africa-zimbabwe-near-bottom

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/ethiopiathe-precarious-balance-of-economic-productutivity-and-corrupt-governance-ethiopia-amongst-worlds-least-competitive-countries/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/01/daily-chart-3?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/dc/vi/topgrowers2014

http://issuu.com/world.bank.publications/docs/9780821396162

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2014 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2014. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Oromo Displacement Past & Present December 12, 2013

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Dictatorship, Domestic Workers, Human Rights, Human Traffickings, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. African Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo Culture, Oromo Identity, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Qubee Afaan Oromo, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized.
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From slavery to freedom:the Oromo slave children of Lovedale, prosopography and profiles
Sandra Carolyn Teresa Rowoldt Shell
Student number: RWLSAN002
A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Historical Studies
Faculty of the Humanities
University of Cape Town
2013
https://www.academia.edu/3760219/From_slavery_to_freedom_the_Oromo_slave_children_of_Lovedale_prosopography_and_profiles

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14357121?SThisFB

http://oromocommentary.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/machbuba-an-oromo-slave-girl-who-won-the-heart-of-a-german-prince.pdf

Related Articles:

During Ethiopian colonial expansion, Oromia, “the charming Oromo land, [would] be ploughed by the iron and the fire; flooded with blood and the orgy of pillage” (de Salviac, 2005 [1901]: 349). Calling this event as “the theatre of a great massacre,” Martial De Salviac (2005 [1901]: 349) states, “The conduct of Abyssinian armies invading a land is simply barbaric. They contrive a sudden irruption, more often at night. At daybreak, the fire begins; surprised men in the huts or in the fields are three quarter massacred and horribly mutilated; the women and the children and many men are reduced to captivity; the soldiers lead the frightened herds toward the camp, take away the grain and the flour which they load on the shoulders of their prisoners spurred on by blows of the whip, destroy the harvest, then, glutted with booty and intoxicated with blood, go to walk a bit further from the devastation. That is what they call ‘civilizing a land.'” The Oromo oral history also testifies that Ethiopians/Abyssinians destroyed and looted the resources of Oromia, and committed genocide on the Oromo people through massacre, slavery, depopulation, cutting hands, famine, and diseases during and after the colonization of Oromia.

According to Martial de Salviac (2005 [1901]: 350), “With equal arms, the Abyssinia [would] never [conquer] an inch of land. With the power of firearms imported from Europe, Menelik [Abyssinian warlord] began a murderous revenge.” The colonization of Oromia involved human tragedy and destruction: “The Abyssinian, in bloody raids, operated by surprise, mowed down without pity, in the country of the Oromo population, a mournful harvest of slaves for which the Muslims were thirsty and whom they bought at very high price. An Oromo child [boy] would cost up to 800 francs in Cairo; an Oromo girl would well be worth two thousand francs in Constantinople” (de Salviac, 2005 [1901]: 28). The Ethiopian/Abyssinian government massacred half of the Oromo population (five million out of ten million) and their leadership during its colonial expansion (de Salviac, 2005 [1901]: 608, 278; Bulatovich, 2000: 66-68). According to Alexander Bulatovich (2000: 68-69), “The dreadful annihilation of more than half of the population during the conquest took away from the [Oromo] all possibilities of thinking about any sort of uprising . . . Without a doubt, the [Oromo], with their least five million population, occupying the best land, all speaking one language, could represent a tremendous force if united.” The destruction of Oromo lives and institutions…

See the full content of this document

http://law-journals-books.vlex.com/vid/oromo-democracy-classical-civilization-411848362

‘The study confirms that there is clear nexus between authoritarian rule,
man-made famines, and genocide in Ethiopia.’

http://www.codesria.org/IMG/pdf/Mekuria_Bulcha.pdf

 

Copyright © OromianEconomist 2013 & Oromia Quarterly 1997-2013, all rights are reserved. Disclaimer.

Saudi Arabia’s Extreme Brutality Against Migrants From Oromia And Other East African Nationals November 28, 2013

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Domestic Workers, Human Traffickings, Oromo, Oromo Nation, Saudi Arabia, Slavery, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Tyranny, Uncategorized.
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OHRLHA Fine

Photo: where are they??? what they're waiting for? where is Ethiopian  government? what is the purpose to have one then? why only our people? if it was something else there ready to take action but why not this? sorry I'm not a very politician person but this really bothered mePhoto

Photo

Photo: wayi kenya kun malumaa me lalaa gaa

 

 

HRLHA Appeal and Urgent Action

November 13, 2013
For Immediate Release
Honorable ABDULLAH bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia;
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Riyadh, Royal Court: 1-488-2222, Jeddah: 2-665-4233
Taif: 2-736-5200, Makkah: 2-823-4111, Madinah: 4-857-2500

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz,
Upon the expiration of the three months extended deadline for migrant workers to renew their
residency and employment status ( November 4, 2013), thousands of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia
most of whom believed to be from Ethiopia were apprehended in various regions of the Kingdom by
Ministry of Labor inspection squads formed for this purpose under the pretext of flushing out workers
who violate rules regarding work and residency permits.
The most victimized of the raids to flush out illegal workers were the free visa holder migrant
workers of Ethiopian Origins. ‘Free visa’ holders are considered among the most exploited, lowest paid
and abused workforce in Saudi Arabia. The sponsor, who keeps the worker’s passport and other travel
documents with him/her, plays a crucial role in the worker’s life. All dealings with the government such
as renewal of ‘iqama’ or residency permit are through the sponsor. Sources from the capital city, Riyadh,
reported that among the total of 28000 surrounded migrants , authorities detained around 16,500 migrant
workers in the first four days (November 5 – 9, 2013) in a nationwide crackdown across seven provinces
The Saudi officials confirmed that among the seven provinces nearly half of the migrants were arrested near the southern border with Yemen and in Mecca where some Muslims stay on illegally after their pilgrimage.
Though the police officials in the capital city claim that the security forces killed the African
migrant worker in el-Manhoufa because he and others tried to resist arrest, the information from the
migrants and from the publicly released video confirmed that the three Ethiopians killed were murdered
by the brutal action of police. Among the victims was Umere Abdurahiman Ali , 24 an Oromo national
from Ethiopia who was gunned down on November 5.

After the crackdown resumed, more than 10 Ethiopians were killed and thrown into the bush and eaten by
hyenas. Your Majesty, the government of Saudi Arabia has an international obligation to treat a person
who finds him/herself inside the borders of Saudi Arabia according to International law. The Universal
declaration of Human Rights and International conventions on the protection of the rights of all migrant
workers and members of their families Article 9 & 10, states “The right to life of migrant workers and
members of their families shall be protected by law”, “no migrant worker or member of his or her family
shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” respectively. In case these migrant workers are illegal, they should be treated as human beings with human dignity and deported in a civilized manner to the destination of their choice.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa calls upon all world community, UN member
states, International Civic and humanitarian Organizations and diplomatic communities and agencies to
exert pressure on the Saudi Arabian government so that it discloses the whereabouts and the current
situations of the confined migrant workers, and compensates the victims for their loss and renews their
status. The HRLHA also calls on the Saudi Arabian government to sign all international covenants and
treaties that it hasn’t yet signed.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to
The Honorable ABDULLAH bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia and other concerned Saudi
Arabian government officials and to diplomatic representatives of Saudi Arabia who are accredited to
your country as swiftly as possible, in English, Arabic, or your own language expressing:
Your concern regarding the apprehension and possible torture of the citizens who are being held in
different detention centers; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;
urging the Saudi Government authorities to ensure that these detainees are treated in accordance with
the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners,
Adhere to international conventions on the protection of the rights of all migrant workers and
members of their families to bring to justice those Police and Security agents who committed crimes against innocent
civilians by using excessive force.

To:

HRH Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud:
Deputy Prime Minister and Ministry of Defense
Airport Road, Riyadh 11165
TEL : 1-478-5900/1-477-7313 FAX: 1-401-1336

Jeddah Office TEL: 2-665-2400
Web site: http://www.moda.gov.sa/

SAUD al-Faysal bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud :
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nasseriya Street, Riyadh 11124
TEL: 1-406-7777/1-441-6836 FAX: 1-403-0159
Jeddah Office TEL: 2-669-0900
web site http://www.mofa.gov.sa/

AHMAD bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud:
Ministry of Interior
PO Box 2933, Riyadh 11134
TEL : 1-401-1944 FAX : 1-403-1185
Jeddah Office TEL: 2-687-232
web site: http://www.moi.gov.sa/

Muhammad bin Abd al-Karim bin Abd al-Aziz al-ISA :
Ministry of Justice
University Street, Riyadh 11137
TEL : 1-405-7777/1-405-5399
Jeddah Office TEL: 2-665-0857
web site: http://www.moj.gov.sa/

Copied To
League of Arab States Headquarters
His Excellency Dr. Nabil El Araby, Secretary Genral

Egypt Cairo – Secretariat –Tahrir Square

Telephone: 5752966 – 5750511

Fax: 5740331 – 5761017

PO. Box: 11642

• Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org

• African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)
48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul, Gambia
Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764
E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

• U.S. Department of State
Laura Hruby
Ethiopia Desk Officer
Tel: (202) 647-6473, HrubyLP@state.gov

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0G2
Tel: 1-800-267-8376 (toll-free in Canada), 613-944-4000

• Amnesty International – London
Clairy Beston ( Clairy or Claire?)
Telephone: +44-20-74135500
Fax number: +44-20-79561157

HRLHA is a non-political organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council – (ECOSOC) Consultative Status) which attempts to
challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa.
Tel: (647) 280 7062, E-Mail: hrldirector@mail.org, Web site: http://www.humanrightsleague.com

http://ayyaantuu.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/grnovSaudi-HRLHA-UA.pdf

The following is a letter from Ob. Mardaasa Addisu, Secretary of the Macha Tulama Cooperative and Development Association, USA.

——————

November 11, 2013

Dear Prince Naif Ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Saud

Ministry of Interior
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Minister of Agriculture
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

My name is Mardaasa Addisu, an Oromo American, who is part of an international group advocating for Oromo rights. The Oromo people are an ethnic group that makes up 50% of the population in Ethiopia, but are being persecuted by the Tigrayan dictatorship. The Abyssinians (Tigray and Amhara) have committed genocide on all Cushitic people to acquire resources and reduce the indigenous populations. As a result, Oromo (and all other Cushitic people) are displaced in mass numbers around the World. More than 40% of Oromo are Muslim, with some seeking refugee in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Many flee persecution in Ethiopia in hopes of finding refuge whereby they can practice their faith without government interference. We are aware that a large number of people are also using the Ethiopian domestic labor agencies to reach Saudi Arabia. Recently, Oromo advocates learned of your government ending the Kafala System of sponsorship for labor, which is believed to bypass Saudi Labor laws. Human Rights Watch has been critical of the Kafala System in recent times stating: “Saudi Arabia should get serious about regularizing the status of its workers and do away with an abusive labour systems that force migrants into illegal employment.” http://gadaa.com/oduu/22981/2013/11/12/macha-tulama-cooperative-and-development-association-usa-letter-on-attack-on-refugees-and-laborers-including-oromo-in-the-kingdom-of-saudi-arabia/

Ob. Jawar Mohammed on the ongoing assaults on immigrants in the Gulf State and how to  end the Oromo national homelessness:

‘The savage mobocratic attack on our people in Saudi Arabia is the culmination of the horrific stories of abuses we have been hearing over the last several years. From Alem Dachasa’s heartwrenching death in Lebanon in 2012 to the weekly news of maids killed by their employers in almost all Gulf countries to the mass-scale attacks perpetrated by the Saudi police and mobs, we are observing a worsening of the situation for our people in the region. There appears to be three factors at play leading to this escalation. First, particularly in the Saudi case, instead of taking  responsibilities for the extravagant waste of resources and unproductive economic policies that have resulted in the growing rate of unemployment, the Saudi government and media have been spreading blames on migrants taking away jobs. Consequently, the Saudi public has come to associate their economic hardship with ‘invasion of foreigners’ as their media like to frame the issue. Second, due to oppressive regimes that rule through exclusivist and exploitative economic conditions, the number of our refugees crossing the Red Sea has skyrocketed. The UNCHR reports show that between 100,000-120,000 refugees enter Yemen every year. Most, if not all, of these refugees aim their final destination to be Saudi Arabia. Third, that part of the world is still stuck in medieval racist views. Even before the latest xenophobic campaigns, they have been known for being cruel towards African migrants, particularly. I have heard endless tales of horrific racist rants and physical attacks against maids and laborers by their employers, the police and ordinary folks on the street. In fact, I can attest from experience that even the ‘most enlightened’ of them: diplomats, businessmen, students and princes still have a shockingly Darwinian view of humanity. The racism in that part of the world cannot be denied or excused. Its ugly face and nasty brutality are out there in full display. The latest racist outburst is nothing but a public display of what they have been subjecting our brothers and sisters in seclusion in their houses. I anticipate each of these three factors to get worse in the near future. The social and political upheaval in the region following the Arab Spring, and the expected downward spiral of the economy are likely to further fuel xenophobia as regimes will continue to rely on externalizing internal these problems to remain in power. Sadly, I cannot foresee lots of practical solutions. For instance, the humanitarian approach (advocacy and refugee service type) is unlikely to work because the Saudis just do not have room for civil societies. A person I know tried to set up a shelter for the battered maids, but he spent over a year trying to get some sort of permit to no avail. One official actually told him in plain language that they had no law for such a permit. He then decided to host some of the worst affected in house he rented. An employer of one of the battered women, the very person who brutalized her, found out the place after extracting confession by torturing her friend. He then brought the police, which raided the place, arrested the Good Samaritan, returned some of the women to their tormenting employers and deported the rest. Even during the latest crisis, an elderly person who has lived there for over 40 years and supposedly well known to the authorities, went to appeal to the government to stop the violence. Instead of heeding to his plea, he was beaten up by the officials, arrested and awaiting deportation (despite having all the legal papers). The other alternative, and perhaps more effective way, of helping them would have been the diplomatic channel. After the beheading of an Indonesian woman few years back, Jakarta responded strongly by threatening to severe economic and political ties. The Saudis gave in to the pressure, releasing hundreds of Indonesians from detentions. During the recent attack on migrants, Indonesians are said to be the least affected. However, when we come to the Ethiopian government, we are observing a reaction that borders endorsing the Saudi policy of mass violence. The foreign ministry and its diplomats downplayed the severity by blaming on social media’s exaggeration; they even tried to justify the crackdown saying the targets are only illegal immigrants. Notwithstanding the fact that the attack did not make such differentiation, whether they went there legally or illegally, a government has a solemn duty to stand up and defend its citizens, particularly when they come under attack by foreigners. Then, why is the Ethiopian government cozying up to the Saudis instead of siding with the victims? This could be attributed to multitude of factors. First, over last year, the relationship between the Ethiopian regime and the Saudi-based immigrants has deteriorated. Triggered by the protest over violations of religious freedom, the immigrant community stood firm against the regime – refusing to buy and disrupting the so-called Abbay Bond sell. Hence, it’s understandable that the regime has little love for them. In fact, the regime stands to benefit from destabilization of such resourceful and near-to-home Diaspora that is increasingly falling into the opposition’s side. This is what’s consular officers have been signaling to elders who went to speak with them. Second, we shall recall the report that the Ethiopian rulers have reached an agreement with the Saudi government to send 45,000 maids ‘legally.’ Hence, the displacement of the rebellious ‘illegals’ will make room for the new ones who – because they will be recruited, vetted monitored by the regime’s agencies while in Saudi – are less likely to stand against it. Finally, the vast majority of these brutalized refugees are Oromos (it is estimated that over half a million Oromo refugees reside in the Gulf States). The severity of the refugee crisis the Oromo nation is facing — from North Africa to South Africa, Kenya and the Middle East — is indicative of the severity of the repression and exploitation going on in our country. The past colonizers reduced our people to servitude. Back then, our people at least remained on their land even though they were robbed of most of their production. Today, our people are dispossessed of even that plot of land as the occupiers are giving it to their own and selling it to foreigners. Millions are internally displaced and have become urban squatters. Hundreds of thousands flee every year to escape political persecution and save their family from starvation by risking certain death while crossing the Red Sea and the African deserts. Put simply, as a nation, we have become homeless. No amount of humanitarian outreach and lobbying foreign charity can solve this problem for us. We could ask foreign powers and do-gooders to throw us blankets to survive the cold, and leftover food to get by. But, we will still be back to the same destitution the next day or the one after. The only and lasting solution to this humiliating national homelessness is to take back our homeland. This fact must sink.’  Ob. Jawar Mohammed
 http://gadaa.com/oduu/22990/2013/11/14/ob-jawar-mohammed-on-the-ongoing-assaults-on-immigrants-in-the-gulf-states-we-must-take-back-our-homeland-to-end-the-oromo-national-homelessness/

http://gadaa.com/oduu/22984/2013/11/13/lubbuun-biyyatti-galuu-qofa-feena/

http://av.voanews.com/kaltura-test/VOA/Afaan-Oromoo/mp3/2013/11/OROM_2013-11-11-17-30-00_0_zw5v6hhi_0_lwnnopsw.mp3?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook

‘Despite the hullabaloo about its miraculous economic growth, Ethiopia’s pervasive youth unemployment, lack of economic and political freedom, differential access togovernment jobs, and the promise of a better life overseas are forcing hundreds of young people to take dangerous trips to the Gulf region every year. This has especially affected Oromos and other minority ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Half of the migrants in Saudi Arabia are believed to be Oromos.
Two of the three women who were stranded at the Muscat Airport for more than 48 hours in February were Oromos. One of them, a young girl from Assela said she was 20 but looked much younger. These women make up approximately 20,000 “Ethiopians” in Oman. On my return flight last April, over a hundred women were being returned to Ethiopia. A few that I approached spoke fluent Oromo.’ http://www.opride.com/oromsis/news/horn-of-africa/3719-from-one-hell-to-the-next-and-back-the-plight-of-ethiopian-migrants-in-gulf-states

“The entire system by which Saudi Arabia regulates foreign labor is failing.”

 “These people have worked in this country and their blood is in the stones and buildings….You cannot just, like that, force them out.”

Garbage is piling up on streets around the mosque housing the burial site of the Prophet Muhammad. Grocery stores have shut their doors and almost half of Saudi Arabia’s small construction firms have stopped working on projects.

The mess is because foreign workers on which many businesses rely are fleeing, have gone into hiding or are under arrest amid a crackdown launched Nov. 4 targeting the kingdom’s 9 million migrant laborers. Decades of lax immigration enforcement allowed migrants to take low-wage manual, clerical and service jobs that the kingdom’s own citizens shunned for better paying, more comfortable work.

Now, authorities say booting out migrant workers will open more jobs for citizens, at a time when unemployment among Saudis is running at 12.1 percent as of the end of last year, according to the International Monetary Fund. But the nationalist fervor driving the crackdown risks making migrant workers vulnerable to vigilante attacks by Saudis fed up with the seemingly endless stream of foreigners in their country.

Since the Saudi government began issuing warnings earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have been deported, though some were able to avoid arrest by getting proper visas in an amnesty program. That amnesty ended last week, and some 33,000 people have since been placed behind bars. Others have gone into hiding.

With fewer people to do the job, the state-backed Saudi Gazette reported that 20,000 schools are without janitors. Others are without school bus drivers. Garbage became so noticeable around the mosque housing the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb that a top city official in Medina helped sweep the streets, the state-backed Arab News website reported.

About 40 percent of small construction firms in the kingdom also have stopped work because their foreign workers couldn’t get proper visas in time, Khalaf al-Otaibi, president of the World Federation of Trade, Industry and Economics in the Middle East, told Arab News.

Saudis say dozens of businesses like bakeries, supermarkets, gas stations and cafes are now closed. They say prices have also soared for services from mechanics, plumbers and electricians.

Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told The Associated Press that if the kingdom wants to be serious about the problem, authorities should look at the labor laws and not at the workers. Saudi Arabia’s sponsorship system, under which foreign laborers work in the kingdom, gives employers say over whether or not a foreigner can leave the country or change jobs, forcing many into illegal employment.

“The entire system by which Saudi Arabia regulates foreign labor is failing,” he said.

The owner of a multi-million dollar construction company in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, said he had to halt all of his projects. He told the AP he was not the legal sponsor of most of his laborers but that they made more money working as freelance hires.

“These people have worked in this country and their blood is in the stones and buildings,” he said, speaking anonymously for fear of government reprisal. “You cannot just, like that, force them out.”

Despite feeling the loss of the everyday work the foreign laborers provided, Saudis largely have cheered on the police. Residents have taken matters into their own hands on several occasions, despite police calling on the public not to make citizen arrests.
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/saudi-migrant-crackdown-closes-shops-raises-fears-20884516?page=2

MAAF GARAA JABAATTA??
Giddu gala bahaa dachii arabootaa
Ilmaan oromootti maaf garaa jabaattaa?
Nuun dhiiga qulqulluu hameenya hin qabnu
Biyya ormaa dhufnee biyya keenya hin jennu
Carraaqachuu dhufne biyya irraa godaannee
Mirga dhabne malee nuti biyya hin dhabnee
Osoo biyya qabnuu dirqiin manaa baanee
Gammoojjii jibuutii keessatti gubannee
Beelaa fi dhukkubaan hedduu gaagaa’amnee
Gariin bishaan nyaatee kaan qurxummiin quufee
Kaan cirracha yaman gubbaarratti kufee
Hambaa waa xiqqootu bineensa iraa hafee
Oromoo xiqqootu carraaqachuuf dhufee
Maarree ati maalif garaan si jabaataa?
Hiyyeessa lammii koo maalif galaafattaa?
Nuti sirra hin teenyu sirraa galuu yaanna
Waan cacarraaqanne guduunfannee baana
Lakkii nu qusadhu yaa dachii nageenyaa
Carraaqachuu qofa nuti kaayyoon keenyaa
Mee suuta jedhiitii addaan nu baafadhu
Eenyu akka taane sirriitti hubadhu
Duraanuu beekamna nuti hammeenya hin qabnu
Quba afaan nu ka’an tasuma hin ciniinnu
Kana miti beeka saudii seenaan kee
Nageenya jaallatta jechuuttin si beekee
Harra eessaa fiddee jijjiirte amala kee
Kun waa kan kee miti,kan biraa si booda jiraachuusaan shakkee!!!
Nu fe’adhaa jennee nu fe’achaa jirtu
Teenyee nyaachaa hn jirru ijaan ni agartu
Naamusaan bobbaanee galaa jirra nuti
Maalif lubbuun keenya badii malee baati
Warra dhalootumaan badii malee hin beekne
Warreen hiddi isaanii shira malee hin qabne
Maalif isaan waliin wal nu fakkeesitan
Nuti oromoo dha!! Habashoota waliin maaf waliin nu maktan?
Badii nam tokkootiif hunda maaf yakkitan
Habashoonni duruu qa’ee namaa dhaquun
Aadaa isaaniiti biyya namaa jeequun
Nuti oromoodha nu hubachuu qabdu
Jennee osoo himnuu maaf waliin nu dhiibdu?
Erga “nurraa ba’aa” afaaniin jettanii
Saba badii hin qabne erga yakkitanii
Nagaadhaan nuuf ergi oromoo hin miidhinii
Cal,cal,jennaan nuti sodaa hin fakkaatinii
Adaba godhadhaa yoo nagaa feetanii!!!!!!!

Seena Abdiissaa, on Facebook

Ethiopian police crackdown on anti-Saudi Arabia protest following migrant worker attacks

Foreign workers wait before boarding police buses transferring them to an assembly centre prior to their deportation on November 14, 2013 in Riyadh (AFP, Fayez Nureldine)

Foreign workers wait before boarding police buses transferring them to an assembly centre prior to their deportation on November 14, 2013 in Riyadh (AFP, Fayez Nureldine)

November 15, 2013, ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (AP) –  Ethiopian police have used force to disperse hundreds of people protesting against targeted attacks on Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia. Police units Friday blocked roads to prevent the protest at Saudi Arabia Embassy from growing. Some two dozen people were detained. The police forced some journalists to delete photos. The government’s spokesman, Shimelis Kemal, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

One protester, Asfaw Michael, who was beaten, said he didn’t understand why Ethiopia wanted to shield Saudi Arabia from the protest.Many foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are fleeing or are under arrest amid a crackdown on the kingdom’s 9 million migrant laborers. Close to 500 Ethiopians have been repatriated. Last weekend, Saudi residents fought with Ethiopians. Video emerged of a crowd dragging an Ethiopian from his house and beating him. http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/ethiopian-police-crackdown-anti-saudi-arabia-protest-following-migrant-worker-attacks/

Photo: at Finfinnee  (Addis Ababa), Oromia

Arrests at anti-Saudi protest in Ethiopia

Police crackdown on demonstrations against targeted

attacks on Ethiopian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/11/arrests-at-anti-saudi-protest-ethiopia-201311151464025832.html#.UoZ3WGaXZwg.twitter

“It is rare to come across any other nationality groups like the Oromo from the Horn of Africa who are as subjected to overwhelming abuses at home under subjugation and occupation and overseas as refugees with no safe haven. From destructiveevents developing at unprecedented rate in Oromia and in countries of exile, we can observe that the Oromo people are facing a greater danger to their survival as a group and as individuals from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia, Yemen to Libya, Somaliland to Kenya and everywhere in between. We hear of increasingly darker and gorier circumstances our people find themselves in every passing day. The recent crackdown in Saudi Arabia on immigrants and refugees from Oromia and Ethiopia and this Qeerroo report on massive rights abuses inside Oromia from 2012-2013 demonstrate just how much fragile, weak and endangered the Oromo species has become everywhere. The suffering is obviously enormous, but the local and global voices conveying these sufferings are tragically dwindled or hijacked. It behooves every concerned Oromo to pause and think: where are we headed as a people? And it is necessary that every Oromo political and economic organization rethinks home-based, Oromia, approaches to preventing the slow extinction of this species from the face of the earth. “

http://oromopress.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/oromo-saving-endangered-species-at-home.html?fb_action_ids=649956998360982&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22649956998360982%22:472254322887150%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22649956998360982%22:%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

Joint Statement of OSA and Oromo Community Associations in NA

Regarding Situation of Oromo Migrant Workers, and Refugees in KSA

Dear Oromo People in Oromiya /Ethiopia, KSA and all the Oromo Diaspora Communities:

The Oromo Studies Association released this joint statement with Oromo Community Associations in North America  regarding the situation of Oromo  and other Ethiopian Refugees, Asylum Seekers and  and Migrant Workers from Ethiopia. We heard and observed with disbelief and a profound sense of grief the awful news coming from Saudi Arabia. The graphic images and videos of indiscriminate beatings of defenseless immigrant workers, ostensibly at the hands of Saudi Arabian law enforcement officials and vigilantes, has clearly shocked and enraged us. Law enforcement officials have randomly rounded up, kept tens of thousands of the immigrants in concentration camp-type facilities, and deported many thousands more to Ethiopia without regard to individual cases and needs. Read more

OSA Letter Requesting the Correction of Erroneous Oromo Language Classifications Published on Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Website

All along  the successive Ethiopian regimes, including the current regime, have embarked on deliberate and systematic campaigns of misinformation about the Oromo people, its language and culture in order to sustain the subjugation of the Oromo people. Volumes of propaganda literatures have been written that are designed to de-humanize the people, ridicule its culture and deliberately fabricate artificial linguistic classifications among inhabitants of the various regions of Oromiya. The ultimate goal of such campaigns is to create false stories designed to weaken the unity of the Oromo people and to misinform the international community who would rely on these propaganda literatures for information on Oromo issues. We suspect the sources for the CIC’s Oromo language classification is directly based on such literatures or it is based on some genuine independent works that might have been influenced by the former. For instance, the World Languagesa Virginia-based language organization that provides information on world languages to government agencies and businesses, erroneously classifies Afaan Oromo (Oromo language) into three regions; Western, Eastern and Southern Oromo languages.”  Read more

http://www.oromostudies.org/default/
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AxdV95Qi6iQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dV49u9PWTcg
http://www.voanews.com/media/video/1799155.html
Among 110, 000 crossed Red Sea to Yemen 90,000 were Oromo.
http://www.ethiotube.net/video/28483/Must-Watch

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