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Defend the Oppressed Peoples in Ethiopia June 15, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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Why this is important

CLICK HERE PLEASE SIGN ON TO STOP THE ATROCITIES AND GENOCIDE COMMITTED BY THE ETHIOPIAN STATE

LAND GRABBING IN ETHIOPIA & ABYSSINIA MUST STOP

WATCH !

The International Criminal Court (ICCt) announced on 15 September 2016 it will now hold corporate executives and governments legally responsible for environmental crimes. The court’s new focus on land grabbing and environmental destruction could help put a dent in corporate and governmentalimpunity. Politicians and corporate bosses who are chasing communities off their land and trashing the environment will find themselves standing trial in the Hague alongside war criminals and dictators. However, far‐sighted covers by USAmerican corporate investors through corporate fronts from e.g. India restrict the ICCt, since neither the USA nor India ‐ as other rogue states like Sudan or Israel ‐ are parties to the Rome Statute of the ICCt.
https://www.icc‐cpi.int/itemsDocuments/20160915_OTP‐Policy_Case‐Selection_Eng.pdf

Latest Updates:

01. Dec. 2016: 
Ethiopian forces from the command post of Ethiopia’s sweeping State Of Emergency command post detained leading Oromo ethnic group and government opposition figure Prof. Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), upon his arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport after returning from Brussels, where he testified at the EU parliament on the current situation in Ethiopia alongside with Prof. Berhanu Nega of Patriotic Ginbot 7 (G7), an armed freedom fighter group, and Rio Olympics marathon silver medallist ‐ athlete Feyisa Lellisa. Also four relatives of Prof. Merera were detained.

23. Nov. 2016:
Oromo asylum seeker and UNHCR registered refugee Yaazoo Kabbabaa ‐ the prominent leader of ‘Qeerro‘ (The Oromo youth group who is leading the protests in Ethiopia) ‐ was attacked in Cairo during the evening while he was returning home from visiting friends, by people described as Ethiopian state agents following him. During the incident Mr. Kabbabaa was injected in the neck with a toxic substance. Luckily he was rescued and brought to a hospital, where he regained consciousness in the meantime. It is, however, not yet clear if he will remain paralyzed. His medical bills are being covered by a campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/yaazoo‐kabbabaas‐medical‐fund . Please chip in! Ethiopian dissidents who fled the country live in constant fear from agents sent by the Addis regime after them.

* 14. Nov. 2016:
Oromo Leadership Convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, November 11 ‐ 13
Oromo United and Steadfast to Continue Revolution Against TPLF Regime
http://www.oromorevolution.com/s/Press‐Release‐English.pdf

* 20. Oct. 2016:
As we predicted: The brutal regime felt empowered by Merkel’s visit and the promised millions of Euro for “police training” and “to try to quell the unrest”. In just the one week after her ill‐conceived visit almost 3,000 Oromo women and men were rounded up in different locations and thrown in jail. Reportedly Ethiopian agents were sent to neighbouring countries to hunt down dissidents. Ethiopian authorities admitted to Reuters on Thursday they had detained 1,645 people.

* 15. Oct. 2016: The Dictatorial Regime proclaims STATE OF EMERGENCY http://hornaffairs.com/en/2016/10/19/ethiopia‐directive‐execution‐state‐emergencyfull‐text/

* 11. Oct. 2016: German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababawhere she was welcomed by the PM of the corrupt regime with military honours. Amid protests in Germany against the insensitive visit, Merkel offered millions of Euro in bilateral agreements, to train the police and mediation to try and quell the rising unrest in Ethiopia. Just two days prior to Merkel’s visit, the Ethiopian regime declared a six‐month state of emergency in order to undertake even more brutal measures to suppress popular protests.

* 02. Oct. 2016: 
At least 52 people directly killed by police action against protesters during Oromia religious festival of Irreechaa, the Oromo Thanksgiving, in Bishooftuu. Others died in the ensuing stampede. 175 dead bodies have been loaded and taken to Addis Ababa according to a police source. That’s in addition to over 120 at Bishoftu hospital. ECOTERRA Intl., Human Rights Watch and the UN called for an independent investigation.

* 01. Oct. 2016: ECOTERRA Intl. demands the immediate and unconditional release of illegally arrested Ethiopian scientist and blogger Seyoum Teshome. Police arrested the prominent writer and commentator Teshome today, who writes for http://www.Ethiothinkthank.com and lectures at Ambo University.

* 16. June 2016: Ethiopian security forces killed at least 500 people in the recent wave of anti‐government demonstrations, US‐based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says in its most comprehensive report into the Oromo protests.
https://tinyurl.com/j7nanmr
Even government officials admitted that over 170 Oromo protesters were killed.

Meanwhile the atrocities against the Mursi and other aboriginal nations of Ethiopia continue unabated.

Foreign investments through the present Ethiopian governance are unethical and taxpayers all over the world must ensure that their governments, who are state‐sponsors or donors to the Ethiopian governance, stop immediately any support until these crimes against humanity end.

Land Grabbing is the purchase and lease of vast tracts of land from poor, developing countries by wealthier nations and international private investors. It has led to unprecedented misery especially in Africa, South‐America and India.African Food Security is in jeopardy and lands half the size of Europe have already been grabbed.

The Ethiopian government has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of indigenous people from their ancestral lands. It has rendered formerly sustainably living small‐scale farmers and pastoral communities dependent on food aid, which is paid for by the taxpayers and well‐wishers from donor countries, while the profits of these industrial agriculture‐, oil‐ and gas‐ventures go into the pockets of private investors and corrupt officials.

THIS MUST STOP

The recently enacted Kampala Convention ‐ an Africa‐wide treaty and the world’s first that protects people displaced within their own countries by violence, natural disasters or large‐scale development projects ‐ is violated blatantly and with impunity by Ethiopia.

PLEASE SIGN ON
URGE THE AFRICAN UNION AND THE ETHIOPIAN GOVERNANCE TO STOP THE ETHIOPIAN ATROCITIES AND GENOCIDE

The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa must be enforced!

Read more:
Indian investors are forcing Ethiopians off their land
By John Vidal (TheGuardian)

Thousands of Ethiopians are being relocated or have already fled as their land is sold off to foreign investors without their consent

Ethiopia’s leasing of 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of prime farmland to Indian companies has led to intimidation, repression, detentions, rapes, beatings, environmental destruction, and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors, according to a new report.

Research by the US‐based Oakland Institute suggests many thousands of Ethiopians are in the process of being relocated or have fled to neighbouring countries after their traditional land has been handed to foreign investors without their consent. The situation is likely to deteriorate further as companies start to gear up their operations and the government pursues plans to lease as much as 15% of the land in some regions, says Oakland.

In a flurry of new reports about global “land grabbing” this week, Oxfam said on Thursday that investors were deliberately targeting the weakest‐governed countries to buy cheap land. The 23 least‐developed countries of the world account for more than half the thousands of recorded deals completed between 2000 and 2011, it said. Deals involving approximately 200m ha of land are believed to have been negotiated, mostly to the advantage of speculators and often to the detriment of communities, in the past few years.

In what is thought to be one of the first “south‐south” demonstrations of concern over land deals, this week Ethiopian activists came to Delhi to urge Indian investors and corporations to stop buying land and to actively prevent human rights abuses being committed by the Ethiopian authorities.

“The Indian government and corporations cannot hide behind the Ethiopian government, which is clearly in violation of human rights laws,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute. “Foreign investors must conduct impact assessments to avoid the adverse impacts of their activities.”

Ethiopian activists based in UK and Canada warned Indian investors that their money was at risk. “Foreign investors cannot close their eyes. When people are pushed to the edge they will fight back. No group knows this better than the Indians”, said Obang Metho, head of grassroots social justice movement Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia (SMNE), which claims 130,000 supporters in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Speaking in Delhi, Metho said: “Working with African dictators who are stealing from the people is risky, unsustainable and wrong. We welcome Indian investment but not [this] daylight robbery. These companies should be accountable under Indian law.”

Nyikaw Ochalla, director of the London‐based Anywaa Survival Organisation, said: “People are being turned into day labourers doing backbreaking work while living in extreme poverty. The government’s plans … depend on tactics of displacement, increased food insecurity, destitution and destruction of the environment.”

Ochall, who said he was in daily direct contact with communities affected by “land grabbing” across Ethiopia, said the relocations would only add to hunger and conflict.

“Communities that have survived by fishing and moving to higher ground to grow maize are being relocated and say they are now becoming dependent on government for food aid. They are saying they will never leave and that the government will have to kill them. I call on the Indian authorities and the public to stop this pillage.”

Karuturi Global, the Indian farm conglomerate and one of the world’s largest rose growers, which has leased 350,000 ha in Gambella province to grow palm oil, cereals maize and biofuel crops for under $1.10 per hectare per year, declined to comment. A spokesman said: “This has nothing to do with us.”

Ethiopia has leased an area the size of France to foreign investors since 2008. Of this, 600,000 ha has been handed on 99‐year leases to 10 large Indian companies. Many smaller companies are believed to have also taken long leases. Indian companies are said to be investing about $5bn in Ethiopian farmland, but little is expected to benefit Ethiopia directly. According to Oakland, the companies have been handed generous tax breaks and incentives as well as some of the cheapest land in the world.

The Ethiopian government defended its policies. “Ethiopia needs to develop to fight poverty, increase food supplies and improve livelihoods and is doing so in a sustainable way,” said a spokeswoman for the government in London. She pointed out that 45% of Ethiopia’s 1.14m sq km of land is arable and only 15% is in use.

The phenomenon of Indian companies “grabbing” land in Africa is an extension of what has happened in the last 30 years in India itself, said Ashish Kothari, author of a new book on the growing reach of Indian businesses.

“In recent years the country has seen a massive transfer of land and natural resources from the rural poor to the wealthy. Around 60 million people have been displaced in India by large scale industrial developments. Around 40% of the people affected have been indigenous peoples,” he said.

These include dams, mines, tourist developments, ports, steel plants and massive irrigation schemes.

According to Oakland, the Ethiopian “land rush” is part of a global phenomenon that has seen around 200m ha of land leased or sold to foreign investors in the past three years.

The sales in Africa, Latin America and Asia have been led by farm conglomerates, but are backed by western hedge and pension funds, speculators and universities. Many Middle East governments have backed them with loans and guarantees.

Barbara Stocking, the chief executive of Oxfam, which is holding a day of action against land grabs on Thursday, called on the World Bank to temporarily freeze all land investments in large scale agriculture to ensure its policies did not encourage land grabs.

“Poor governance allows investors to secure land quickly and cheaply for profit. Investors seem to be cherry‐picking countries with weak rules and regulations because they are easy targets. This can spell disaster for communities if these deals result in their homes and livelihoods being grabbed.”
While DFID, GIZ etc. failed and fail to act on Human Rights violations ‐ see also: http://www.anywaasurvival.org

‐ and please note that many believe the Indian companies act simply as straw‐men for USAmerican land‐grabbing interests Incl. AGRA and Monsanto), who are competing now with similar Chinese interests in Africa.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

In the harsh Ogaden region of Eastern Ethiopia, impoverished ethnic people are being murdered and tortured, raped, persecuted and displaced by government paramilitary forces. Illegal actions carried out with the knowledge and tacit support of donor countries, seemingly content to turn a blind eye to war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by their brutal, repressive ally in the region; and a deaf ear to the pain and suffering of the Ogaden Somali people.

read: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/08/ethiopian‐annihilation‐of‐the‐ogaden‐people/

Meanwhile the Ethiopian GIBE III dam project is devastating the lives of remote southern Ethiopian ethnicities. Pastoralists living in the Omo valley are being forcibly relocated, imprisoned and killed due to the ongoing building of a massive dam that shall turn the region into a major centre for commercial farming ‐ mostly by foreign ventures. War is in the making.

see also: http://www.genocidewatch.org/ethiopia.html

Since mid‐November 2015, large‐scale protests have again swept through Oromia, Ethiopia’s largest region, and the response from security forces has again been brutal. They have killed countless students and farmers, and arrested opposition politicians and countless others.

Since then Ethiopia has been shaken by a global wave of anti‐government protests over the controversial “Addis Ababa Integrated Development Master Plan” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oromia_Special_Zone_Surrounding_Finfinne , which is just another form of grabbing land from the Oromo people. The regime had insisted on escalating its violations of human rights through the implementation of this very dangerous policy of land grabbing in Oromia. While the Oromo people were peacefully protesting against the unfair land use policy at least over 180 innocent Oromo civilians were killed in the three months from mid November 2015 to mid January 2016.
After two months of global protests, the Ethiopian government finally announced the cancellation of this development plan https://www.oromiamedia.org/tag/finfinne‐master‐plan/ for Addis Ababa (Finfinne) http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/IPeoples/WG/IGFM1‐oromo‐4b.doc and its expansion into neighbouring Oromia state. But the problem hasn’t gone away.

In violation of the EU resolution and despite international pressure, reports are confirming now that the regime’s loyal armed forces continue to attack the civilian population in many parts of Oromia. Though these violations of civil rights during the process of land grabbing have reached a new climax, the capacity of human rights organizations to access data of extra‐judicial killings and disappearances in the region is at an unprecedented low.

There is a war of ethnic cleansing officially declared against the Oromo people and implemented across Oromia. Though it has been difficult even to keep up with reports of the death toll some confirmed records are now showing that more than 400 civilians have been killed as of 19. February 2016. 

This rein of state terror must end!

‐ see also the previous HRW report https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/01/22/ethiopias‐invisible‐crisis

On January 12, 2016 the Ethiopian government announced it was cancelling the master plan, but that hasn’t stopped the protests and the resultant crackdown. Although the protest was initially about the potential for displacement, it has become about so much more. Despite being the biggest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Oromos have often felt marginalized by successive governments and feel unable to voice their concerns over injust government policy. Oromos who express dissent are often arrested and tortured or otherwise mistreated in detention, accused of belonging to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), a group that has long been mostly inactive and that the government designated a terrorist organization. The government is doing all it can to make sure that the news of these protests doesn’t circulate within the country or reach the rest of the world. Of recent the Ethiopian Government has even resorted to use their Cyber‐crime Act to treat bloggers as terrorists. Ethiopia’s allies, including governments in the region and the African Union, have largely stood by as Ethiopia has steadily strangled the ability of ordinary Ethiopians to access information and peacefully express their views, whether in print or in public demonstrations. But they should be worried about what is happening in Oromia right now, as Ethiopia — Africa’s second most‐populous country and a key security ally of the US — grapples with this escalating crisis.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

Sons and Daughters
By Maya Angelou

If my luck is bad 
And his aim is straight 
I will leave my life 
On the killing field 
You can see me die 
On the nightly news 
As you settle down 
To your evening meal.

But you’ll turn your back 
As you often do 
Yet I am your sons 
And your daughters too. 

In the city streets 
Where the neon lights 
Turn my skin from black 
To electric blue 
My hope soaks red 
On the pavement’s 
gray 
And my dreams die hard 
For my life is through. 

But you’ll turn your back 
As you often do 
Yet I am your sons 
And your daughters too. 

In the little towns 
Of this mighty land 
Where you close your eyes 
To my crying need 
I strike out wild 
And my brother falls 
Turn on your news 
You can watch us bleed.

‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

ECOTERRA Intl.
SURVIVAL & FREEDOM for PEOPLE & NATURE
join the phalanx directly: africanode[at]ecoterra.net
fPcN ‐ interCultural (friends of Peoples close to Nature) e‐mail: collective[at]fpcn‐global.org


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Genocide in Ethiopia: Fascist Ethiopia’s Regime (TPLF) land robbery and its barbarism against Lower Omo Basin People. #OromoProtests #Africa March 6, 2016

Posted by OromianEconomist in #OromoProtests, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Land Grabs in Africa, Omo, Omo Valley.
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Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantationSuruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) foreces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation. p2Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) forces because they protested their land being taken for Sugar plantation. p3


 

“JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR MAJENGER AND ALL NILOTIC PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA” June 23, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley.
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“JUSTICE, FREEDOM AND EQUALITY FOR MAJENGER AND ALL NILOTIC PEOPLE OF ETHIOPIA”

Gambella
Press Release
May 22nd 2015, Gambella

Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) strongly condemns the TPLF/EPRDF killings of the Mezenger people of Southwest Ethiopia. The massacre of Mezenger people has now escalated and spread to all neighbouring villages of Sheka, Surma, Bench and Menit tribes in the Southern Nations Nationalities and People Regional State. The massacre is jointly carried out by the federal police forces, ENDF (Ethiopian National Defence Force) and the illegal settlers (highlanders) in Teppi and Metti towns Godere Zone of the Gambella region. It has started in September 2014 and so far no investigation and action taken against the perpetrators to stop the massacre. Since January 2015 the killing intensified and all villages of Majengirs and neighbouring villages destroyed and all people from these villages went into bush leaving behind their belongings without anything to support their livelihood. However, attempted to return home from the bush is killed, chanting that the monkey has come home to live with human beings.

As our sources from the ground indicates so far more than 120 Mezenger are reported dead and the killing is indiscriminate against children, women and men. It is a systematic genocide to exterminate the Mezenger people, as many of their educated ones were packed into prison without any trial in the court. To weaken the power of Mezenger people, the police forces from the local community were disarmed and they were replaced with ENDF to manoeuvre the plan successfully and take over the land from Mezenger people. In addition to this the Kwegu and Hamer people are being displaced from their land and many more killed by the Ethiopian government because of sugar plantation project of Hailemariam Desalegn. Likewise, the Hamer tribe is now engaged in full scale war with the government soldiers in resistance to land grabbing and forced displacements.

The sugar plantation project in the South Omo zone has been carried out without the consultation of local community. The people of Southern Ethiopian should not be deceived by the leadership of the current prime minister because he is from the region. As he was baptized by the deceased Prime Minister Meles for the post he should be known for his hatred against the indigenous Nilotes in the southern region for which he can manipulate the system and exterminate the tribes.

The people of Majengers and other Nilotic people of South west Ethiopian have been in constant conflicts and frustration with the Ethiopian government and illegal settlers from the north, and the loss of land has been in alarming rates as clearing of the forests by commercial investors and the illegal settlers continue to surge. Since EPRDF took over, the Mezenger people were killed in 1993, 2001 and the current one of 2014/2015. The current massacre is worst of all kind as it has devastated and destroyed the properties of people and forced people to flee their land.

GNUM will continue to fight for justice, equality and freedom of the indigenous Nilotes to ensure their full recognition and identity in their land. The TPLF/EPRDF government is a racist government that puts ethnic conflicts as means to prosper its own people to settle in the southwest regions. It is a government that cares only for its citizens from Tigrai region, and it should be resisted strongly by all means as racist and divisive.

GNUM also call upon the international community to investigate the killings of Majengers and other Nilotic people of southwest Ethiopia through their body, and force the perpetrators to be brought to justice. We call upon all the donors to withhold their funds from the TPLF government to make sure their funds are not used to perpetuate the killings against the innocent indigenous populations. Further, we also strongly ask the international community to analyse and make serious investigation toward the root cause of the increasing killings against the indigenous populations in Southwest Ethiopia and come up with strong recommendations and actions for maximum self determination as the only lasting solution to protect the life of the indigenous populations.

Therefore, GNUM would like to call upon all the indigenous Nilotes to unite themselves as one people and resist and fight the racist TPLF/EPRF government to protect their land.

In conclusion the Gambella Nilotes United Movement (GNUM) will continue it struggle for all people of Gambella and all the South-western Nilotes to ensure freedom, liberty, justice, security and prosperity are brought to people in their God given lands.

“All Nilotic People Should Stand Together and Fight As One to Overthrow TPLF/EPRDF Government from Their Land”

Gambella Nilotes United Movement/Army

Central Committee

Our contact:                   gambellagnuma@yahoo.com   OR

gambellagnuma@gmail.com

http://www.ayyaantuu.net/justice-freedom-and-equality-for-majenger-and-all-nilotic-people-of-ethiopia/

Ethiopia: The Indigenous People Are Pushed Out of Their Fertile Lands. #Mursi #Africa January 6, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Land Grabs in Africa, Mursi.
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O

The people pushed out of Ethiopia’s fertile farmland

By Matthew Newsome

_80069557_omolip624January 6, 2015 (BBC) — The construction of a huge dam in Ethiopia and the introduction of large-scale agricultural businesses has been controversial – finding out what local people think can be hard, but with the help of a bottle of rum nothing is impossible.

After waiting several weeks for letters of permission from various Ethiopian ministries, I begin my road trip into the country’s southern lowlands.

I want to investigate the government’s controversial plan to take over vast swathes of ancestral land, home to around 100,000 indigenous pastoralists, and turn it into a major centre for commercial agriculture, where foreign agribusinesses and government plantations would raise cash crops such as sugar and palm oil.

After driving 800km (497 miles) over two days through Ethiopia’s lush highlands I begin my descent into the lower Omo valley. Here, where palaeontologists have discovered some of the oldest human remains on earth, some ancient ways of life cling on.

Some tourists can be found here seeking a glimpse of an Africa that lives in their imagination. But the government’s plan to “modernise” this so-called “backward” area has made it inaccessible for journalists.

As my jeep bounces down into the valley, I watch as people decorated in white body paint and clad in elaborate jewellery made from feathers and cow horn herd their cows down the dusty track.

I arrive late in the afternoon at a village I won’t name, hoping to speak to some Mursi people – a group of around 7,000 famous for wearing huge ornamental clay lip plates.

The Mursi way of life is in jeopardy. They are being resettled to make way for a major sugar plantation on their ancestral land – so ending their tradition of cattle herding.

Meanwhile, a massive new dam upstream will reduce the Omo River, ending its seasonal flood – and the food crops they grow on its banks.

It is without doubt one of the most sensitive stories in Ethiopia and one the government is keen to suppress.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticised schemes like this, alleging that locals are being abused and coerced into compliance.

I’d spoken to local senior officials in the provincial capital of Jinka, before travelling into the remote savannah.

The suspicion is palpable as the chief of the south Omo zone lectures me. Local people and the area’s reputation have been greatly harmed by the negative reports by foreigners, he says.

Eventually a frank exchange takes place and I secure verbal permission to report on the changes taking place in the valley.

The Gibe III Dam on Omo River

  • Situated approximately 300km south-west of the capital Addis Ababa, the dam is 246m high
  • Work started in July 2006 and was estimated to take 118 months (nearly 10 years)
  • The government says it will provide much needed-power and help develop the country’s economy
  • Authorities say no-one has been forced from their home
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It seems prudent to let the Mursi tribe and attendant police warm to my presence before I start asking questions. After all, I have the whole evening.

But a brief chat with the tribe ends abruptly with the entrance of a police officer, wearing a replica Manchester United football shirt, vehemently waving a dog-eared copy of the country’s constitution.

I am prohibited from talking to anyone and must immediately climb back into my jeep, drive back up the mountain and return to Jinka, he says.

As often in Ethiopia, he doesn’t explain exactly why.

I object to driving through the wilderness at dusk on safety grounds and so a compromise is reached: I will pitch my hammock outside the police station, a short stroll away from the village, with armed guards watching my every move.

The political boss of the zone comes on the two-way radio. “This is house arrest,” I protest. “No, just a misunderstanding,” he replies.

_80069556_omoface624The prospect of returning home without interviews is unthinkable. My ruse is to distract my captors.

I sit them down for a meal of pasta and vegetables – and brimming beakers of spiced rum – in front of my laptop, which is playing an Ethiopian comedy.

After saying good night I strike out through the scrubland.

I run without sense of direction through bush and bog, crawl under fences, and negotiate large herds of noisy cattle. I have to find a village elder I met earlier, and interview him before policemen and their flashlights turn up.

So I am relieved to stumble on two boys milking their cows in the moonlight. They lead me to the elder’s hut. The sound of so many rudely-awakened animals in our wake fills me with dread that searchlights are heading our way.

The moment arrives. I squat in front of the elder inside his mud dwelling, surrounded by his sleeping companions: several cows, a goat and a cat. My dictaphone is poised to record truths heard by few journalists in this media-muzzled region.

I ask him in broken Amharic what is going on. He tells me: “The government is telling us to sell our cattle and modernise like townspeople – they say our land is the property of the sugar corporation. We have not been asked what we want or need.

“If we do not accept the resettlement plans, we’ll be taken to jail. How can we survive if we have no access to land, cattle or water?”

I promptly thank the elder for his time, apologise for disrupting his evening and head back to my open-air jail.

On reaching my hammock I find several dozing policemen and an empty bottle of rum. Mission accomplished.

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The Mursi people

  • About 10,000 Mursi people live in Ethiopia
  • Traditionally insert pottery plates known as debhinya in the lower lips of young women
  • They live in an area surrounded by the rivers Mara, Omo and Mago, which flow into Lake Turkana
  • Mursi territory was incorporated into Ethiopia during the reign of King Menelik II in the 19th Century

 

Read @ http://www.mursi.org/

Land Wars: Ethiopia Accused of Massacring Civilians to Clear Way for Foreign Farms. #Oromia for Sale November 11, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Ethnic Cleansing, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia, Omo Valley, Oromia.
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OLand grab inOromiaBecause I am Oromo

“In Africa, Ethiopia is at the forefront of
handing out land.”
–Jon Abbink, Anthropologist

http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/Report_EngineeringEthnicConflict.pdf

Land Wars: Ethiopia Accused of Massacring Civilians to Clear Way for Foreign Farms

By Lara White,

Vice News

November 10, 2014

https://news.vice.com/article/land-wars-ethiopia-accused-of-massacring-civilians-to-clear-way-for-foreign-farms?utm_source=vicenewsfb

 

WARNING: This article contains disturbing images

Ethiopia, one of the world’s hungriest countries, is selling off vast chunks of its land to foreign investors who are growing food products for export — and those who get in the government’s way are being killed or silenced, according to a new investigation.

Under the country’s controversial “villagization” scheme, huge populations of farming communities are being moved out of their homes on land eyed for development and into new settlements built by the government. Residents not lured out by promises of better infrastructure and services are often forced to go against their will, and resistance often brings violence or intimidation into acquiescence or exile, US-based rights group the Oakland Institute says in a report due for release on Monday.

Now, for the first time, pictures obtained exclusively by VICE News appear to show evidence of the widespread atrocities and abuses being reported by farming communities and minority groups across the country.

An image of a Suri tribe member said to have been of the alleged February 2012 massacre

The pictures were sent to the Institute in April 2012, and are said to depict a massacre carried out by government officials and members of the ethnic Dizi group on behalf of the Ethiopian state against the Suri, one of Ethiopia’s many ethnic indigenous farming groups, in the market town of Maji in February that year.

Since 2010, it is estimated that the government’s “growth and transformation plan” has relocated 1.5 million people into village settlements, rights groups say. The areas afflicted include the Gambella, Afar, Somali, Lower Omo, and Benishangul-Gumuz regions, where local tribes do not have formal land rights. At the same time, huge tracts of land are being sold to investors for development. So far, it is estimated that the government has sold off the rights to 26 percent of Ethiopia’s farmland.

The Suri people own large amounts of cattle and travel through a rapidly shrinking area in southwestern Ethiopia grazing their animals. The land they traditionally use has been sold to investors operating the Koko plantation, a Malaysia-backed project that exports palm oil and other food and farming products. According to testimonies taken by the Oakland Institute, the dispute that led to the reported massacre stems from an incident when three government officials, policemen from the Dizi ethnic tribe, were killed as they attempted to mark areas within a Suri community into which the Koko plantation was expanding.

A few days later, in an apparent act of retaliation, between 30 and 50 Suri men and women were allegedly killed with machetes and stones at a Saturday market in the town of Maji. The bodies were then dumped in a nearby stream. The Oakland Institute said: “It has not been possible to confirm the precise numbers of dead since no police report was filed.”

The pictures prompted an investigation that is detailed in a report by the Oakland Institute scheduled for publication at 9am PST (5pm GMT) on Monday. The investigators encountered many difficulties, they said, as it was “clear that the Suri fear retaliation for speaking out against the government.”

The Institute said the alleged killings show how the state is exploiting complicated, historic ethnic tensions between the Dizi and Suri by employing men from Dizi communities as policemen and local government officials, and tasking them with clearing the Suri communities off the land they have relied on for 300 years.

Maji market, site of the alleged massacre. Image via Katie Sharp

The interviewees are identified only by their initials as the fear of reprisals is great. Activists say the penalty for smuggling this type of information out of Ethiopia can be death. Rights groups in the UK say their contacts inside the country have been arbitrarily arrested and held in torturous conditions for apparent crimes of “communications.” The electronic war Ethiopia has waged against some of its citizens has been reported by Felix Horn from Human Rights Watch.

Speaking to VICE News, Horn said the scale of intimidation is difficult to overestimate. Gaining access to the areas afflicted is almost impossible and telephone lines are problematically easy to trace.

“When you are permitted access to key areas, individuals are terrified to speak to foreign NGOs or journalists. And rightfully so — many Ethiopians are harassed or detained for doing exactly that. In addition, the CSO Law has decimated the ability of local groups to monitor rights abuses — all of which makes Ethiopia one of the most difficult countries in Africa to do meaningful human rights research.”

The use of the CSO Law as a means of denying fundamental rights, tempering freedoms and jailing journalists has been documented. Reports of massacres, rape and forced relocations have been slowly emerging over the past few years, but pictorial evidence has not existed in a credible form.

Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, said it was clear the government’s villigization scheme was creating new tribal conflicts by exploiting old ones, as communities are being forced to compete for the remaining land and water across the country.

She told VICE News the facts were being ignored by the international community, which funds the Ethiopian regime to the tune of $3.2 billion each year.

An image purporting to show a Suri victim of the alleged Maji massacre

“The donors are well aware of the situation on the ground and have chosen to turn a blind eye to gross human rights abuses by their closest ally in Africa.”

Reports of abuses are widespread, having been documented by Human Rights WatchAmnesty International, and, most comprehensively, by those behind Monday’s report.

As a result of the growing catalogue of evidence, this year the US Senate included provisions to ensure American aid was diverted away from projects “associated with forced evictions.” Though this admission has been welcomed by campaigners, it remains painfully unclear how this will actually be achieved. Those US and UK citizens who paid their taxes last year gave approximately $600 million and £200 million to the Ethiopian government respectively. Almost 10 percent of funding in Ethiopia comes from aid.

A site on Maji’s outskirts where bodies were found following the alleged massacre. Image via Katie Sharp

There have been other accounts of similar instances of violence by the Ethiopian government against the Suri people. An unverified feature on CNN’s iReport, included pictures purported to be of an alleged December 2012 massacre which claimed the lives of 147 people. The writer described the aftermath of a dispute over land that was said to have been sold to a gold mining company:

“The dead bodies are buried in mass graves deep inside Dibdib forest and some bodies were transported to gold mining holes not far from the Dibdib forest.

Some bodies were left out and eaten by vultures and predators. Most of the children were thrown into Akobo River.

After the massacre, the army sent warnings all around the area that if anyone reports about this, the army will do things to these people who report, and more, even worse, things to the Suri.”

The CNN reported could not be verified by VICE News. The picture evidence does not appear to match the massacre described, according to researchers, and the claims have not been independently corroborated. The person who wrote the report is thought to be still inside the country.

Nyikaw Ochalla, a UK-based activist with Anywaa Survival Organization told VICE News it was important to see the alleged massacre in Maji as part of a wider assault. “I saw the pictures and I think it is the reality of what is taking place in Ethiopia right now. The pastoralists are being denied their livelihood and their land is being leased out to foreign investors without their knowledge or consent.”

An image said to show corpses piled up following the alleged market massacre

He also stressed the risks associated with reporting atrocities, both to him and others outside the country, and, most gravely, to those inside. One of his contacts from Gambella is currently being detained in a prison hundreds of miles away in Addis Ababa. “He was not told why he was detained, but (during his) torture it was revealed it was because he had been communicating with me.”

Ochalla was just one interviewee for this report who said they were concerned their communications were being monitored.

The Ethiopian embassy did not respond to questions from VICE News on the Maji market massacre allegations. A UK government spokesman issued a statement saying they “regularly raise human rights with the relevant authorities, including at the highest level of the Ethiopian government.” They also said they were limited in what they could comment on, as the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which handles aid distribution, is being taken to court by an Ethiopian man from another ethnic tribe who says that he was forced off his land and that his community endured atrocities similar to those depicted here.

The British High Court will hear the case of Mr O, now a refugee living in Kenya, early next year. His lawyer Rosa Curling told VICE News the case will challenge the government’s “ongoing failure to properly asses whether UK aid money has been involved in Ethiopia’s villagization program, a program which had a devastating effect on our client and his family.”

Ngo Hole, a member of the Suri tribe killed in the alleged massacre, who previously appeared in a Spanish reality TV show. Image via Katie Sharp.

Mittal said the pictures show how Mr O’s story is being replicated all over the country, and called on the international community to act in the face of mounting evidence. “It is time for the US government, other donors, and international institutions to take a strong stand to ensure aid in the name of development is not contributing to the ongoing atrocities nor supporting the forced displacement of people. “She stressed the Suri are not the only ones being targeted: “Anuaks, Majang in Gambella, Mursi, Bodis, Nyongtham and several other groups in lower Omo and around the country are equally impacted.”

The plantation whose operations prompted the alleged massacre is now reported to have closed down, earlier this year. It is unclear whether the Suri have been allowed back to their land to grow their food, in a country where almost half of the population is malnourished. The government of Ethiopia appears to have done a remarkable job in suppressing dissent, jailing journalists and preventing those with evidence of abuse from letting the donor community know what their taxes are funding.

See the full report of  t the Oakland Institute @ http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/Report_EngineeringEthnicConflict.pdf

See also Amnesty International’s Report, ” Because I am Oromo” @ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AFR25/006/2014/en

 

Ethiopia’s Land Grabs And Endangered Communities: The Indigenous People Excluded from ‘Rapid Growth’ November 11, 2013

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Colonizing Structure, Corruption, Culture, Development, Dictatorship, Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure., Knowledge and the Colonizing Structure. Africa Heritage. The Genocide Against Oromo Nation, Land Grabs in Africa, Oromia, Oromiyaa, Oromo, Oromo the Largest Nation of Africa. Human Rights violations and Genocide against the Oromo people in Ethiopia, Oromummaa, Self determination, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, Theory of Development, Tyranny.
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OThe ethnic communities living along Ethiopia’s Omo River and depend on annual flooding to practice flood retreat cultivation for their survival and livelihood. Credit: Ed McKenna/IPS

The ethnic communities living along Ethiopia’s Omo River and depend on annual flooding to practice flood retreat cultivation for their survival and livelihood. Credit: Ed McKenna/IPS

‘The government already has trouble managing hunger and poverty [among] its citizenry. By taking over land and water resources in the Omo Valley, it is creating a new class of ‘internal refugees’ who will no longer be self-sufficient.’

OMO VALLEY, Ethiopia, Nov 11 2013 (IPS) – As the construction of a major transmission line to export electricity generated from one of Ethiopia’s major hydropower projects gets underway, there are growing concerns that pastoralist communities living in the region are under threat.

The Gibe III dam, which will generate 1,800 megawatts (MW), is being built in southeast Ethiopia on the Omo River at a cost of 1.7 billion dollars. It is expected to earn the government over 400 million dollars annually from power exports. On completion in 2015 it will be the world’s fourth-largest dam.

“We are being told to stop moving with our cattle, to stop wearing our traditional dressand to sell our cattle. Cattle and movement is everything to the Mursi.” — Mursi elder
But the dam is expected to debilitate the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of indigenous communities in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley and those living around Kenya’s Lake Turkana who depend on the Omo River.

The Bodi, Daasanach, Kara, Mursi, Kwegu and Nyangatom ethnic communities who live along the Omo River depend on its annual flooding to practice flood-retreat cultivation for their survival and livelihoods.

But the semi-nomadic Mursi ethnic community are being resettled as part of the Ethiopian government’s villagisation programme to make room for a large sugar plantation, which will turn roaming pastoralists into sedentary farmers. The hundreds of kilometres of irrigation canals currently being dug to divert the Omo River’s waters to feed these large plantations will make it impossible for the indigenous communities to live as they have always done.

“We are being told that our land is private property. We are very worried about our survival as we are being forced to move where there is no water, grass or crops,” a Mursi community member told IPS.

The Omo Valley is set to become a powerhouse of large commercial farming irrigated by the Gibe III dam. To date 445,000 hectares have been allocated to Malaysian, Indian and other foreign companies to grow sugar, biofuels, cereals and other crops.

“The Gibe III will worsen poverty for the most vulnerable. The government already has trouble managing hunger and poverty [among] its citizenry. By taking over land and water resources in the Omo Valley, it is creating a new class of ‘internal refugees’ who will no longer be self-sufficient,” Lori Pottinger from environmental NGO International Rivers told IPS.

Top global financiers, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), have committed 1.2 billion dollars to a 1,070 km high-voltage line that will run from Wolayta-Sodo in Ethiopia to Suswa, 100 km northwest of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The transmission line, powered by Ethiopia’s Gibe III, will connect the country’s electrical grid with Kenya and will have a capacity to carry 2,000 MW between the two countries.

According to the AfDB, it will promote renewable power generation, regional cooperation, and will ensure access to reliable and affordable energy to around 870,000 households by 2018.

According to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s economy is set to maintain a growth rate of 11 percent in 2014. Fully exploiting its massive water resources to generate a hydropower potential of up to 45,000 MW in order to sell surplus electricity to its neighbours is central to Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation plan, a five-year plan to develop the country’s economy.

The Horn of Africa nation currently generates 2,000 MW from six hydroelectric dams and invests more of its resources in hydropower than any other country in Africa – one third of its total GNP of about 77 billion dollars.

According to a World Bank report published in 2010, only 17 percent of Ethiopia’s 84.7 million people had access to electricity at the time of the report. By 2018, 100 percent of the population will have access to power, according to state power provider Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO).

“We are helping mitigate climate risk of fossil fuel consumption and also reduce rampant deforestation rates in Ethiopia. Hydropower will benefit our development,” Miheret Debebe, chief executive officer of EEPCO, told IPS.

The Ethiopian government insists that the welfare of pastoralist communities being resettled is a priority and that they will benefit from developments in the Omo Valley. “We are working hard to safeguard them and help them to adapt to the changing conditions,” government spokesperson Shimeles Kemal told IPS.

However, there are concerns that ethnic groups like the Mursi are not being consulted about their changing future. “If we resist resettlement we will be arrested,” a Mursi elder told IPS.

“We fear for the future. Our way of life is under threat. We are being told to stop moving with our cattle, to stop wearing our traditional dress and to sell our cattle. Cattle and movement is everything to the Mursi.”

The importance of ensuring that benefits from Ethiopia’s national development projects do not come at a price of endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands pastoralist tribes is critical said Ben Braga, president of the World Water Council. Braga decried governments that failed to compensate communities like the Mursi as displacement of surrounding communities is always an inevitable consequence of major dams that need plenty of advanced planning to avoid emergencies.

“How can we compensate these people so that the majority of the country can benefit from electricity? There is a need for better compensatory mechanisms to ensure that benefits are shared and that all stakeholders are included in consultations prior to construction,” he told IPS.

Read more at the original source:http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/11/ethiopias-indigenous-excluded-from-rapid-growth/?utm_source=ipsnews&utm_medium=twitter

‘Foreign investors are taking as much as they can from an impoverished nation, including its crops, land and the hard work of an Ethiopian population, to serve their own interests above others. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 14.56 million hectares of Ethiopia’s 100 million hectare land mass is arable land, most of it cultivated by small hold, subsistence farmers. International investors have taken note and are rushing to this country, once synonymous with starvation, to take advantage of the government’s new push to improve its agricultural production capacity. But many fear the government’s sale of arable land to foreign nationals will create a modern form of agricultural colonialism. One such arrangement, launched in 2009 under Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah initiative and forming part of a $100-million investment scheme in Ethiopian agriculture, had farmers grow teff (a North African cereal grass), white wheat, maize and white sorghum, among other crops, before these were exported back to the Gulf region. The Economist referred to it as an instance of a “powerful but contentious trend sweeping the poor world”, further saying that countries which export capital but import food are outsourcing farm production to countries that need capital but which have land to spare. According to Human Rights Watch, in less than five years Ethiopia has approved more than 800 foreign-financed agricultural projects. The watchdog group further said that from 2008 to 2011, the Ethiopian government leased out no less than 3.8 million hectares to foreign investors, displacing local inhabitants and resulting in tens of thousands of internally displaced persons who are often forced to migrate to urban areas. The majority of land acquisitions occur in government-to-government deals. In the past, Saudi officials and closely tied sovereign wealth funds negotiated with former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, while presently, such discussions take place with the ruling coalition of his successor, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe. Supporters argue that such deals increase production efficiency and improve economic outlooks but only if investors are willing to pay a fair price. In 2011, Oxfam reported that Middle Eastern and Far Eastern investors were purchasing plots in developing countries, including Ethiopia, for as little as $1 per hectare. That same year, Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc leased 10,000 hectares for a bargain price of $9.42 per hectare annually for the next 60 years. (Saudi Star, a food company owned by Ethiopian and Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi, and which forms part of the Derba group, produces sugar, rice and edible oil. The company is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.) Advocacy groups from Spain and the US commented that the government sponsored deal had caused human rights violations as well as the forceful relocation of hundreds of thousands of residents, including the Nuek and Anuak indigenous groups. The government retorted by saying that the resettlement plan was acted out voluntarily on behalf of residents. Saudi Star claims that it acted in good faith and that the benefits of the land deal – including improvements to regional infrastructure – outweighed the consequences, despite scepticism. Fikru Desalegn, former State Minister of Capacity Building in the Ethiopian federal government and current CEO of Saudi Star, played down the negative connotations associated with the controversial foreign investment. He said there was “nobody in the 10,000 hectares” and that the company had “not paid any compensation” but that the possibility of employment opening up would “teach the public it is very useful for them”. In July 2012, the Derba Group announced plans for an additional 300,000-hectare development project in the fertile region of Gambela. While no figures have been released, industry experts suspect that the lease was contracted below cost, generating approximately $923 million per annum for the consortium. The company intends to export the majority of the crops harvested, with 45 percent destined for Jeddah.’ http://www.ventures-africa.com/2013/11/land-grabs-in-africa-a-double-edged-sword/?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer675be&utm_medium=twitter

 

‘From Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia in the Horn, and down to Mozambique in the South, land considered idle and available has changed hands, with profound implications for local people and the environment. With estimates ranging from 56 to 227 million hectares globally (with 60-70% of this in Africa), what is clear is a rapid transformation of landholding and agricultural systems has taken place in the past five to 10 years. Underpinning these deals is the longstanding failure of many African states to recognise, in law and practice, the customary land rightsof existing farming households and communities, and the perpetuation of the colonial legal codes that centralise control over such lands in the hands of the state as trustee of all unregistered property. And it’s not just African land and water that are now so desirable for international investors, but also the growing African consumer market. In the face of growing urbanisation and consumer demand in Africa’s cities, the challenge is to scale up production and connect small farmers to markets, lest the benefits of rising food demand in Africa’s cities be netted by importers and foreign supermarkets. The land grab raises questions not only about land rights and transparency in investment, but also what constitutes inclusive agricultural development and how to bring it about.’ Read further @http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/jan/23/land-deals-africa-farming-investment?CMP=twt_gu

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