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Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent, OAKLAND Institute March 10, 2018

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent

 

Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Law: A Tool to Stifle Dissent, authored by lawyers from leading international law firms, provides an in-depth and damning analysis of Ethiopia’s Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. The report examines how the law, enacted in 2009, is a tool of repression, designed and used by the Ethiopian Government to silence its critics.

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Ethiopia: Detention of Indigenous Leaders Continues January 25, 2018

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The Release of Ethiopian Political Prisoners: Stifled Voices amidst False Promises

  • “We must always remember the people outside of Addis, from marginalized communities, who are in jail for standing up and resisting government programs that took away their land.”

  • “Those who have been forgotten, whose voices are not being heard, and who are behind bars for speaking out on behalf of their people. People in Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, the Lower Omo Valley, and other places, who still remain invisible.”

For years, the Ethiopian government has denied that there are political prisoners in the country. This is despite its consistent use of the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to stifle dissent and detain thousands of politicians, journalists, religious and indigenous leaders, and students.

“2015—Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at NY event on industrialization in Africa.”. On January 3, 2018 Prime Minister Desalegn announced that the government would release all Ethiopian political prisoners and close the notorious Maekelawi police station. Credit: UNIDO (CC BY-ND 2.0)
“2015—Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at NY event on industrialization in Africa.” On January 3, 2018 Prime Minister Desalegn announced that the government would release all Ethiopian political prisoners and close the notorious Maekelawi police station. Credit: UNIDO (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Thus, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn’s recent announcement that some political prisoners would be released, sparked a mixture of relief and confusion: relief that the government was finally acknowledging and releasing political prisoners in the country; and confusion over who would be freed, and what the announcement really meant.

Uncertainty Continues after Prime Minister Desalegn’s Announcement

“The government says it will close Maekelawi, but this closure doesn’t stop the current government from torturing people.”

This uncertainty has continued. A week after the announcement, prominent Ethiopian political prisoner Bekele Gerba was sentenced to an additional six months in jail for singing a protest song during his court proceedings. Gerba, the Deputy Chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, was arrested in his home in December 2015, just months after spending four years in prison for meeting with Amnesty International researchers. Gerba was granted bail in October 30, 2017, but it was revoked two days later.

Then on January 15, it was announced that charges against 528 persons currently in detention would be dropped. Most of them, including prominent political prisoner Merera Gudina, appear to have been released on January 17.

Detention of Indigenous Leaders Continues

  • “The government says it will close Maekelawi, but this closure doesn’t stop the current government from torturing people. The torture that has taken place there was not only during the Derg, it’s under this regime too.”

However, this is not the time to celebrate given that thousands of others remain in jail. Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism law and other draconian legislation like its civil society proclamation are still in place and widely used to intimidate and repress.

Most importantly, the repressive system is not just about barring political freedom; to a large extent, it is about ensuring the control of a minority over the resources of the country and the benefits of the economic development. Many political prisoners in Ethiopia are not just members of opposition political parties but ordinary citizens who oppose the grabbing of their land and natural resources by the government.

Many are members of indigenous communities such as the Anuak, Bodi, Mursi, and other marginalized groups who spoke up against land grabbing and for the rights of their people to decent livelihoods and life with dignity. Thousands are still being held by the regime in facilities across the country though the actual number is unknown given the general opacity surrounding such matters.

Closure of Maekelawi Prison Doesn’t Guarantee End of Torture

  • “There has been public resistance in Ethiopia, and I think this pressure made them release this statement. They want people to calm down. But what the people of Ethiopia need is freedom and absolute change in the political arena. They need something practical – not just theory and words. They need democracy, they need to have the right to use their land, they need their voices to be heard.”

“I hope they release my father, and that my family, and all the other families affected by this government, can finally come together again. I hope this will help heal the wounds of Ethiopia.”

We must also scrutinize the Prime Minister’s announcement to close the notorious Maekelawi police station. The government said this closure is because Maekelawi was used as a place of torture under the previous Derg regime, insinuating that torture no longer takes place there. But, as numerous studies have documented, torture is rampant at Maekelawi and prisons across Ethiopia and, as stated below by those who have suffered at the hands of this government, its closure does nothing to guarantee that these abuses will halt.

In the course of the Oakland Institute’s work on land rights and development issues in Ethiopia, we have met or come to know many of the victims of this repressive system. We reached out to several current and past Ethiopian political prisoners and their families to hear their perspectives on the recent announcements made by the government. We share and amplify their voices here, and echo their calls for justice. Given the ongoing threats to themselves and their families, names have been withheld to protect their identities.


 

A Fire under Ashes: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in Ethiopia July 1, 2017

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A Fire under Ashes: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Rights in Ethiopia


As massive protests swept across Ethiopia last year, the dire human rights situation in the country made headlines around the world. The Financial Times described it as Ethiopia’s “Tiananmen Square moment,” and then-US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Tom Malinowski called the government’s crackdowns on dissent “self-defeating tactics.”

A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser.

The protests that brought this unprecedented attention to the country were rooted in land grabs. Starting in November 2015, Ethiopians took to the streets to oppose a “Master Plan” to expand the borders of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which would have displaced Oromian farmers from their homes and land. The plan was eventually canceled, but the protests struck a nerve and became more widespread, calling for human rights and democracy in the country.

After failed attempts to quell the increasing dissent with force, the Ethiopian government imposed a country-wide state of emergency in October 2016. Since then, the news out of Ethiopia has waned, but problems remain.

The State of Emergency: A Veil to Hide Political Turmoil

In late July 2016, as protests spread from Oromia to the Amhara region, the country’s two largest ethnic groups – who together make up over 60 percent of the population – joined together. Despite being faced with violence from the security forces, citizens refused to back down and took to innovative means, like shaving their heads in solidarity with political prisoner Bekele Gerba and launching city-wide stay-at-home protests. In August, when Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his hands above his head in solidarity with the protests as he crossed the finish line at the Rio Olympics, the plight of his people was brought to the TV screens of millions around the world. And in October, the political situation in Ethiopia further unravelled as dozens if not hundreds were killed at an annual Irreechaa celebration in Oromia, when the police response to protests triggered a stampede.

To curb this mounting dissent, a state of emergency was imposed in October 2016, including a long list of draconian measures curtailing freedoms across the country. Security forces were given greater powers, social media and diaspora news outlets were banned, curfews and travel restrictions were imposed, and more. Over 26,000 people were arrested, most of whom were sent to “rehabilitation camps,” where detainees reportedly endured physical violence, degrading conditions, and were forced to take part in a training program to ensure allegiance to the ruling party.

In March 2017, while some of the restrictions were lifted, the state of emergency was extended for another four months.

The Need for an Independent Investigation

Hundreds, if not more, lost their lives to Ethiopia’s security forces during last year’s protests, causing international human rights experts and civil society organizations to call for an international investigation. The government has rejected these calls, claiming that the investigation should be led by national institutions.

An oral report from one internal investigation, provided by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in April 2017, concluded that nearly 670 people lost their lives in last year’s violence, over 600 of whom were civilians. The commission, however, went on to blame much of the violence on opposition groups, as well as diaspora-based media outlets such as the Oromo Media Network and the television station ESAT. Worse still, the commission deemed that the use of force by security officials in many instances was “proportionate.”

Several observers have challenged these findings and question the EHRC’s independence. The Commission is both funded and overseen by the parliament and is led by Dr. Addisu Gebregziabher, who took the appointment after finishing his term as deputy chairman of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia – the agency under which the current government won 100 percent of the seats in parliament in the last election.

A few weeks after the EHRC’s oral report was heard, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein traveled to Ethiopia where he met with numerous government officials, as well as political prisoners at the notorious Kilinto jail.

In a press conference, High Commissioner Zeid brought attention to several issues plaguing Ethiopia, including the need for more “substantive, stable and open democratic space.” Zeid also noted that laws such as the Anti-Terrorism and Charities of Societies Proclamations are not aligned with international legal norms. High Commissioner Zeid did not, however, corroborate the EHRC’s findings, as his delegation was not granted permission to travel to areas affected by recent protests. Calls for an international investigation thus remain.

“I am also concerned that an excessively broad definition of terrorism may be misused against journalists, bloggers, and members of opposition parties … if the fight against terrorism is misused as a pretext to attack perceived dissent, this only feeds grievance and will weaken the State.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, May 2017

Simmering Discontent

While the state of emergency may have taken Ethiopia out of the international spotlight, it has failed to address the issues that fueled protests.

Political dissent continues to be a criminal offense. For instance, in a “further blow to press freedom in the country,” the editor of the newspaper Negere Ethiopia, Getachew Shifteraw, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for “inciting subversion.” Yonatan Tesfaye – the former spokesperson for the opposition “Blue Party” – was found guilty of encouraging “terrorism” because of his Facebook posts and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison. And indigenous land rights defender, Mr. Okello Akway Ochalla, is serving a nine-year sentence for speaking out about human rights abuses in his home region of Gambella.

Opposition party members likewise continue to be detained. Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) has been in jail since December 2015. The evidence used against Gerba includes a video in which he advocates for non-violent struggle. Merera Gudina, the chairman of the OFC, was arrested after returning from a trip to Brussels in November 2016, where he spoke to the European parliament about the current state of emergency.

The government’s second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) continues to advocate for foreign investment in large-scale commercial farming operations, which raises concerns about further land grabbing, forced displacement, and loss of livelihoods.

Unsurprisingly, given these circumstances, many expect that protests will resume once the emergency measures are lifted, with one Oromo-based judge calling the situation a “fire under ashes.”

International Complacency

At the same time, the international community has been complacent about ongoing crisis in Ethiopia. Sure, after the state of emergency was enacted, visits by some foreign dignitaries took place, including calls for democracy and fundamental freedoms. And yes, the EU recently passed a resolution on the situation in the country. But Ethiopia continues to be celebrated for its economic growth and enjoys extensive financial backing from Western and non-Western donors alike. This includes billions of dollars in multilateral and bilateral funding, as well as significant foreign investments from countries like India and China.

While millions of Ethiopians continue to be denied basic human rights, this international support sends the message that the Ethiopian government can continue its crack down on democracy and people without consequences. International complacency towards the regime may well stem from concerns around maintaining stability in an unstable region. But this short-sighted approach ignores the fact that continued repression could lead to more loss of lives and a region spiralling out of control.

Oakland Institute: World Bank Fuels Land Grabs in Africa Through Shadowy Financial Sector Investments May 4, 2017

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, Land and Water Grabs in Oromia, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia.
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“Tens of millions of hectares of land on the African continent have been grabbed by foreign investors in recent years. This has led to loss of life, land, and livelihoods for millions, and threatened the very survival of entire communities and indigenous groups,” commented Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. “The World Bank must acknowledge that this is not development. It is not poverty reduction. These are investments for corporate profits that exploit and displace people.”



In Africa, the investigation uncovered 11 projects backed by IFC clients that have transferred approximately 700,000 hectares of land to foreign investors. The projects include agribusiness concessions in the Gambela region of Ethiopia that were cleared of their indigenous inhabitants during a massive forcible population transfer campaign in the area; oil palm plantations in Gabon that have destroyed 19,000 hectares of rainforest and infringed on the customary land rights of local communities; and a gold mine in Guinea that led to the violent forced eviction of 380 families.  

“These projects are antithetical to the World Bank’s mission of fighting poverty through sustainable development,” said David Pred, Managing Director of Inclusive Development International.



World Bank Fuels Land Grabs in Africa Through Shadowy Financial Sector Investments

May 1, 2017


World Bank fuels land grabs in Africa through shadowy financial sector investments


Oakland, CA—The World Bank Group has indirectly financed some of Africa’s most notorious land grabs, according to a report by a group of international development watchdogs. The World Bank’s private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is enabling and profiting from these projects by outsourcing its development funds to the financial sector.

Unjust Enrichment: How the IFC Profits from Land Grabbing in AfricaThe report, Unjust Enrichment: How the IFC Profits from Land Grabbing in Africa, was released today by Inclusive Development International, Bank Information Center, Accountability Counsel, Urgewald and the Oakland Institute.

“Pouring money into commercial banks that are driven only by profit motivations is not the way to foster sustainable development,” said Marc Ona Essangui, Executive Director of Brainforest and winner of the Goldman environmental prize in 2009. “In Gabon, this development model has instead enabled a massive expansion of industrial palm oil, which threatens our food security and the ecological balance of Congo Basin’s ancient rainforests.”

“Tens of millions of hectares of land on the African continent have been grabbed by foreign investors in recent years. This has led to loss of life, land, and livelihoods for millions, and threatened the very survival of entire communities and indigenous groups,” commented Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. “The World Bank must acknowledge that this is not development. It is not poverty reduction. These are investments for corporate profits that exploit and displace people.”

The report is based on a yearlong investigation conducted by Inclusive Development International, which found that IFC-supported commercial banks and private equity funds have financed projects across the world that have forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused widespread deforestation and environmental damage. In Africa, the investigation uncovered 11 projects backed by IFC clients that have transferred approximately 700,000 hectares of land to foreign investors.

The projects include agribusiness concessions in the Gambela region of Ethiopia that were cleared of their indigenous inhabitants during a massive forcible population transfer campaign in the area; oil palm plantations in Gabon that have destroyed 19,000 hectares of rainforest and infringed on the customary land rights of local communities; and a gold mine in Guinea that led to the violent forced eviction of 380 families.

“These projects are antithetical to the World Bank’s mission of fighting poverty through sustainable development,” said David Pred, Managing Director of Inclusive Development International. “They also make a mockery of the IFC’s social and environmental Performance Standards, which are supposed to be the rules of the road for the private sector activities that the IFC’s intermediaries support.”

The report is the fourth of the investigative series Outsourcing Development: Lifting the Veil on the World Bank’s Lending Through Financial Intermediaries, which follows the trail of IFC money and examines at how it impacts communities around the world.

Inclusive Development International’s yearlong investigation uncovered 134 harmful or risky projects financed by 29 IFC financial-sector clients. These projects are found in 28 countries and on every continent except Antarctica. A database of the findings can be found here.

In response to the concerns raised in the Outsourcing Development investigation and by the IFC’s Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, IFC Executive Vice President Philippe Le Houérou recently acknowledged the need for the World Bank Group member to re-examine its work with financial institutions. In a blog post from April 10, Le Houérou wrote that the IFC would make “some important additional improvements to the way we work,” by scaling back the IFC’s high-risk investments in financial institutions, increasing its oversight of financial intermediary clients and bringing more transparency to these investments, among other commitments.

The IFC has also exited investments in banks highlighted by the Outsourcing Development investigation, including ICICI and Kotak Mahindra in India and BDO Unibank in the Philippines.

“We welcome the IFC’s new commitments to encourage a more responsible banking system by increasing its oversight and capacity building of financial sector-clients moving forward,” said Pred. “However, rather than simply divest, we want to see the IFC work with its clients to redress the serious harms that communities have suffered as a result of the irresponsible investments that we have brought to light.”

“IFC’s collusion in land-grabbing in Africa is deeply shocking, so its pledge to reduce high risk lending to banks is welcome, said Kate Geary, Forest Campaign Manager for Bank Information Centre Europe. “But how can we be sure when there is no disclosure of where over 90 per cent of IFC’s money invested through third parties ends up? The IFC’s financial sector clients must come clean about projects they are financing so they can be held accountable to their commitments to invest responsibly.”

Financial-sector lending represents a dramatic shift in how the IFC does business. After decades of lending directly to companies and projects, the World Bank Group member now provides the bulk of its funds to for-profit financial institutions, which invest the money as they see fit, with little apparent oversight. Between 2011 and 2015, the IFC provided $40 billion to financial intermediaries such as commercial banks and private equity funds. Other development finance institutions have followed suit.


Unjust Enrichment: How the IFC Profits from Land Grabbing in Africa is available at:

https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/unjust-enrichment-ifc-profits-land-grabbing-africa

The Outsourcing Development series is available at: http://www.inclusivedevelopment.net/outsourcing-development

A database of IFC Financial Intermediary sub-Investments with serious social, environmental and human rights risks and impacts is available at:

https://goo.gl/UZ90PI

For more information, please contact:

David Pred, Managing Director of Inclusive Development International: +1 917-280-2705; david@inclusivedevelopment.net; Twitter: @preddavid

Kate Geary, Forest Campaign Manager at BIC Europe: +44 7393 189175; kgeary@bankinformationcenter.org

Moritz Schröder, Communications Director at Urgewald: +49 17664079965, moritz@urgewald.org

Kindra Mohr, Policy Director at Accountability Counsel: +1 202-742-5804, kindra@accountabilitycounsel.org, Twitter: @AccountCounsel

Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute: +1 510-469-5228; amittal@oaklandinstitute.org, Twitter: @MittalOak


 

Trump, Ethiopia: Neither is Normal February 15, 2017

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Odaa Oromoooromianeconomist

 

Oakland Institute

There has been nothing normal about the political, social and economic situation in Ethiopia for years. But this past year has seen things get far worse, with increasing state violence and restrictions on basic human rights.


Trump, Ethiopia: Neither is Normal

By Elizabeth Fraser,  Oakland Institute,  November 29, 2016


In the weeks since Donald Trump was elected, many have focused on the need to not normalize the man, his words, or his actions.1

This call is vital. We cannot normalize having someone in the White House who has become the very face of bigotry, islamophobia, white supremacy, misogyny, and contempt for the environment.


Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.
Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.

This call has also got me thinking about the many times and ways that normalization gets in the way of real change. One country that comes to mind is Ethiopia.

One Year Anniversary of Oromo Protests Against Land Grabs

November marked the one year anniversary of the start of mass protests in Ethiopia’s Oromo region. The protests began in reaction to a proposed land grab by the government in order to expand the borders of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Land grabbing in the name of “development” is not new to Ethiopia, and previous grabs have involved widespread human rights abuses. So, it was a major victory when this particular land grab was successfully defeated. But the protests didn’t stop. Instead, they expanded into calls for human rights, democracy, and justice, and spread across the country.

These protests are a reaction to an authoritarian state that has oppressed people for years; a state that has cracked down on freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion; a state that has jailed students, political opposition members, land rights defenders, religious leaders, journalists and more for raising their voices; a state that received 100 percent of the seats in a supposedly “democratic” election; and much more.2

Ethiopian Government’s Response: Bloodshed and Brutality

Sadly, the protests have been met with bloodshed and brutality. In early October 2016, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn admitted that 500 protesters had been killed by security forces in previous months. This came one week after the Irreechaa tragedy which took between fifty-two and several hundred lives and one month after a fire at the Kilinto prisonleft dozens dead. Days later, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency that included a laundry list of curtailed freedoms.

For a few weeks around the state of emergency, it felt as if all eyes were finally on Ethiopia. US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski penned a scathing op-ed that called the abuses perpetrated by the Ethiopian government “self-defeating tactics.” Social media exploded with images, videos, and reports from the ground. A Human Rights Resolution was put before the US Congress, one of Ethiopia’s largest donors.

But in recent days the international outrage appears to have shifted.

While the Ethiopian government continues to crackdown, Germany has lifted its travel ban to the country. Diplomats are allowed to travel outside of Addis Ababa. The World Bank has gone back to publishing articles on so-called climate smart agriculture. Civil society groups are organizing a conference on changing food systems in Africa later this month. The list goes on.

Trump, Ethiopia: Not the Time to Normalize

“Not normal” is happening all over the world, and looking away is not an option.

But things in Ethiopia are far from normal. In mid-November, the government released a list of over 11,600 people who were arrested in the first six weeks of the state of emergency. Mobile internet is frequently turned off across the country, and social media sites remain blocked. You can still be arrested for crossing your hands above your head, discussing the situation with outsiders, or listening to diaspora radio and TV. At the same time, the Ethiopian government has gone out of its way to issue diatribes against the work of the Oakland Institute and Human Rights Watch,3 and, according to The Hill, even mocked the potential of the US House Resolution on human rights in Ethiopia to pass.

There has been nothing normal about the political, social and economic situation in Ethiopia for years. But this past year has seen things get far worse, with increasing state violence and restrictions on basic human rights.

The world is calling on us to stand up for a lot of things right now. As we work to keep from normalizing Trump, let us extend this standard to all of our work. “Not normal” is happening all over the world, and looking away is not an option.

Footnotes

Oakland Institute: Ethiopia’s State of Emergency: Authorizing Oppression. #Oromoprotests #OromoRevolution October 22, 2016

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Ethiopia’s State of Emergency: Authorizing Oppression


The government of Ethiopia has responded to a groundswell of protests, which are calling for democracy and human rights for all, by imposing a six-month long state of emergency, effective October 8.

The list of measures curtailing freedoms through the emergency are far-reaching. They include bans on: social media; accessing news outlets such as the US-based ESAT and Oromo Media Network; participating in or organizing protests without government authorization; making gestures, including the infamous crossing of arms above your head; and visiting government, agriculture or industry facilities between 6pm and 6am. With Addis Ababa as the seat of several international organizations including the African Union, foreign diplomats are now only allowed to travel within a 25 miles radius of the capital. Security forces have been given greater powers, including the ability to search people and homes without a court order and the authority to use force, while due process is suspended. Finally, opposition groups are barred from issuing statements to the press, and Ethiopians are not allowed to discuss issues that could “incite violence” with foreigners. This includes speaking to the media or providing information to international civil society groups such as the Oakland Institute.

A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
A poster of Olympic silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa at a protest in Oakland, California. Making the crossed arm gesture is now a criminal offense under Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser.

These measures are appalling, especially given that a major cause of the protests was the prevailing lack of basic human rights, democracy, and freedoms of speech and assembly in the first place. Ethiopia has been under a de-facto state of emergency for a long time. These new draconian rules don’t address the situation in the country. Instead, they legalize and expand the authoritarian and repressive rule that the Ethiopian regime has maintained for years.

The international community must take swift action to denounce the state of emergency and the continuous repression of basic human rights in the country. If they do not, history will remember donor countries – including the US – as complicit, while hundreds have already been killed and thousands lie in jail for speaking out for democracy, human rights, and true development for all.

Ethiopia’s State of Emergency: Cracking Down on Basic Freedoms

The state of emergency in Ethiopia puts significant restrictions on basic freedoms of assembly and expression. But this is not new.

Numerous bloggers and journalists continue to suffer in Ethiopia’s prisons because of their vocal opposition to the government. On October 1, 2016, prominent blogger Seyoum Teshome was arrested after being quoted in a New York Times article about anti-government protests and announcing his plans to start a new blog. Seyoum is yet another addition to a long list in a country that is the third worst jailer of journalists in Africa.

Opposition parties have also experienced serious crackdowns on their ability to express themselves. Bekele Gerba, deputy chairman of one of the largest opposition parties, was arrested in August 2011 after meeting with Amnesty International. He was released prior to President Barak Obama’s visit to Ethiopia in July 2015, and re-arrested in December of the same year when protests started in Oromo. He continues to languish in jail.

Similarly, bans on social media and internet black outs are common, with numerous reports of internet shut downs this year.

This further crack down on social media and freedom of expression is an effort to shut out the international community, making it easier for the Ethiopian government to supress dissent. Repressing freedoms of expression and assembly have already created a highly volatile situation – these new measures will only worsen things.

Ruling with an Iron Fist

In early October 2016, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister admitted that 500 protesters had been killed by security forces in previous months, stating that the number of casualties was unimportant and threatening to deal with protesting groups forcefully. This declaration came a week after the Irreechaa tragedy, where between fifty-five and several hundred protesters were killed after security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition on crowds at the country’s largest religious and cultural festival, triggering a stampede. It came a month after a fire in the Kilinto prison, which holds numerous political prisoners and anti-government protesters, left dozens of prisoners dead.  And it came two months after the Prime Minister threatened that his government would use “its full forces to bring the rule of law” to protesting regions.

With the state of emergency, the government legalizes and legitimizes a long tradition of ruling by force. It has already had a significant impact. Between October 17 and 20, over 2,600 people were arrested under the new laws. This number will undoubtedly increase in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Due Process: A Farce in Ethiopia

Due process has long been a farce in Ethiopia. The country’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP), adopted in 2009, has been used to arbitrarily detain and arrest students, bloggers, land rights defenders, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders, and more for exercising basic freedoms. The law violates international human rights law, as well as modern criminal justice and due process standards.

Amongst the thousands who have been unlawfully detained under the ATP are Pastor Omot Agwa and Okello Akway Ochalla.

Pastor Omot, a former interpreter for the World Bank Inspection Panel, was arrested in March 2015 while attempting to travel to a food security conference, organized by Bread for All, in Nairobi. He was charged as a terrorist under the claim that the meeting he was attending was a terrorist meeting. He has been in jail since then, and is still waiting for a trial.

Okello Akway Ochalla was illegally kidnapped in South Sudan and renditioned to Ethiopia. His charge is based on his vocal opposition to the Ethiopian government, and its role in a massacre of indigenous Anuak people in December 2003.  After two years of detention, during which Mr. Okello was forced to sign a false confession under duress, his sentence was lessened from terrorist to criminal charges. He was still given nine years in prison.

The suspension of due process under the state of emergency increases the likelihood of arbitrary detainments and unfair trials, two issues already endemic to Ethiopia and must be addressed immediately.

The Failure of the International Community

The mainstream media is finally waking up to the brutality of the Ethiopian regime. The Financial Times called this Ethiopia’s “Tiananmen Square moment.” Foreign governments are also taking notice, however, their statements remain very mild and fail to firmly condemn the violence and repression.

The US State Department declared that it was “troubled by the potential impact” of the state of emergency, reiterated its “longstanding call for the Government of Ethiopia to respect its citizens’ constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms,” and called for “peaceful dialogue” in the country. Statements by the United Nations, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, andEuropean Union make similar calls for “inclusive dialogue” that are stunningly disconnected from the reality on the ground.

This toothless rhetoric fails to acknowledge the years of oppression and abuse that Ethiopians have faced under the current regime and that generated these protests. More importantly, it must be asked who can take part to the dialogue when so many political opponents and community leaders are in jail or in exile?

For years, the US, UK, and others have heralded Ethiopia as a blueprint for development, and provided massive financial support to their champion. But the model has failed. As our recent report shows, economic growth in Ethiopia has not lifted up the masses – it has happened alongside widespread hunger and poverty, forced displacements, and massive human rights abuses. This has led to the current tipping point, and tensions in the country are finally, understandably boiling over. The international community must recognize the failure of this model – and their role in it – and step in before more blood is shed.


 

Oakland Institute: After Irreechaa Tragedy, the US Must Take Action for Human Rights in Ethiopia October 4, 2016

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Oakland Institute

After Irreechaa Tragedy, the US Must Take Action for Human Rights in Ethiopia


October 4, 2016

Irreechaa Holiday 2016: Protests and Tragedy

The annual Irreechaa festival is a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the Oromo people of Ethiopia. After the hardship of the winter months, the festival welcomes the spring and attracts millions to the town of Bishoftu in one of the largest cultural and spiritual celebrations of the year.

But instead of jubilation, this year’s festival was met with bloodshed. Between 55 and several hundred anti-government protesters were killed when Ethiopian security forces used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition on crowds, triggering a stampede.

Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA Credit: Elizabeth Fraser
Protest for Human Rights in Ethiopia, Oakland, CA. Credit: Elizabeth Fraser

The exact details of this atrocity are difficult to confirm—Ethiopian authorities routinely jail journalists and bloggers for critiquing the government and internet and cell phone reception in the Bishoftu region has reportedly been cut off. But regardless of the exact details, this is the latest in a series of events that signal increasing state violence.

State Violence Mounting in Ethiopia

For almost a year, protests have erupted in the Oromo and now also the Amhara regions of Ethiopia. They originated in response to a “Master Plan” that was set to expand the boundaries of Addis Ababa and take land away from farmers in the region, but have grown into larger calls for democracy and human rights in the country. Between November 2015 and January 2015, at least 400 people—mostly students—were killed by security forces in Oromo in the start of these protests. In August, nearly 100 more were killed in similar events in Oromo and Amhara. In September, a fire in the prison holding political prisoners and anti-government protesters in September took the lives of 23.

The trend is clear: state violence and repression in Ethiopia is mounting, and the international community is doing little to stop it.

Over the past eight years, the Oakland Institute has extensively researched, monitored, and reported on land and human rights abuses in Ethiopia. We started this work by examining detrimental land investments. This work led us to document the widespread human rights violations and repression of critics and opponents of the government’s development plans that were grabbing land and resources from its own citizens. In the wake of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation that led to the arrest of students, land rights defenders, journalists, indigenous leaders, opposition politicians, religious leaders, and more for exercising basic freedoms; in the wake of the villagization program that set out to forcibly relocate up to 1.5 million people to make their land available for foreign investment; in the wake of this year’s anti-government protests that have seen hundreds, if not thousands, killed by security forces—our work has expanded and our appeals for justice have grown.

Today, as we all reel from this latest tragedy, we say enough is enough. The US—as the largest bilateral donor to the country—must take a firm stand for human rights, democracy, and justice in Ethiopia.

House Resolution 861—Human Rights in Ethiopia

In September, Resolution 861—“Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Encouraging Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia”—was introduced in the House of Representatives, thanks to the courageous leadership of Representative Chris Smith. To date, it has been publically co-sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH). The resolution summarizes and condemns the massive abuses taking place in Ethiopia; calls on numerous US departments and agencies to review their financing of the Ethiopian government; and “stands by the people of Ethiopia and supports their peaceful efforts to increase democratic space and to exercise the rights guaranteed by the Ethiopian constitution.” The resolution’s support is growing, with news received last week that Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will also be signing on.

The US Must Act Now

The US and Ethiopia have a unique relationship: the US has relied on Ethiopia in its war on terrorism in the region, while Ethiopia relies on the US as a primary aid contributor. Because of this relationship, the position of the US is vital. A strong statement from the US would not only cause the Ethiopian authorities to take heed, but could inspire other world leaders to stand up for human rights in the country as well.

Over the past year, nearly one thousand people have lost their lives because they stood up for justice and human rights. How many more innocent lives need to be lost before the US is willing to take a stand?

All eyes are on us. The time to act is now.

Take Your Hands Off The Earth! October 1, 2016

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When we think of land grabbing in Africa, all too often we think of China or the Gulf States as being the principal actors, but this is far from the truth. “Development agencies, universities, pension funds, Norwegian churches, banks and private equity funds are all involved.” There is also a common perception that the lands grabbed are then turned over to monoculture production of soy, corn or palm oil, products which sustain unhealthy Western diets with lots of sugar and meat. But in fact, a lot of the time something even worse happens. The lands are not used to grow any food at all, but left completely fallow. “This is true for the majority of the hundreds of land contracts we have studied,” Mittal tells us. “They grow nothing at all, but simply speculate on the land in order to sell it at a profit later.” The consequences for the previous residents of these lands are internal displacement, hunger, and violence if they try to resist. In cases, where lands are used for agricultural production, furthermore, the nature of social relations is changed, as the new owners create seasonal jobs, meaning the people who once farmed the land freely are reduced to being sharecroppers, inevitably increasing profits for the new owners.


 

Take Your Hands Off The Earth!

landgrabbing

On September 24th, we were joined by activists from six countries as well as Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Anuradha Mittal, the founder of the Oakland Institute, who moderated the Terra Madre Forum on land grabbing, “Take Your Hands Off The Earth”.

As Mittal pointed out in her opening speech, food prices have risen both in nominal terms and as a percentage of spending for people in the developing world since 2008, with the amount of household expenditure on food up by as much as 50%. The capacity of poor people in developing countries to grow their own food and feed themselves without reliance on imports or supermarkets is more important than ever, insofar as it represents people’s ability to withstand the whims of the free market. When we think of land grabbing in Africa, all too often we think of China or the Gulf States as being the principal actors, but this is far from the truth. “Development agencies, universities, pension funds, Norwegian churches, banks and private equity funds are all involved.” There is also a common perception that the lands grabbed are then turned over to monoculture production of soy, corn or palm oil, products which sustain unhealthy Western diets with lots of sugar and meat. But in fact, a lot of the time something even worse happens. The lands are not used to grow any food at all, but left completely fallow. “This is true for the majority of the hundreds of land contracts we have studied,” Mittal tells us. “They grow nothing at all, but simply speculate on the land in order to sell it at a profit later.” The consequences for the previous residents of these lands are internal displacement, hunger, and violence if they try to resist. In cases, where lands are used for agricultural production, furthermore, the nature of social relations is changed, as the new owners create seasonal jobs, meaning the people who once farmed the land freely are reduced to being sharecroppers, inevitably increasing profits for the new owners.

There are harrowing stories of lands being bought at unbelievable prices, Mittal continues, citing the example of South Sudan, which gained statehood in 2011. Though for the Western media, the creation of the new country signaled a settlement to a decade-long civil war, the problems are far from over. “In South Sudan, the country with the most transnational land acquisitions, land has been sold for as little as US$0.025 cents per hectare.”

Nyikaw Ochalla of the Anywaa Survival Organization in Ethiopia told us of the country’s vague anti-terrorism laws which allow the government to arrest and imprison anyone who dissents from the State’s policy. There activists such as Yonatan Tesfaye who are facing the death penalty in Ethiopia simply for criticizing the government’s crackdown on anti-landgrabbing protests on Facebook.

Mamy Rakotondrainibe, a key activist in the Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches in Madagascar, told us how the South Korean company Daewoo had bought over a million hectares of land there in 2009 to create an enormous palm oil plantation, the product of which would have been exported back to South Korea. The deal represented half the country’s arable land, and the Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches petitioned the government to stop it. At first the government ignored the petition, and it was only after violent protests which left over 100 people dead that country’s President Ravalomanana fled to South Africa, and his replacement stopped the deal. Nonetheless, smaller but less-publicized deals continue to go ahead in Madagascar, slowly stripping the population of their ancestral lands, in a country where 65% of the population live from agriculture.

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Andrew Orina from Kenya told us how the construction of hydroelectric dams on Lake Turkana (the fourth largest in Africa, and the world’s largest alkaline lake) threaten its very existence, and it will likely be split it in two. This will force massive migrations, loss of arable land, destruction of fisheries, and an ecological disaster.

Edward Loure, a Goldman Prize winner from Tanzania, is pioneering a fightback against land grabbing in his country through deeds which recognize indigenous communities’ collective right to their ancestral lands, rather than and instead of any one individual’s propriety. Despite this, Tanzania continues to be a prime target for foreign direct investment in land, and it will require a sustained struggle against the investors to secure the rights of these indigenous peoples.

Helpme Hamkhein Mohrmen of Northeast India told us how in that region, it is a change in thinking about land brought about through modern legal structures which is to blame for tensions over land. In the past, the indigenous clans saw themselves as “custodians” of the land, that is, not having inherited the land from their ancestors, but borrowing them from their children. This idea of custodianship is dying out, replaced by ideas of propriety, which has mainly been exacerbated by the recognition of the value of the region’s mineral resources (including Uranium) which were once irrelevant.
Néstor Joaquín Mendieta Cruz of Colombia, who is also a Slow Food convivium leader, recounted how since 1990, the amount of land available for agricultural production in Colombia was 2.5 million hectares, which has now been reduced to 1.5 million. Half of this land, 500,000 hectares, is now used for the production of palm oil, and despite Colombia already being the number one producer of palm oil in South America, the government plans to increase the amount of land dedicated to its production to a million hectares. In some regions of the country, private security forms create checkpoints along the roads to stop local people from occupying their lands.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz brought a message of hope to the audience, and clearly conveyed her conviction that the fight for indigenous peoples’ land rights is an essential part of the struggle for global food security. As UN Special Rapporteur for the rights of Indigenous Peoples, she wants to see laws still in force from the colonial era which consider indigenous lands to be empty (as happened in Australia and the Philippines) revoked, and is leading the charge by tackling governments directly, around the world. Though many of the large industrialized countries, particularly the United States, Australia and New Zealand ignore or deny her reports, progress is being made. We need a concerted, collaborative effort, which Slow Food can proudly take part in, in order to reverse these trends and shift government policy around the world in recognition of land rights, and against land grabbing.

Read more:

LAND RIGHTS NOW

OAKLAND INSTITUTE

 

The Oakland Institute: Miracle or mirage? Manufacturing hunger and poverty in Ethiopia September 27, 2016

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Miracle or mirage? manufacturing hunger and poverty in Ethiopia


Oakland Institute, 27 September 2016

 


As months of protest and civil unrest hurl Ethiopia into a severe political crisis, a new report from the Oakland Institute debunks the myth that the country is the new “African Lion.” Miracle or Mirage? Manufacturing Hunger and Poverty in Ethiopia exposes how authoritarian development schemes have perpetuated cycles of poverty, food insecurity, and marginalized the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

A key government objective is to make Ethiopia one of the largest sugar producers in the world. Several sugar expansion plans are underway, including the colossal Kuraz Project in the Lower Omo Valley, which will include up to five sugar factories and 150,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations that rely on Gibe III Dam for irrigation. Studies show that Gibe III could reduce the Omo River flow by as much as 70 percent, threatening the livelihoods of 200,000 Ethiopians and 300,000 Kenyans who depend on the downstream water flow for herding, fishing, and flood-recession agriculture.

Miracle or Mirage? offers lessons from the deadly impact of sugar and cotton plantations in the Awash Valley in the Afar Region, established in the 1950s. The projects drastically reduced land and water availability for people and cattle, undermined food security, destroyed key drought coping mechanisms, and stirred up violent conflicts between different groups over the remaining resources. The establishment of plantations was a critical factor in the 1972-1973 famine, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200,000 Afar people. These findings raise serious questions about the government’s logic behind sugar expansion, with $11.2 billion to be invested by 2020, and much more for irrigation schemes and dams – Gibe III alone cost Ethiopia $1.8 billion.

Using quantitative evidence, the report also details how plantations established in the Awash Valley have been far less profitable than pastoralist livestock production, while carrying massive environmental costs including the depletion of vital water resources.

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Oakland Institute: Ethiopia: The Time for Change is Now! #OromoProtests September 17, 2016

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Ethiopia: The Time for Change is Now!


Last weekend on the eve of two large celebrations in Ethiopia—the Ethiopian New Year and the beginning of Eid al-Adha festivities—the Ethiopian authorities pardoned approximately 1,000 people, 135 of whom had been charged under the country’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation. Amongst those released were leaders of theEthiopian Muslim community, who have been in jail since July 2012 when they were detained for protesting against governmental interference in religious affairs.1

Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.
Ethiopian army soldiers monitoring Suri people during a festival in Kibish. Credit: Oakland Institute.

While the release of these political prisoners is welcome, we must not be fooled by this supposedly “generous” act. The Ethiopian government frequently issues pardons at times of international scrutiny. Before President Obama’s trip to Ethiopia in July 2015, for instance, numerous high profile political prisoners were released, including Bekele Gerba,2 Reeyot Alemu, and several of the Zone 9 Bloggers. Pardons like these are strategic. They are meant to make the Ethiopian government look reasonable, with the hope that the international community will be pacified and look the other way.

But the abuses continue, and cannot be ignored.

Just two days after the pardons, it was reported that two more Ethiopian opposition members had been arrested. On September 3rd, at least 23 prisoners died “under disputed circumstances” when a fire broke out in Ethiopia’s notorious Kilinto jail. Those jailed at Kilinto include numerous Oromo protesters, former World Bank translator Omot Agwa, and prominent Oromo opposition politician, Bekele Gerba. Local news reports allege that prison guards opened fire on the detained during the fire.

And let us not forget the thousands that remain behind bars, having not been included in what appears to have been an arbitrary set of pardons.

Mounting Pressure

The Ethiopian government has good reason to worry about the growing dissent in the country. The past months have seen increased unity in the courageous fight for democracy and human rights. Community members engaged in the struggle told Oakland Institute staff “there will be no jubilation until all political prisoners, regardless of religious or ethnicity, are released.”

International pressure, too, has mounted. On September 12th, Rep. Chris Smith introduced House Resolution 861, entitled “Supporting human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia.” The bill recounts the many abuses taking place in Ethiopia – from the impact of the villagization program on the Anuak in Gambella, to the numerous unlawful arrests made under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; the crackdown on civil society organizations under the Charities and Societies Proclamation to the numerous extrajudicial killings that have taken place during this past year’s protests – and calls for strong action, both by the US and Ethiopian governments. One day later, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed deep concern in his opening remarks before the Human Rights Council regarding the “lethal use of force against protesters, enforced disappearances, and mass detentions” by Ethiopian forces. He reaffirmed his previous calls for an “independent, impartial, and international” investigation.

Solidarity actions are also taking root in the US. On Friday September 16th, the Oromo Renaissance Organization will hold a peaceful rally in Oakland to “denounce the deadly crackdown … on peaceful protesters in Oromia and other regions of the country.”3 Earlier this week, Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa held a high-profile press conference in Washington DC, bringing significant international media attention to the plight of not just the Oromo people, but those in Amhara and Gambella as well. Lilesa will hold another press conference on September 18th in Minneapolis, hosted by the Oromo Community of Minnesota.4

A Critical Moment for Ethiopia

This is a critical moment for Ethiopia. The US Government, United Nations leaders, and the international media are all paying attention to the abuses taking place, and finally giving these atrocities the attention they deserve. Now, more than ever, the international community needs to follow through on its responsibility. We must not accept the introduction of a bill or the pardoning of 1,000 as enough. Instead, we must continue to call for universal human rights, democracy, and justice across Ethiopia.

The time for change in Ethiopia is now!


Footnotes

 

  • [1] Their sentencing was condemned by the Chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, who called the Muslim leaders “peaceful advocates for religious freedom.”
  • [2] Bekele Gerba was rearrested in December 2015, and continues to languish in jail.
  • [3]The peaceful rally, coordinated by the Oromo Renaissance Organization, will be held on Friday September 16 from 11am – 2pm at 1301 Clay Street in Oakland, CA.
  • [4] The press conference with Feyisa Lilesa, hosted by the Oromo Community of Minnesota, will be held at 12:00pm on Sunday September 18th at the Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave S., in Minneapolis, MN.

 

New Report from State Department Details Widespread Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia. #OromoProtests May 11, 2016

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New Report from State Department Details Widespread Human Rights Abuses in Ethiopia

Oakland Institute, 9 May 2016

Suruma people of the Omo Valley are being tortured by  fascist Ethiopia (Agazi) foreces because  they protested their land being taken for Sugar  plantation

 

Oakland, CA—The United States Department of State recently released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, including an in-depth account of the human rights situation in Ethiopia. The report confirmed many of the ongoing human rights violations that the Oakland Institute has detailed in Ethiopia, including: abuses associated with the Government’s villagization program; restrictions on basic freedoms of expression, assembly, association, movement, and religious affairs; restrictions on activities of civil society organizations; and more.

“The US State Department report confirms that countless human rights abuses are being perpetrated by the Ethiopian Government,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. “It also highlights appalling issues associated with Ethiopia’s criminal system, such as the use of torture, a weak and politically influenced judiciary, life-threatening prison conditions, and the use of electric shocks and beatings to extract confessions.”

Caught in this horrific system are thousands of journalists, political opposition members, land rights defenders, students, and indigenous and religious leaders, who have been unlawfully detained and arrested under Ethiopia’s draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.

Included in the State Department report are the cases of Ethiopian Muslim leaders, detained and charged under the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation for participating in protests for religious freedom; and of land rights defenders Omot Agway Okwoy, Ashinie Astin, and Jamal Oumar Hojele who were arrested en route to a food security conference in Nairobi and charged under the Anti-Terrorism law.

Countless more stories were not included in the report, including that of indigenous Anuak leader Okello Akway Ochalla, who was abducted in South Sudan and forcibly taken to Ethiopia, in complete violation of extradition treaties and international law, for speaking out about abuses perpetrated against the people of Gambella, Ethiopia. On April 27, 2016, after more than two years in jail, Mr. Okello was handed a nine year prison sentence.

“Over the past years, countless indigenous communities have been evicted from their land to make way for large-scale land grabs in Ethiopia,” commented Mittal. “These displacements are happening without the free, prior, and informed consent of the impacted populations, and when communities resist, they are forcibly removed by means of violence, rape, imprisonment, and the denial of humanitarian assistance, including food aid. To make matters worse, the people who stand up and fight for the rights of those communities – people like Mr. Okello and Pastor Omot – are being jailed. This must stop.”

“Ethiopia is the United States’ closest ally in Africa and the second largest recipient of US overseas development assistance in Africa,” she continued. “In these unique roles, the US has both the power and the moral responsibility to ensure that basic human rights and the rule of law are upheld in the country. Through its report, the United States acknowledges the widespread human rights violations taking place in Ethiopia. The question is: when will the US finally do something to address this egregious situation?”


http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/new-report-state-department-details-widespread-human-rights-abuses-ethiopia


 

AFRICA: AGROECOLOGY CASE STUDIES OF OAKLAND INSTITUTE November 19, 2015

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???????????Study on Agroecology (OAKLAND INSTITUTE) in Africa Sweet potato harvest. Credit to Aminah Jasho, KHCP.

 

The thirty-three case studies shed light on the tremendous success of agroecological agriculture across the African continent. They demonstrate with facts and figures how an agricultural transformation respectful of the farmers and their environment can yield immense economic, social, and food security benefits while also fighting climate change and restoring soils and the environment.

What is Agroecology?


Agroecology is the application of ecological science to agriculture and agroecosystems. It encompasses a wide-variety of practices, which are coherent with key principles of environment preservation, social fairness, and economic viability. Therefore, agroecology combines parameters of sound ecological management, like minimizing the use of toxics by using on-farm renewable resources and privileging endogenous solutions to manage pests and disease, with an approach that upholds and secures farmers’ livelihoods.

 

Local Context, Long-Term Impact

While agroecology promotes low use of external inputs, it is a very knowledge-intensive system. Transmission of this knowledge, adaptation to local contexts, and appropriation by farmers and government technicians, are essential steps for farmers and communities to reap the benefits of agroecology. The case studies demonstrate how the expansion of agroecological practices will generate a rapid, fair and inclusive development, that can be sustained for future generations.