Ethiopia forcing 1 000s off land – HRW

2012-01-17 10:44
Addis Ababa - Ethiopia is forcing tens of thousands of people off their land so it can lease it to foreign investors, leaving former landowners destitute and in some cases starving, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Tuesday.

The Horn of Africa state has already leased 3 million hectares - an area just smaller than Belgium - to foreign farm businesses and the US-based rights group said that Addis Ababa had plans to lease another 2.1 million hectares.

The United Nations has increasingly voiced concern that countries such as China and Gulf Arab states are buying swathes of land in Africa and Asia to secure their own food supplies, often at the expense of local people.

HRW said that 1.5 million Ethiopians would eventually be forced from their land and highlighted what it said was the latest case of forced relocation in its report "Ethiopia: Forced Relocations Bring Hunger, Hardship".

"The Ethiopian government under its "villagisation" programme is forcibly relocating approximately 70 000 indigenous people from the western Gambella region to new villages that lack adequate food, farmland, healthcare, and educational facilities," HRW said, adding it had interviewed more than 100 people for the report.

"The first round of forced relocations occurred at the worst possible time of year - the beginning of the harvest. Government failure to provide food assistance for relocated people has caused endemic hunger and cases of starvation," it said.

Government officials deny the charge and say the affected plots of land are largely uninhabited and under-used, while it has also launched a programme to settle tens of thousands from the remote province in more fertile areas of the country.

"Human Rights Watch has wrongly alleged the villagisation programme to be unpopular and problematic," government spokesperson Bereket Simon told Reuters.

"There is no evidence to back the claim. This programme is taking place with the full preparation and participation of regional authorities, the government and residents," he said.

Ethiopia says its prime intention in leasing large chunks of land is technology transfer and to boost production in a country that has been ravaged by droughts over the past few decades.

Read more on:    hrw  |  ethiopia  |  east africa

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

10 most expensive cars In the world

This is car porn at its best!

 
 

Luxury living

Seven of the most expensive children's toys ever made
5 millionaires turned murderers
The youngest billionaires in the world and how they made it
Watch: Flying first class has never been this luxurious!
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are active, busy and on a mission today. There may be a special person you wish to entertain and may put in the extra effort...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.