Ethiopia 'forcing out thousands in land grab'
Wednesday 18 January 2012
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 has said.
The country has already leased three million hectares – an area just smaller than Belgium – to foreign farm businesses, and the US rights group said Addis Ababa had plans to lease another 2.1 million hectares. The United Nations has 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.
Human Rights Watch said 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," it said. "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."
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 people in more fertile areas.
"Human Rights Watch has wrongly alleged the villagisation programme to be unpopular and problematic," said a government spokesman. "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."
Ethiopia says its intention in leasing large chunks of land is technology transfer and to boost production.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 5 'Isis' schoolgirls: Missing British teenager tweets picture of her Syrian takeaway
Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Power of Nepal earthquake was equivalent to 20 huge atomic bombs
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£15000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to ...
£12 - £14 per hour: Recruitment Genius: We are looking for someone to join a s...
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...