Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Addis Ababa (AP) - Ethiopia has forcibly moved tens of thousands of semi-nomadic people in the country’s west to barren villages and threatened, assaulted and arrested those who resisted, an international rights group said in a report. The Human Rights Watch report said that Ethiopia last year resettled about 70,000 people in its western Gambella region after the first of a three-year “villagization” program. The rights group said it suspects people have been moved to lease out farmland to investors, and not just to lift them out of poverty. It said that security forces “repeatedly threatened, assaulted, and arrested villagers” who resisted relocation. It also reported rape, killing of cattle and burning of houses among rights violations.  Instead of the promised improved life with “access to basic socio-economic infrastructures,” locals found new villages that lacked food, farmland, schools and health clinics, HRW said.

The watchdog said its report is based on 100 interviews in 2011 with residents in Gambella and in a refugee camp in Kenya. The organization called upon the Ethiopian government to suspend its program until all promised facilities have been provided for. The government in Addis Ababa rejects HRW’s allegations.  Ethiopia’s minister of federal affairs denounced the allegations in a letter to Human Rights Watch as “downright fabrications” of a “politically motivated” organization. He wrote that Human Rights Watch “willfully ignores the fact that more than 50,000 people are utilizing services from the newly built” villages. HRW says it has evidence that some 70,000 indigenous people in the western Gambella region were relocated against their will to new villages that “lack adequate food, farmland, healthcare and educational facilities”.

Ethiopia’s government has been accused by US-based Human Rights Watch of forcing tens of thousands of its poorest people off their fertile land so it can be leased to foreign investors.  Indigenous peoples, like the pastoral Nuer and agrarian Anuak, are being forcibly relocated to new villages that lack adequate food, clean water, farmland, schools, clinics and other basic facilities.  When there is no sense of justice or mercy, governments utilize violence against their own people to simply serve their selfish purposes.

We are all brothers and sisters in this world. We are all visiting the planet earth for a very short time. We all have a certain amount of pains and pleasures to experience in this short visit. And the human being specially will accumulate either positive or negative reactions for everything they will do in this lifetime. And after they leave this body, very soon we will get the just compensation for what have been our deeds in this lifetime. So it is in all of our interests that we do not commit any injustice to anyone and instead of creating hellish conditions in our greed to gain more power and money. We should remember that in our next lifetime we will be subjected to the same injustices we are creating for others today.

Śrīla Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti Mahārāja :
“Attacks on Innocent Considered Most Sinful”  -

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