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Ethiopians Call for an end to forced evictions in Homeland


Ethiopian News
by George Newcomb 
Source :
April 20, 2013

A few hundred members of the Ethiopian community rallied outside the World Bank today as the bank and it’s sister organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), held their annual/spring meetings. The protesters called for an end to what they say is the World Bank’s financing of forced evictions and ethnic cleansing in their homeland. They were joined by members of the Cambodian community as Cambodians formerly faced similar circumstances.

Ethiopia remains one of the largest recipients of aid from the World Bank. The aims of the aid are commendable, but many Ethiopians claim the government is forcibly resettling over 1.5 million people. They say 3 million acres of land has been sold by the government to foreign entities, including the governments of Saudi Arabia other Gulf Nations which profit off the land. They say the Ethiopian government is allowing this to happen, and it’s because of the World Bank’s financing that the displacements and selling of land becomes possible.

Cambodians faced the same predictament in 2011, but the government of Cambodia was eventually denied a loan because of their violations of the human rights of its citizens. Ethiopians are calling upon the World Bank to deny the Ethiopian government loans as well.

“The World Bank should be leading by example. They should be supporting the people, but not the dictators,” stated Obang Metho, a member of the Washington, DC area Ethiopian community and Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia.

“The money that the World Bank gives to Ethiopia … there’s a study done that the Ethopians use that money to evict the local people from their land so that land can be leased to foreign investors in what is now called a land grab,” Metho further explained. “What we are saying it is not a land grab, it’s a life grab. It’s grabbing the lives of innocent people who have been depending on the land for generations. What we are now telling the World Bank is that accountability is now very crucial.”

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