Exposed: Forced evictions in Ethiopia – what the UK government tried to cover up

Survival International
Published on September 3,2015

The UK government has tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley, such as the forced resettlement of the Bodi and other tribes. © Nicola Bailey/ Survival, 2015
The UK government has tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights violations in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley, such as the forced resettlement of the Bodi and other tribes.
© Nicola Bailey/ Survival, 2015

The U.K. government tried to suppress evidence of gross human rights abuses in Ethiopia to appease the government there, a new investigation by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has revealed.

The key aid donors to Ethiopia, including the U.K.’s DFID, USAID and the European Union, sent two missions to the Lower Omo Valley in the south of the country in August 2014, to investigate whether tribes there were being forced off their land to make way for commercial plantations.

The U.K. authorities refused to release the missions’ reports under the Freedom of Information Act, saying their disclosure would significantly prejudice international relations. But Survival then appealed to the European Commission, which has released them.

The reports reveal:

– That the Ethiopian government has not obtained the consent of tribes of the Lower Omo to their resettlement;

– It has pressured and threatened them into leaving their lands – in some cases in fear for their lives;

– One tribal group told the donors, “before you come back next year, the government will come to kill and finish us”;
The reports of two donors missions to the Lower Omo Valley reveal that land grabs deny the tribes access to the river banks they need for cultivation.

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