[Farm workers remove weeds from young plants at the palm oil plantation owned by Karuturi Global, near the town of Bako, in Ethiopia. Photograph: Jose Cendon/Getty Images]
Ethiopia‘s leasing of 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of prime farmland to Indian companies has led to intimidation, repression, detentions, rapes, beatings, environmental destruction, and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors, according to a new report.
Research by the US-based Oakland Institute suggests many thousands of Ethiopians are in the process of being relocated or have fled to neighbouring countries after their traditional land has been handed to foreign investors without their consent. The situation is likely to deteriorate further as companies start to gear up their operations and the government pursues plans to lease as much as 15% of the land in some regions, says Oakland.
In a flurry of new reports about global “land grabbing” this week, Oxfam said on Thursday that investors were deliberately targeting the weakest-governed countries to buy cheap land. The 23 least-developed countries of the world account for more than half the thousands of recorded deals completed between 2000 and 2011, it said. Deals involving approximately 200m ha of land are believed to have been negotiated, mostly to the advantage of speculators and often to the detriment of communities, in the past few years. Continue reading →
African leaders ignore Amnesty’s call to arrest Bush
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, December 6, 2011
ADDIS ABABA, Dec 6 – RNW correspondents in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia went in search of supporters and detractors of Amnesty International’s call to arrest former US president, George W. Bush, during his recent visit to the continent. Aiding and abetting in Addis Ababa
Ethiopians have had a good laugh about Amnesty International’s appeal, which most say is a ‘foolish’ publicity stunt to win African support for the rights group.
“This is a ridiculous attempt to show us that they are not a biased organization,” Mikael Atsbeha, a cameraman, said. “They abuse the opportunity of Bush’s visit to Africa to buy support.”
He also said the arrest is “never going to happen,” because of the strong ties Ethiopia had with the Bush administration. Ethiopia has been a loyal ally in Bush’s ‘war on terror’, fighting Islamic extremism in a US backed incursion into neighboring Somalia from 2006 to 2009. It even earned Ethiopia’s leader Meles Zenawi the nickname ‘America’s poodle’. Continue reading →
A young Ethiopian activist and teacher, Yenesew Gebre, died after he set himself on fire in Dawro, Waka, Southern Ethiopia, to protest against the injustice, corruption and atrocities the local community as well as the people of Ethiopia at large have been suffering under the brutal dictatorship of Meles Zenawi. The 29-year old Yenesew Gebre, who was a respected teacher, set himself alight on Friday, November 11, and died at Tercha Hospital on Monday, 14 November, from the severe burns he suffered, family sources told ESAT news desk.
In what appears to be a tragic climax linked with a local uprising in Waka town, which was sparked by maladministration and injustice, there have been protests in the past few weeks. As a result of the growing movement, a number of people including elders have been jailed. Yenesew was also detained for nearly a week but was released on bail pending further court hearing. Continue reading →
In front of the Saudi Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka: This angry protest was triggered by the brutal torture of a domestic worker by her employers in Saudi Arabia--who had hammered nails throughout her body. (See article below)
The Media Line Staff, November 18, 2010
Saudi Arabia (TML) – An international human rights group has called on Arab countries to better protect their foreign domestic workers, following recurring reports of abuse suffered by Asian maids.A Sri-Lankan housemaid working in Jordan told Human Rights Watch that her employer forced her to swallow nails, while another, employed in Kuwait, claimed her employer drove nails into her body.
Fleeing extreme poverty and harsh living conditions, millions of migrant domestic workers from across Asia and Africa flock to the oil-rich Persian Gulf. Leaving underdeveloped countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Nepal and Ethiopia, the workers seek higher salaries which they send home as remittances. However, higher wages often come at a high cost in human rights abuses and labor violations.
“I had no day off. There was no rest,” Sanju, a 33 year-old domestic worker from Sri Lanka working in Kuwait, told Human Rights Watch. “The Madam always beat me; she would beat me on the head […] she told me ‘I can kill you; I can beat you. No one cares about you.'” Continue reading →
[This article provides some background on the close and incestuous relationship between the Western imperialists and aid donors and the Zenawi regime, providing 90% of the government budget. At the same time, the author argues for US investigation and intervention in order to remedy the situation.-ed]
Ethiopia: Feed Them and Bleed Them
Alemayeh G. Mariam
28-10, 2010, Pambazuka News
Western donors continue to hand out billions of dollars in ‘humanitarian’ and ‘economic’ aid to Ethiopia’s Zenawi regime each year, turning a blind eye to the fact that their handouts are propping up a repressive dictatorship, writes Al Mariam.
The helping hand that feeds Ethiopians is the same hand that helps bleed Ethiopia. Every year, the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan and other Western countries hand out billions of dollars in ‘humanitarian’ and ‘economic’ aid to the regime of dictator-in-chief Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. Every year, these donors turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the notorious fact that their handouts are used to prop up and fortify a repressive one-man, one-party totalitarian dictatorship. Today, Western donors have collectively embraced the proverbial principle to ‘see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil’ of what their ‘aid’ money is doing in Ethiopia.
Last week, Human Rights Watch pried open Western donors’ eyes to see the havoc their aid money is wreaking in Ethiopia and unplugged their ears to hear the truth about the evil they are helping to spread throughout that poor country. In a report entitled, Development Without Freedom , HRW sketched out the architecture of a vast kleptocracy (government of thieves) whose lifeblood is continuous and massive infusion of foreign aid. The report represents a devastating indictment of Western donors and their client regime for crimes that, if committed in the donor countries, would constitute Class A felonies: Continue reading →