Friday, November 08, 2013

UK and U.S. Complicity in Ethiopia's Mass Displacement

Aiding and Abetting - 
More Evidence of UK and U.S. Complicity in Ethiopia's Mass Displacement 

In the face of evidence, the UK and US continue to deny systematic human rights abuses are occurring in the Lower Omo as thousands are displaced for an irrigation scheme. The US-based think tank, the Oakland Institute, recently accused the UK and US governments of aiding and abetting the eviction of thousands of people from their land in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley. The accusation was not new - it had been made before by Survival International and Human Rights Watch amongst others. What was new about this report was that it made use of transcripts of interviews conducted by officials from the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID), during a field visit to the lower Omo in January 2012. 
The interviews were recorded by the report's author, Will Hurd, who accompanied the officials and acted as their interpreter. The recordings contain vivid first-hand accounts of the abuses suffered by local people at the hands of the government, the police and the army. Hurd, an American human rights activist who speaks one of the local languages, decided to release the recordings to journalists when both agencies claimed publicly, months after their visit, that they had found no evidence of the 'systematic' abuse of human rights. 
Having spent 40 years working as an anthropologist in the area myself, I am confident of the accuracy and authenticity of the report and of the interviews on which it is based.

So begins an informative article by David Turton (Senior Research Fellow of the African Studies Centre and former Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, both at the University of Oxford) the whole of which can be read at:

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