Posted October 9, 2013 in News

Land grabbing in Ethiopia

By: Thewodros Getachew From Oslo/Norway

The deal of the Century and the suffer of indigenous community

Multinational corporation/transnational companies are on the race in Ethiopia to get their hands what the international media call it the deal of the century on the land foreclosure.

Right now Ethiopia at center of land grabbing throughout its fertile lands by displacing the indigenous people forcefully and by undermining the negative impact towards the environment despite the outcry concern of many national and international organizations regards the situation.

However, leasing out massive fertile lands to the transnational companies continued aggressively as the part of the government hunt for huge amount of money to its bulky bureaucracy, corrupt officials and system.

Outrageously the government officials deeply involving in leasing out these lands in organized corrupt circle. The lease contracts were marred by a lack of transparency and accountability, safeguards and monitoring promises of jobs, schools and hospitals for the local community which deliberately ignored by the top federal and regional officials of the corrupt regime.

Meanwhile the environmental and social disaster that caused by these transnational foreign companies on the local communities in the form of destroying the forests, farms, and grazing lands that have sustained peoples for centuries for their short term profits were alarmingly getting larger and immeasurable day by day. The damage could last long for many more decades to come potentially with a wider effect in the region which frequently exposed to drought and famines in the result of poor environmental conservation.

(There were numerous reports from different media outlets, human right organization and environmental activates investors are forcing Ethiopians off their land. Thousands of farmers are being relocated or have already fled as their land is sold off to foreign investors without their consent.)

The government receives more foreign aid than any other African nation since the Western governments consider Ethiopia as a partner in the fight against terrorism and point to its progress toward achieving the so called Millennium Development Goals, an international program to end poverty and hunger. However the current Ethiopia government has a police which deliberately making some of its citizens poorer and hungrier for specific political agenda in several occasions and land grabbing is the perfect example for the claim.

The large-scale land which possessed by the transnational companiesin the form of lease exposed and accompaniedby severe environmental degradation and destruction of healthy ecosystems (water, soil and air). The companies aggressively planting food crops and agro fuels like oil palm; mainly for export purposes caused destruction and depletion of nature.

At the same time the government is forcing the Indigenous People off their ancestral lands without their consent or consultation. Government soldiers often forcing and displacing thousands of indigenous people from the very same area into state-created villages by violating their human rights, simultaneously robbing their livelihoods and cultural identity.

Their protests are being met with intimidation, extra-judicial killings, rape, incarceration, and torture. Journalists and human rights advocates in Ethiopia who speak out against these abuses are silenced or exiled.

Foreign investor’s vast tracts of lands in Ethiopia

The guardian report the situationon its February7th 2013 edition “……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 neighboring 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-governedcountries 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.

In what is thought to be one of the first “south-south” demonstrations of concern over land deals, this week Ethiopian activists came to Delhi to urge Indian investors and corporations to stop buying land and to actively prevent human rights abuses being committed by the Ethiopian authorities.

“The Indian government and corporations cannot hide behind the Ethiopian government, which is clearly in violation of human rights laws,” said Anuradha Mittal, director of the Oakland Institute. “Foreign investors must conduct impact assessments to avoid the adverse impacts of their activities……”http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/07/india-investors-forcing-ethiopians-off-land


(Ethiopia becomes the center of land grabbing throughout its fertile lands.)

Therefore the international community has a moral responsibility to involve and to stop the ongoing illegal land grabbing of the transnational foreign companies against the lands of the local community. Apparently the communities who lose access to their land are left without the means to sustain their livelihoods and ending up landless and dispossessed accompanied by severe environmental degradation and destruction simultaneously to human right violations, intimidation or deception.

Hence the interventions of the international community were vital both in diplomatic and legal means to stop the environmental degradation and suffer of the indigenous community at large.

Source: http://www.dagsavisen.no/nyemeninger/alle_meninger/cat1002/subcat1021/thread282351/#post_282351