Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gibe Dam rides roughshod over local tribespeople/UK Guardian

Ethiopia dam project rides roughshod over heritage of local tribespeople
Human rights abuse allegations as tens of thousands forced off
traditional lands to make way for Gibe III dam project plantations

by John Vidal, environment editor
�, Thursday 23 February 2012

Thousands of semi-nomadic tribespeople are being forcibly moved from
their traditional lands in southern Ethiopia to make way for European
and Indian sugar cane and biofuel plantations, according to
testimonies collected by Survival International researchers.

Agricultural developments along the Omo river valley have accompanied
the building of the 243-metre-high Gibe III dam, expected to be
Ethiopia's largest investment project and Africa's largest hydropower
plant. But allegations of human rights abuses have marred both the
dam's construction and the creation of a 140-mile-long reservoir
intended to provide water for irrigation of industrial-scale

"Clearance of people and bush has started in earnest in the Omo Valley
and violence against tribal people by the military, and tribal
resistance, is increasing", says a Survival researcher who has just
returned to London from the region.

"The tribes have been told the plan is to resettle them, and that this
will happen by the end of 2012. These people are among the most self-
sufficient in a country where famine and hunger are prevalent."

New sugar cane and biofuel plantations are already affecting about
10,000 people from the Bodi, Mursi and Kwegu tribes. But as the
government clears more land, more people will be affected. Between
20,000 and 40,000 could be affected by one cane project alone, claims

"The plantations and resettlement of people [into new villages] will
destroy their livelihoods and ability to fend for themselves," said a
spokesman. "They will almost certainly end up languishing in the
villages or 'camps', relying on donor aid [and] having lost all sense
of identity and self worth, as has happened with other tribes forcibly
resettled in many other countries."

The Omo tribes, who are among the most diverse in the world, have
until now depended on the annual, three-month long flood of the Omo
river, which flows from southern Ethiopia into Lake Turkana in
northern Kenya, depositing fertile silt and allowing them to plant
sorghum, maize and other crops. But without land for cultivation or
grazing, the tribes will be destitute and foodless, say international

"The government came to take the land for itself for the sugar cane
plantations," said one man in a testimony given to Survival. "It never
came to ask us. It came, took our land, and told us it wants to move
all the people in the Omo Valley to stay in one place like a camp. It
took my land. Now it beats us."

A second man said: "The government says cattle and people have to move
from the Omo valley to where there are no grass and no crops. We and
the cattle will die together. We are not rich people, we are

"There are many machines clearing the bush and the road. The
government is coming to clear our houses and throw our sorghum in the
river. Now we live in the bush because all the land has been cleared,"
said a third.

The construction of large dams has a history of insensitive
relocations of people and environmental problems. More than 400,000
people have been resettled as a direct result of dam construction in
Africa. But the construction of Gibe III could eventually affect more
than 1.5 million people, according to watchdog group International

Some of the greatest hydrological effects could be seen near Lake
Turkana, into which the river Omo flows. When the dam is complete and
the reservoir is full, possibly in 2015, the lake could shrink to one
third of its present size, jeopardising the livelihoods of up to
300,000 people.

The Ethiopian government in London did not respond to the allegations
this week, but late last year it strongly denied accusations of human
rights abuses in the valley, saying: "The government is fully
committed to rural development to benefit the people and it is equally
committed to the rights of all the nations, nationalities and peoples
in the country, including those in the Omo river basin. The reality on
the ground in the Omo Valley shows a totally different picture to that
painted by Survival International. Following consultations, local
people have confirmed agreement to the plantation projects, and to the
proposed resettlement; the projects, designed for everybody's benefit
and well-being, are progressing smoothly."

A spokesman for International Rivers said: "The dwindling of resources
caused by the dam would increase local conflicts between ethnic
groups. Firearms are already omnipresent among the region's
communities. But the dam is just one factor in a perfect storm rapidly
descending on the Lower Omo Valley. The government of Ethiopia is
exploring the area for oil and minerals and planning large-scale
agricultural and biofuel schemes, which could further fuel conflicts
over traditional land and water resources."

� � 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
All rights reserved.
Jornal do Brazil
22/02 �s 10h29 - Atualizada em 22/02 �s 10h36

Survival revela chocantes abusos aos direitos humanos na Eti�pia
Jornal do Brasil


A Survival International revelou novas evid�ncias chocantes de abusos
contra os direitos humanos de tribos no Vale do Omo na Eti�pia, dados
os esfor�os crescentes por parte do governo de desenvolver planta��es
de cana-de-a��car na regi�o.

Dois meninos Karo �s margens do rio Omo na Eti�pia, essencial �s suas
Escavadeiras t�m aplainado terra pr�xima a um Patrim�nio Mundial da
UNESCO, destruindo vilas e for�ando comunidades locais a desistirem do
seu estilo de vida pastoreio.
O medo est� crescendo entre as tribos pr�ximas ao rio Omo, com a
viol�ncia e relatos de espancamentos, estupros e pris�es.
A Survival recebeu, em janeiro de 2012, relatos de que tr�s homens
Bodi foram espancados at� a morte numa pris�o na Eti�pia.

O governo tamb�m est� ordenando �s fam�lias para que vendam os seus
animais. Um homem disse � Survival, �O meu dinheiro � o meu gado. A
minha conta banc�ria � o meu gado. �
A Survival tem fotos exclusivas de uma estrada sendo constru�da pelo
governo et�ope, a qual atravessa diretamente uma terra tribal, de
forma a facilitar o acesso a zonas de desmatamento.

Um homem Mursi declarou, �O governo est� desenvolvendo planta��es de
cana de a��car na minha terra. Quando voc� vir tudo isso, voc� chorar�
� n�o h� mais mata no Vale do Omo agora.�
Dois departamentos das Na��es Unidas demandaram � Eti�pia que
evidencie que as tribos est�o sendo consultadas, e que os
desenvolvimentos atuais n�o est�o danificando o patrim�nio cultural e
natural. Contudo, o governo et�ope ignorou os pedidos.

A Survival tamb�m recebeu preocupantes relatos em que o governo da
Eti�pia teria come�ado um processo de assentamento for�ado das tribos
do Vale do Omo.

�s comunidades tem sido dado um ano para a realoca��o, em um programa
similar �quele descrito pela Human Rights Watch no oeste et�ope na
regi�o de Gambela.

Um homem Mursi disse � Survival, �Ele (o governo) veio, roubou-nos a
terra e disse-nos que queria mover todas as pessoas no Vale do Omo a
um local como um campo.�

A Survival International disse hoje, �O governo da Eti�pia �
respons�vel por alguns dos abusos mais violentos contra os direitos
humanos que a Survival viu nos �ltimos anos. Isso acontece, uma vez
que se disfar�a o roubo de terras em nome de �desenvolvimento�,
esperando ir longe com tais atrocidades. Somente investidores estatais
e privados se beneficiar�o da usurpa��o do Vale do Omo, enquanto
tribos autossuficientes encaram a destrui��o.�

You received this message as a subscriber on the list:

To be removed from the list, please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment