Thousands ’forcibly relocated’ in Ethiopia, says HRW report | Global development | guardian.co.uk
The Ethiopian government is forcibly moving tens of thousands of people in the remote western Gambella region, with villagers being told that their resettlement is connected to the leasing of large tracts of land for commercial agriculture, according to a human rights group.
Gambella, which is the size of Belgium, has a population of 307,000, mainly indigenous Anuak and Nuer. Its richly fertile soil has attracted foreign and domestic investors who have leased large tracts of land at favourable prices. From 2008 to January 2011, Ethiopia leased out at least 3.6m hectares of land.
An additional 2.1m hectares is available through the federal government’s land bank for agricultural investment. In Gambella, 42% of the land has either being marked for lease to investors or already awarded to investors, according to government figures. Many of the areas from which people are being moved are within areas earmarked for commercial agricultural investment.