December 11, 2013
The Human Rights Congress (HRC) of Ethiopia has confirmed that human rights and physical abuses have been committed against thousands of Ethiopians who have been evicted from different zones of the Benishangul-Gumuz region for belonging to the “Amhara ethnic origin”.
HRC also stated that around 10, 000 citizens residing in the region have been told that they were not “natives of the region” and were forcefully evicted from the region as of April 23, 2013.
The Congress has also stated that it has confirmed from the complaints and testimonies of the representatives of the evictees that children and women, females and the helpless have been going through enormous predicament due to lack of adequate food and drink.
It also stated that it had been able to investigate the scale of the problem and the general situation of the evictees. The report states that the evictees are currently in a difficult situation and for example in some areas such as the Kamashe Zone; the properties of the returnees have been confiscated making it impossible for the returnees to restart their life.
HRC’s investigators have been able to confirm from the words of the victims that their ethnic origin has been mentioned as a reason and they have been refused and discriminated access to credits, seeds and fertilisers.
The number of evictees from the Baruda Kebele and its environs of the Bulen Woreda in Metekel Zone were around 5000 that were later spread out in Chagni town of the Amhara region. During their investigation, HRC’s researchers have found that there were over 500 people who were dispersed in different areas of the town.
The victims also told the Human Rights organisation that they have harassed, threatened and arrested for telling the abuses and hardships they have sustained during the eviction.
An application letter signed by over 140 evictees and other documents sent to the Congress reveal that they have went through a lot of suffering, abuse and discrimination at the hands of regional officials and local populace.
Evictees from Baruda Kebele have told the Congress that their properties have not yet been returned to them, they are being attacked, have got no support, are denied access to agricultural inputs for originating from “that ethnic group”.
ESAT’s reporter has also confirmed that although Ethiopians of the Amhara ethnic origin that have been evicted from the Benishangul-Gumuz region have been returned back to the region last year, they still have not received any form of help from the government and are even facing different forms of administrative abuses.