Ethiopian authorities have inadvertently revealed the existence of highly ambitious plans to resettle Lower Omo Valley tribes who stand in the way of a massive plantations scheme.
The map was included in an internal report by the country’s Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), into the environmental impact of planned sugarcane plantations in the Omo.
Leaked to Survival International, the map shows where Ethiopia intends to resettle tribes whose land and communities stand in the way of their ‘development’ plans.
It reveals the huge ambition of the project, which is already destroying the land of tribes such as the Mursi, Bodi and Kwegu.
Reliable sources have confirmed to Survival that construction has already begun on at least three resettlement camps on Bodi land in the north of the Lower Omo Valley.
Violent human rights abuses against all indigenous communities in the Omo Valley are becoming commonplace, as the rush to ‘develop’ gathers pace.
One Mursi man told Survival, ‘I am waiting to die because the government has taken my land…The government is collecting all the people in the Omo Valley to put in one place.’
Many tribespeople have been told that the government will take away their cattle (a vital part of their livelihood). They will then have little choice but to become workers on the plantations which will occupy their lands.
One Bodi told Survival, ‘The government is lying to us. It says to us, you have to move down the Omo Valley. We will give you everything to eat and drink.’
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This leaked map reveals what the Ethiopian government has wanted to conceal – its intention to resettle indigenous tribes in the Lower Omo Valley. Taken together with the widespread reports of violent evictions and intimidation, it clearly shows Ethiopia’s end goal – and its refusal to respect the rights of anybody who stands in its way.’
Download the full map (pdf, 1.2 MB)
Note to Editors: UNESCO is currently in Kenya for a week-long fact finding mission in and around Lake Turkana. The visit started on Wednesday 14th March, and follows UN concerns over the cultural and environmental impact of Ethiopia’s GIBE III dam on the half a million people living downstream, particularly around Lake Turkana.