Involving, Caring and Empowering Culture

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Carl Karcher


Human Rights

  Anuak displaced as a results of Ethiopian government resettlement programme
  Abundant Anywaa (or Anuak) villages in preparation for government land grabbing policy
Gross human rights abuses against indigenous people in Ethiopia
Indigenous peoples often suffer various forms of human rights abuses; racial discrimination, genocide, ethnic cleansing, deprivation of effective participation in government policies and self-determination, etc. However, international law allows indigenous peoples due to their status to enjoy certain specific rights including the right to enjoy and practice their culture and language without interference, the right to access and develop ancestral lands and territories freely, and the right to participate, decide and develop suitable development on their traditional territories, etc in addition to other human rights available to individuals and groups.

In most cases, absence of protection from authorities, may lead to information gap between indigenous peoples and authorities with both sides becomingg suspicious of each other. As gap widens, the indigenous peoples become isolated and are blamed for every incident in their own territories. The case of gross human rights violations against Anuak indigenous peoples in Gambela region in 2003 exhibits either a clear information gap between authorities and indigenous peoples or a deliverate attempt by authroities to oppress the indigenous peoples.

The government excessively responded to an ambush on vehicle belonging to Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs, an implementing partner to United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees by unidentified group and murdered over 500 indigenous Anuak, raped women and housewives, tortured innocent civilians, displaced 51,00 civilians, forced thousands to flee to neighbour countries for safety and protection, destroyed properties and crops on indigenous peoples farmlands in a remote Gambela region.

The government of Ethiopia failure to investigate and brought those responsible for atrocities and crime against humanity made indigenous peoples to further mistrust every effort of the government and a continued insecurity alert in their own traditional lands and ancestral territories.

Since the government embarked on massive agricultural projects without consultation and compensation, we remain concern of the consequences of lack of communication between the indigenous peoples and the Ethiopian government. In particular, the government attempt to relocate indigenous peoples from their traditional farmlands to unproductive areas in the region violates economic and social rights of the indigenous people. The consequences are abject poverty, deprivation of vital economic assets, marginalisation and further insecurity in the region.

ASO campaigns and lobby governments, on importance of respect of fundamental rights of indigenous peoples in the Gambela region and adjacent territories so they fully enjoy peace, security and development like other sectors of the society.

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