Millions of acres of Ethiopia’s most fertile land are being made available to investors, often in long-term leases and at giveaway prices. Although proponents of these investments call them “win-win” deals, the reality proves much different. To make way for agricultural investment, and through its so-called villagization program, the Ethiopian government has forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands of indigenous people from their lands. This relocation process has destroyed livelihoods. It has rendered small-scale farmers and pastoralist communities dependent on food aid and fearful for their own survival. Ethiopian officials have also beaten, arrested, and intimidated individuals who have refused to comply with relocation policies. These actions are in direct contravention of Ethiopia’s obligations under international human rights law.
This briefing paper provides an overview of the human rights impacts of land investment and the villagization process on the indigenous Anuak community in Ethiopia’s Gambella region. The struggle of the Anuak in Gambella is emblematic of the struggles of other communities in Ethiopia that are being forcibly displaced to make way for large-scale land investors.
Learn more about the Indian-Ethiopian Civil Society Summit on Land Investments