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Aid and Ethics Clash

February 28, 2014
Africa Confidential

Britain and the US are accused of complicity in human rights abuses, highlighting difficult choices about democracy and development

Two of Ethiopia's leading foreign donors are again accused of complicity in human rights abuses. It highlights the debate on whether development should come before democracy. The most recent claims accuse donors not only of doing business with an authoritarian regime but of intentionally covering up its abuses. The accusations relate to a joint field investigation by Britain's Department for International Development (DfID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Lower Omo in January 2012. The agencies set up the investigation in response to allegations that human rights were being violated during the resettlement of around 260,000 people as part of a controversial plan to transform more than 3,756 square kilometres of the area into a vast plantation. The government has also come under fire for possibly affecting the livelihood of the Omo people through building the Gibe III dam.

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