Britain is “turning a blind eye” to the forcible expulsion of people from their ancestral lands in Ethiopia, while giving the country £345 million of aid this year, a study has found.

 

According to the Oakland Institute, a US think tank, the resettlement of 260,000 cattle-herders in Ethiopia, so their land can be used for industrial farming, has been accompanied by rapes and violence.

However, its report alleges that while Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) and its American equivalent are fully aware of what is happening, they are deliberately turning a “blind eye”. Ethiopia is the biggest recipient of British aid in the world.

When the first reports emerged of abuses surrounding the eviction of nomads in southern Ethiopia, Justine Greening, the International Development Secretary, told Parliament in November that Britain was “not able to substantiate” the claims.

But 10 months earlier, her own staff in Ethiopia had listened to firsthand accounts of how soldiers had attacked women and threatened men with guns while clearing nomads from land in the Omo Valley they had inhabited for centuries.

DFID’s willingness to ignore the “human rights violations and forced evictions that accompany the so-called development strategy of Ethiopia is shocking,” the Oakland Institute’s report says.

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