Athiopia should use development aid against opposition

Human Rights Watch raises serious allegations against the world’s largest payee

In 1991, a rebel alliance led by the Tigray Liberation Front, divided according to ethnic group, overthrew the-"Liberation Front" TPLF overthrew the Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam, which was linked to the Soviet Union and had ousted Emperor Haile Selassie 17 years earlier. After that, a multiparty system was to be introduced, although this now exists only in theory. In the spring elections, the TPLF-dominated EPRDF government alliance took 499 of the 547 seats in the "Parliament". Together with its allies, it even won 545 seats.

The foderalist opposition alliance Medrek, which wants to make Oromo the second official language alongside Amharic, won only one seat in the capital Addis Ababa; another went to an independent candidate.

Athiopia to use development aid against opposition

Major ethnic groups and languages in athiopia and Eritrea.

In the mid-1980s, Ethiopia became a symbol of need, thanks in part to the Live Aid event. A quarter of a century later, the country gobbles up the most aid in the world. In 2008, it received a total of $3.3 billion, of which $800 million came from the United States and $400 million from the European Union – not even counting individual aid from EU member states. Great Britain, for example, paid another three hundred million dollars alone. Between 2004 and 2008, aid to Ethiopia doubled despite a deterioration in the human rights situation, which was reflected, among other things, in a significant restriction of freedom of speech.

Now the human rights organization Human Rights Watch is accusing the EPRDF of using development aid to suppress the opposition. Actually, this practice should have been put to an end. Because of the arrest of 30.000 opposition after the election riots five years ago, many donor countries decided to disburse their funds only at the woreda (district) level. However, the EPRDF controls not only the state government, but also the lower levels of administration, which leads to the fact that services from civil servants there are also preferentially given to party henchmen. According to Human Rights Watch, opposition activists and civil rights activists are denied access to food "routinely" Microcredit, seed, manure and food rations from programs such as Safety Net or Food for Work.

To the conclusion that the problem is "flat" The human rights organization came to this conclusion after interviewing more than 200 Ethiopians in 53 villages and three regions for its report Development Without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia, published last week. In interviews, the victims described, among other things, how officials told them to go to their own party if they wanted help.

Village chiefs allegedly justified their granting practices on the grounds that opposition members would enjoy "privileges" privileges were taken away. According to other accounts, applicants were forced to attend indoctrination meetings, where they were intimidated and threatened into joining the EPRDF. Teachers, paid in large part by aid money, were told by superiors that they could not expect promotions and training without party membership.

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