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Ethiopia: Donor Aid Supports Repression (Human Rights Watch)

Posted: Onkoloolessa/October 18, 2010 · Finfinne Tribune | Gadaa.com | Comments (1)

The following is a press release from the Human Rights Watch on the unveiling of the 105-page report, “Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia,” which reveals how the TPLF-led Ethiopian regime uses foreign aid and donor-supported resources to consolidate its grip on political power. The research was conducted in the States of Amhara, Oromia and the South (SNNPR).


Ethiopia: Donor Aid Supports Repression

Contributors Should Review Development Programs, Monitor Use of Funds

October 19, 2010

(London) – The Ethiopian government is using development aid to suppress political dissent by conditioning access to essential government programs on support for the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch urged foreign donors to ensure that their aid is used in an accountable and transparent manner and does not support political repression.

The 105-page report, “Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in Ethiopia,” documents the ways in which the Ethiopian government uses donor-supported resources and aid as a tool to consolidate the power of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

“The Ethiopian government is routinely using access to aid as a weapon to control people and crush dissent,” said Rona Peligal, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If you don’t play the ruling party’s game, you get shut out. Yet foreign donors are rewarding this behavior with ever-larger sums of development aid.”

Read the Full Press Release (Human Rights Watch)

– Read the Full Report: Development without Freedom: How Aid Underwrites Repression in EthiopiaBy Human Rights Watch



Gadaa.com"It is time for a change in approach and policy," said the Globe and Mail in its October 19th, 2010 Editorial, "In Ethiopia, Aid for the Ruling Party" after the Human Rights Watch's report – Read Globe's Editorial »»»

Gadaa.comCanadian and western allies see aid co-opted in 'repressive' Ethiopia: report (Winnipeg Free Press)


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  1. Ben

    Oct 19, 10 at 1:09 pm

    DEVELOPMENT WITH OUT FREEDOM: A comment on development funds to Ethiopia:

    Many Ethiopians wonder as to why many donors give their money to a one-party dictatorial government like that of Ethiopian. The situations are for worse to disastrous. From the outset of this government, people have been not given the chance of either living in peace and harmony, get adequate help and resources needed from the government or they have never been given any enough help from resources send by donation.
    Harmony among the people is very important to live peacefully and target at development processes. This so called government has never allowed people, persons or groups to make their own group, harmony, or even self-help groups. They are using the tactics of making instability among citizens, ethnic groups and the society at whole. Because they want any sort of absence of unity and together living between people and groups. They use divide and rule methods. Or they want absence of self-help and coordination and unity among groups and these are on the other hand the bottlenecks for growth, development and bringing change in the society. As compared to the previous regime, which was of course, a bit of socialism, is very disastrous. Before the coming of this government the poor had access to resources. Derg, regardless of its bias to socialism, established the so called Kebeles where the poor could buy from simple resources for example sugar to grain for food and daily consumption both in the rural areas, in small towns, and in the cities. There places where the poor had access to buy many products both from local products and those from aid delivery. People had chances to recreate at low costs as compared to the well-to do. These facilities have been either abandoned in the whole rural areas, shutdown, robbed or confiscated by the staff of the existing government. There is no any MODEL or POLICY framework to share the resources to the poor which is more than 80% of the country’s population. The aid money DOES NOTING to the poor. It can help the staff member in a very many ways.
    These days they have created many bureaucratic chains and obstacles like the NGO-and donor laws or censor media not to facilitate the free distribution of information or resources from aid or NGOs (non-governmental agencies). They have limited right even to bring money or other resources without the involvement of the government (only around 10%). The rest is under the control of the government. The poor is like a reclamation picture to get the aid through, but not the recipients of the aid money. They often report that certain quantity, group or sector of the society needs help, or have no food, or need emergency aid. But when it comes to the reality, the distribution or the action it is almost negligible. Many Ethiopians hear that money is being sent to Ethiopia because people of a particular area need help. It has not been reached of the target group. This has happened over many years. The donors could have either facilitated ESTABLISHMENT OF NGOs, as a policy or models for development or abandon their aid. NGOs can do a lot of work provided there is limited bureaucracy, they have direct access to the community that needs help or areas that need development, or have good access and follow up of their resources and their work. Development through the government has never been successful in many areas. Because the workers are paid very low, have poor or no motivation, therefore no follow up and effective accomplishment. It is rather a share of money to the workers than to do with the development. They can go for field work and do not do effective work. In addition, there is huge bureaucratic chain which demotes the willingness for work.
    Therefore, it is wise not to send money to the government, where there is not enough DEVELOPMENT POLICY or POLICY FRAMEWORK that addresses the issues and the complex socio-economic, political and cultural problems of the society. Everybody knows that the war-on terror is the major policy agent for international community, and Ethiopia is one of the target areas for to accomplish this. However, there are many other priorities that the majority poor (ca. 80% of the people), whose are said to be aid recipients. With the existing realities, one cannot fulfill development works to address the problems and the complex situations facing the people. Policies are not at place to feet to the need of the people. There is only one party who dominates and makes the laws and regulations, formulate policies without the involvement of any opposition parties or sectors. The media is not free to report the reality, it is completely censored. With the wrong policies, wrong follow up and the result is always poor.