Source:AHROAfar Human Rights organization (AHRO) repeatedly discloses about human rights violations in Afar region, which is blocked for internal and external media. Many atrocities and human rights abuses have been committed against the Afar civilians in the region, where most cases remain unrevealed and unreported.
Although the recent killing and abduction of foreign tourists near Erta Ale, put the Afar Region in focus for international media, the government retaliation and harassment on local civilian population in Zone 2 has gained little attention. There is an ongoing mass imprisonment in Zone 2 and many who are allegedly accused of sympathizing with Afar oppositions have lost their jobs.The huge sugarcane plantations along the Awash Valley supported by two huge Dams (Kassam-Kabana and Tandaho) continue to displace the pastoralist community en mass from their homes. These huge multinational investments are guarded by TPLF-led government army. Displacement for plantation left thousands of innocent civilians without pasture land, water spots and curtailed livestock movement. The Sugarcane plantations are regularly showered by prohibited pesticides that are directly dumped into the Awash river that is the lifeline of the majority of Afar people. This irresponsible chemical utilisation has shown to have both short- and long-term adverse effects on the health of the population. The water canals, bushes, and pastures are contaminated causing an environmental disaster the powerfully affects the ecosystem of the Awash Valley. As recent as this week a huge chemical dumping on the main Awash River made it impossible to approach the River, and those who are dependent on the river for drinking water are now without access to water. Due to this humans and livestock are getting sick from an unidentified disease and there is no medical supply to alleviate the current disaster. Afar Human rights Organisation has vowed its concern on this issue already in 2007. (http://www.sudantribune.com/Ethiopian-Govt-endangers-Afar,22705.)
Recently the displaced local communities of Doho went to Addis Ababa to file the case to the prime minister’s office, but returned empty handed. Nevertheless, anyone who questions the intention of the government projects in any form is regarded as an opposition sympathizer and is subject to severe punishment without due process. About five days ago, there was a mass arrest that included pregnant women, the elderly and children in Aysaita and Dubti. The reason was that these people refused and opposed land grabbing in the localities of Dubtie and Aysaita. Other innocent civilians have been taken either to unknown prisons. Some are transported to prisons far way from their home. Still others are kept on bail of thousands of Birr which pastoralist families cannot afford and are forced to house arrest on irregular bases.Therefore we call on:
- Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, The Red Cross and the Amnesty International to visit unjustly imprisoned civilian in Abaala, Aysaita and Adebtoli towns as soon as possible.
- International community to investigate the atrocities committed in Afar Region along the Awash Valley and other TPLF-affiliated investment areas;
- Investigate and help the displaced pastoralist civilians;
- Investigate the magnitude of environmental disaster and the use of chemicals the Awash Valley.
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