Ethiopia – ICESCR – Ethnic Discrimination – March 2012
On March 15, 2012, The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a report to the 48Th Session of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights outlining discrimination in Ethiopia on the basis of ethnicity in violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The report is based on interviews with members of the Ethiopian Diaspora and professionals working with Ethiopians in the United States, as well as reviews of news and human rights reports. The Advocates’ submission highlights the ongoing violations of the human rights of members of the Oromo, Anuak, and other minority ethnic groups in Ethiopia, including forced displacement and persistent discrimination in areas such as work, education, health care access, and access to food and water.
In Ethiopia, discrimination based on ethnicity is often related to discrimination on the basis of real or perceived political opinion. The government actively impedes the rights of disadvantaged ethnic groups, including on the right to self-determination, the right to work and to have just and favorable conditions of work, the right to form and join trade unions, the right to protection and assistance of their families, the right to adequate food and housing, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to take part in cultural life.
The report highlights the problem of the Ethiopian Government’s “villagization” program. The Ethiopian Government claims that the program is voluntary, but The Advocates’ report shows that the program amounts to forced relocation in order to make room for large-scale, export-oriented agro-businesses.
The government has used oppressive tactics to compel disadvantaged ethnic groups to move from their homes, and the program has routinely had the effect of breaking up families and relocating groups to areas where there is little access to food or water, housing, quality education, or employment opportunities.
The report also includes specific recommendations urging Ethiopia to impose an immediate moratorium on the villagization program and to begin an in-depth consultation process with the peoples living in areas targeted for villagization, while ensuring that those individuals who have been relocated receive adequate food, water, and health care.
Please see the full report submission below.