The Core of Human Rights violation Areas in Afar Region of Ethiopia

Press Release

Afar Human Rights

Afar 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 gain little attention. There is an ongoing mass imprisonment in Zone 2 and many who are allegedly accused to sympathize with Afar oppositions have lost theirjobs.

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 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 directly dumped into the Awash river that is thelife line of the majority of Afar people. This irresponsible chemical utilisation has shown to have both short- and long term adverse effect on 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 unidentified disease and there is no medical supply to alleviate the current disaster. Afar Human rights Organization has vowed its concern on this issue already in 2007.

Recently the displaced local communities of Doho went to Addis Ababa to file the case to the prime minster office, but returned empty handed. Nevertheless, anyone who questions the intention of the government projects in any form is regarded as sympathizing to opposition and become subject to sever punishment without due legal charges. As recent as two days Massa arrest including pregnant women, elderly and children committed 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 far away and kept for months without charges. 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 subject to 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.

For further information please contact: ahro2006@hotmail.com

–Afar Human Rights