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British government accused of sponsoring human rights abuses in Ethiopia

British government accused of sponsoring human rights abuses in Ethiopia

A development project run by the World Bank but funded by the UK government could be facilitating a violent resettlement program in Ethiopia according to a leaked report.

RT reports: Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) is the primary sponsor of the World Bank’s foreign aid initiative, supposedly set up to improve basic health, education and public services in Ethiopia. It has attracted over £388 million in UK taxpayer’s money to date.

According to a leaked report, obtained by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists, the seemingly benign aid program is facilitating a controversial resettlement scheme driven by the Ethiopian government.

The scathing report, carried out by the Bank’s in-house watchdog, warns of poor oversight, inadequate auditing and a failure to adhere to its own regulations which has bred links between the development program and the forced displacement of the Anuak people.

The Anuaks are a marginalized minority Christian group in Ethiopia.

Severe human rights abuses

The Ethiopian government’s resettlement program has been condemned by human rights groups worldwide who warn it has led to the destruction of thousands of Ethiopians’ livelihoods.

The initiative, known as ‘villagization’, aims to relocate 1.5 million rural families from their homesteads to villages across Ethiopia.

Since its launch in 2010, the program has been the centre of allegations of rape, physical assaults, forced evictions and disappearances.

Many of those who are uprooted from their homes and resettled elsewhere are forced to reside in substandard living conditions in refugee camps in Southern Sudan.

While the World Bank’s top brass have long denied any links to the Ethiopian government’s villagization program, an inquiry conducted by the Bank’s internal watchdog indicates otherwise.