Ethiopia: rape and brutality but UK aid continues

the Sunday Times   : 2 December 2012

The minister Justine Greening has been accused of covering up human rights abuses

Cattle herders in Ethiopia, where tribesmen say they have been beaten and their wives raped by soldiersCattle herders in Ethiopia, where tribesmen say they have been beaten (Nigel Pavitt/ AWL Images Ltd)

THE international development secretary, Justine Greening, has been accused by an anthropologist of covering up human-rights violations in Ethiopia. The anthropologist said he had witnessed members of her department being told about the abuses.

Greening said in parliament last month that the Department for International Development (DfID) could not “substantiate the allegations of human-rights violations” allegedly carried out by the Ethiopian government in the south, where an aggressive resettlement programme is under way.

Will Hurd, an American academic, had translated during meetings in January held by officials from DfID and USAid, the American development agency, with communities in South Omo. Hurd insisted they were clearly told about rapes, beatings and forced evictions and that they promised to raise the issue with the government.

He accused Greening of covering up violations to avoid angering the Ethiopian authorities, which have attacked aid agencies for interfering in domestic affairs. “They are trying to


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