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I'm standing for real freedom. I regard freedom of expression as the primary right without which one can not have a proper functioning democracy.

A SHORT DOCUMENTARY ON LAND GRABBING IN GAMBELLA, ETHIOPIA

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Land grabbing is becoming the single most combative issue in Africa. It involves large-scale land acquisitions by foreign countries and corporations for farming, biofuels, logging and minerals. Unlike land acquisitions in the United States and Europe where purchasers pay the fair market values for land, in Ethiopia and Africa as whole unscrupulous deals are displacing thousands of farmers and leaving local communities in abject poverty, while government officials benefit from land sales and leases.

Land reform in Ethiopia and Africa is about food security, about political and economic corruption, and in many cases about fundamental human rights.

Please watch this heart-wrenching video produced by one our partner organization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvVb9EZ6Kqs#t=28

You can also read more in Amharic at this link:
http://www.solidaritymovement.org/amharic/05152013_Understanding_Land_Investment_Deals_In_Africa.pdf

http://www.solidaritymovement.org/amharic/110608LandGrabReport.pdf

We need to do something to stop talk the impact of these land and resource grabs on the people of Ethiopia and Africa. It is a vitally important issue that needs to be confronted. To me, this is not just about land grabs, but it is inherently about life grabs. In Africa, as well as in many other places, when you take someone’s land, you take away the means to an entire family’s livelihood, wellbeing and future. All of us need to take concrete action that saves lives.

Everything is being “grabbed” by the TPLF regime—our land, our children, our women and our futures—anything from which a kleptocratic regime might profit. In the case of our children, investigations have revealed that in many cases, these children are not truly orphans, but regime cronies are getting away with it because they are above the law. These children are sometimes exploited as commodities to unknowing and sincere prospective adoptive parents.

In the case of our women, Ethiopian employment agencies have made a business of “exporting” our young and impoverished women to work as domestic workers in Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the former Libya or the United Arab Emirates where many have become tragic victims of domestic servitude, physical abuse, sexual exploitation, suicide or even murder by their employers. The men horror and the suffering of our Ethiopian migrant workers that is going on in Saudi Arabia.

For positive change to come to Ethiopia and Africa, all the citizens must be able to claim their rights—human, civil, land and religious. Until there is such a government in Ethiopia to protect the rights of the all Ethiopian people, which upholds democratic principles of free speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom in the media, an independent judiciary and institutions, an independent appeal process, a non-politicalized military and similar aspects of free and open societies, the people will be seen as impediments to whatever the government wants for its own interests.
by Obang Metho

posted by Addisu Wond.

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