Recently, I learned through local news media reports that Ethiopians who are originally from the Amhara regional state but were settled in the Benishangul Gumuz regional state are being uprooted en masse from their settlements. According to the information that I have, the eviction is poorly organized and is marred by several cases of human right violations. This petition is in protest of this eviction and is intended to get the plight of these voiceless Ethiopians to the attention of the Ethiopian government and international rights organizations. Please sign the petition and invite your friends to sign as well. This is the least we can do to show our solidarity with Ethiopians who are being victimized by a misguided and irresponsible policy.
The eviction process was marred by several instances of human right violations. First, the eviction was carried out hastily and without advance notice, leaving the victims little time to sort things out. They could not even pack their belongings. Second, the eviction began before alternative settlements were prepared for the victims. As a result, the victims are thrown out into the streets of Bahir Dar and Fenote Selam, surviving only on food handouts from local residents. Third, the victims were physically abused by local officials during the eviction process. This is a clear indication that the eviction was carried out against their will.
It should further be noted that these Ethiopians have been living in the Benishagul Gumuz area for several years and have worked hard under difficult circumstances to tend and cultivate the land that they settled. Although the challenge was overwhelming, through hard work and perseverance they managed to make the land cultivable and livable. These Ethiopians have no other place to call home. They are now in dire situations and are calling for immediate help. Therefore, I sincerely ask concerned government bodies to deeply study the matter and take corrective actions. In this regard,
1. I would like to see immediate action taken so that the evicted people can return to their settlements as soon as possible.
2. If retuning the victims to their settlements is not possible due to extraordinary circumstances, I would like to see the evicted people offered alternative settlement areas and compensated for their material losses and physical and psychological sufferings.
3. I would like to see legal actions taken against officials who are behind this ill conceived eviction which clearly breached Ethiopian and international human rights law.