The Indigenous Peoples of Ethiopia make up a significant proportion of the country’s estimated population of 110 million. Around 15% are pastoralists and sedentary farmers who live across the country but particularly in the Ethiopian lowlands, which constitute some 61% of the country’s total landmass. There are also several hunter-gatherer communities, including the forest-dwelling Majang (Majengir) and Anuak peoples, who live in the Gambella region.
Ethiopia is believed to have the largest livestock population in Africa, a significant number of which are in the hands of pastoralist communities living on land that, in recent years, has been under high demand from foreign investors. Such “land grabbing” has only emphasized the already tenuous political and economic situation of Indigenous Peoples in Ethiopia. Indigenous Peoples’ access to healthcare provision and to primary and secondary education remains highly inadequate.
The indigenous peoples of Ethiopia make up a significant proportion of the country’s estimated population of 95 million. Around 15% are pastoralists and sedentary farmers who live across the country, particularly in the Ethiopian lowlands, which constitute some 61% of the country’s total landmass.
Government security forces are violently forcing indigenous peoples to leave their traditional lands to make way for extensive development plans. Government officials have carried out arrests, beatings and detentions against residents of the Lower Omo valley that questions or resists the development plans. A new report from Human Rights Watch shows hoe the Ethiopian government is forcibly displacing pastoralist communities in Ethiopia’s lower Omo valley without any form of compensation or consultation. The displacements are being made to make way for state-run sugar plantations that are state-run. The government plans for the Omo valley includes the construction of the controversial Gibe III hydropower project that will supply downstream sugar plantations with water through irrigation canals. The Human Rights Watch report shows how plans for these canals and sugar processing factories will cover 100,000 hectares of the land in the Lower Omo valley that is home to pastoralist communities. Land that the pastoralists depend on for food security but also land that is connected to the traditional pastoralist way of life and identity.