• Indigenous peoples in Ethiopia

    Indigenous peoples in Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is home to a great diversity of peoples speaking more than 80 languages. Still, Ethiopia has no legislation that protects or address the rights of indigenous peoples.
  • Diversity

    80 languages are spoken in Ethiopia
  • Rights

    No national laws protect indigenous peoples
  • Climate

    500,000 indigenous people in the Omo valley threatened by water insecurity

Ethiopia's plantations are killing vital waterway

The flooding of the Omo River feeds the rich biodiversity of the region and ensures tribes such as the Bodi, Mursi and Dassanach can feed their cattle and produce beans and cereals in the fertile silt left behind. In addition to this indigenous communities are also suffering from violent human rights abuses, as plans are implemented forcibly to resettle those who stand in the way of the government's plans, and to take away their cattle.

The Omo River downstream from the notorious Gibe III dam is being diverted into a newly-dug irrigation canal, one of several which will feed a massively ambitious plantations scheme for state and private investors. These manmade canals are key to Ethiopia's plantations plan, which is already having a hugely negative impact on UNESCO's Lower Omo World Heritage site. The government has revealed virtually nothing about the plantations program, but an official map obtained by Survival shows the enormous scope of the project. There was a flood last year, but most Bodi and Mursi were not able to use it for cultivation because of the irrigation project. One local person, speaking to a Survival researcher who recently visited the area, said, 'I've never seen the river this low. During the dry season, like it is now, you can usually cross by foot, and water reaches your knees. Now I could cross without my feet getting wet.'

Tags: Climate action

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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