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The U.S. must follow a human rights-based investment policy in Ethiopia and be guided by its fundamental values of protecting life, liberty and property”

Tel: (202) 456-1111

Fax;  202-456-2461

The Urgent Need for Human Rights-Based U.S. Investment Policy in Ethiopia
For nearly a quarter of a century, the ruling coalition in Ethiopia led by the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has imposed a repressive one-party system and maintained itself in power by using brute force, criminalizing free expression and censorship, secrecy and a broad “anti-terrorism law” to crush dissent and opposition politics. The 2013 U.S. annual human rights report identified “arbitrary killings, torture, detentions without charge, illegal searches and life-threatening prison conditions” as critical human rights problems. Human Rights Watch concluded, “The use of draconian laws and trumped-up charges to crack down on free speech and peaceful dissent makes a mockery of the rule of law” in Ethiopia.
The TPLF regime in Ethiopia claims to have achieved double-digit economic growth over the past decade. They claim, “Everyone is now talking about the Ethiopian renaissance”. The unpleasant facts are Ethiopia is in the top tier of failed states in the global Failed States Index. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHDI) Multidimensional Poverty Index recently
ranked Ethiopia as the “second poorest” country in the world. Ethiopia also ranks at the top of the Transparency International’s Corruption Index. In 2011, Global Financial Integrity reported, The people of Ethiopia are being bled dry. No matter how hard they try to fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, they will be swimming upstream against the current of illicit capital leakage.” The Economist magazine observed, “Beyond the government-directed state, funded substantially by foreign aid, there is–almost uniquely in Africa–virtually no private-sector business at all” in Ethiopia.
The U.S. State Department in its 2013 Investment Climate Statement noted the poor business climate “due to limited opportunities for the private sector to leverage the large public investment, crowding out of private sector credit, and entrenched inflation expectations.” The World Bank’s Doing Business report for 2013 dropped Ethiopia’s abysmal ranking even more because of “declines in scores for investor protections, tax payments, contract enforcement, and resolution of insolvency.” The TPLF regime has used this authority to evict people and sell their land and livelihood to Chinese, Indian, Saudi and other investors often at much below-market prices and without fair compensation to the ancestral landowners. This has resulted in the displacement, forced relocation and “villagization” of millions of poor farmers in areas targeted for massive industrial plantations.China, willfully blind to the massive human rights violations in Ethiopia, has provided the TPLF regime with interest-free loans, preferential trade agreements and investments effectively maintaining the regime and its cronies.
Disregard for the rule of law and property rights, reckless land giveaways and flagrant violations of human rights should not be tolerated or condoned. The U.S. is not China. As President Jimmy Carter said, “America did not invent human rights. Human rights invented America.” That is why the U.S. must follow a human rights-based investment policy in Ethiopia and be guided and informed by its fundamental values of protecting life, liberty and property. As minimum conditions in any U.S. investment policy in Ethiopia, the U.S. should Insist on the release of all political prisoners in the country, including journalists and bloggers.
Demand greater freedom of action for human rights and civil society groups. Support independent media operation and elimination of all censorship. Demand prosecution of persons who have committed gross human rights violations. Promote dialogue and negotiated settlement of political disputes.
Global Alliance for the Rights of Ethiopians (GARE)
Telephone: ( (877)746 -4384
All Lives Have Equal Value


  1. This is a new group set up by Tamagen. It was set up to give the impression of a global movement and also skim money out of the few diaspora Ethiopians. It is a cash cow for Tamagen and his elk. Tamagen has never worked since he immigrated to the US. He lives in a millin dollar home drives Hammer and spends lavishely. His wife has never worked either. So how long can we be hoodwinked by this scums? Fellow diaspora Ethiopians, think carefully.

  2. This semit is all about African resource,it is all about domination.Americann and EU are not happy about China’s presence in Africa.Americans are trying to intimidate China by flexing their military might.they do not care about Africans at all.

  3. This is coming to Ethiopia:
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    Coca-Cola: drinking the world dry
    19 November 2007
    Coca-Cola is one of the most recognisable brands in the world. The company claims to adhere to the “highest ethical standards” and to be “an outstanding corporate citizen in every community we serve”. Yet Coca-Cola’s activities around the world tell a different story.
    Coca-Cola has been accused of dehydrating communities in its pursuit of water resources to feed its own plants, drying up farmers’ wells and destroying local agriculture. The company has also violated workers’ rights in countries such as Colombia, Turkey, Guatemala and Russia. Only through its multi-million dollar marketing campaigns can Coca-Cola sustain the clean image it craves.
    The company admits that without water it would have no business at all. Coca-Cola’s operations rely on access to vast supplies of water, as it takes almost three litres of water to make one litre of Coca-Cola. In order to satisfy this need, Coca-Cola is increasingly taking over control of aquifers in communities around the world. These vast subterranean chambers hold water resources collected over many hundreds of years. As such they the represent the heritage of entire communities.
    Coca-Cola’s operations have particularly been blamed for exacerbating water shortages in regions that suffer from a lack of water resources and rainfall. Nowhere has this been better documented than in India, where there are now community campaigns against the company in several states. research carried out by War on Want in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh affirms the findings from Kerala and Maharastra that Coca-Cola’s activities are having a serious negative impact on farmers and local communities.
    Coca-Cola established a bottling plant in the village of Kaladera in Rajasthan at the end of 1999. Rajasthan is well known as a desert state, and Kaladera is a small, impoverished village characterised by semi-arid conditions. Farmers rely on access to groundwater for the cultivation of their crops. but since Coca-Cola’s arrival, they have been confronted with a serious decline in water levels. Locals are increasingly unable to irrigate their lands and sustain their crops, putting whole families at risk of losing their livelihoods.
    Local villagers testify that Coca-Cola’s arrival exacerbated an already precarious situation. Official documents from the government’s water ministry show that water levels remained stable from 1995 until 2000, when the Coca-Cola plant became operational. Water levels then dropped by almost 10 metres over the following five years. Locals fear Kaladera could become a ‘dark zone’, the term used to describe areas that are abandoned due to depleted water resources.
    Other communities in India that live and work around Coca-Cola’s bottling plants are experiencing severe water shortages as well as environmental damage. Local villagers near the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh complain that the company’s over-exploitation of water resources has taken a heavy toll on their harvests and led to the drying up of wells. As in Rajasthan and Kerala, villagers have held protests against the local Coca-Cola plant for its appropriation of valuable water resources.
    In the now infamous case of Plachimada in the southern state of Kerala, Coca-Cola’s plant was forced to close down in March 2004 after the village council refused to renew the company’s licence, on the grounds that it had over-used and contaminated local water resources. Four months earlier, the Kerala High Court had ruled that Coca-Cola’s heavy extraction from the common groundwater resource was illegal, and ordered it to seek alternative sources for its production.
    In 2003 the independent Centre for Science and Environment tested Coca-Cola beverages and found levels of pesticides around 30 times higher than European Union standards. Levels of DDT, which is banned in agriculture in India, were nine times higher than the EU limit. In February 2004 Indian MPs who investigated CSE’s studies upheld these findings and the Parliament went on to ban Coca-Cola from its cafeterias.
    Besides these issues, War on Want’s Alternative Report on Coca-Cola also details how Coca-Cola is having a devastating impact of water resources elsewhere. In El Salvador, the company has been accused of exhausting water resources over a 25-year period. In Chiapas, Coca-Cola is positioning itself to take control of the water resources. The Mexican government under Vicente Fox – himself a former President of Coca-Cola Mexico – has given the company concessions to exploit community water resources.
    Coca-Cola’s own workers have also suffered and the company is being increasingly associated with anti-union activities. The most notable case is in Colombia, where paramilitaries have killed eight Coca-Cola workers since 1990. The main Coca-Cola trade union Sinaltrainal is seeking to hold Coca-Cola liable for using paramilitaries to engage in anti-union violence.
    Coca-Cola is being sued on behalf of transport workers and their families for its part in the alleged intimidation and torture of trade unionists and their families by special branch police in Turkey. In Nicaragua, workers of the main Coca-Cola union SUTEC have been denied the right to organise and the General Secretary of SUTEC, Daniel Reyes, believes the objective of this ongoing and escalating campaign is to crush the union.
    Guatemalan workers have been struggling against Coca-Cola since the 1970s. In the years between 1976 and 1985, three general secretaries of the main union were assassinated and members of their families, friends and legal advisers were threatened, arrested, kidnapped, shot, tortured and forced into exile. The violations of workers’ rights continue. And Coca-Cola workers and their family members, with ties to unions, have reportedly been subjected to death threats. Elsewhere in countries such as Peru, Russia and Chile, Coca-Cola workers have been protesting against the company’s anti-union policies. Coca-Cola claims to exist “to benefit and refresh everyone it touches” and to try to sustain this positive image, the company spends $2 billion a year on advertising alone. Yet there are signs that the image is beginning to crumble. The relay carrying the Olympic flame was repeatedly disrupted by protests at Coca-Cola’s role as the principal sponsor, with the Turin council actually declaring the city a no-go zone for the company (a decision subsequently overruled by the mayor).
    University campuses throughout the USA and Europe have voted to cancel contracts with Coca-Cola in protest at its operations, and in solidarity with the community resistance which has escalated in many countries across the world. It is up to us to keep up the pressure on Coca-Cola and also send a strong message to our elected leaders to rein in irresponsible business practices.

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