Ethiopia 'forcibly displacing' for sugar plantationsBy BBC | Monday, June 18 2012 at 14:16
The Ethiopian Government is forcibly displacing tens of thousands from their land to make way for state-run sugar plantations, a campaign group has said.
The displacements are happening in the country's Omo Valley, according to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The valley, a World Heritage site, is also the site of a controversial dam.
The Ethiopian Government has denied forcing anyone from their homes and says the project will create jobs.
HRW says that in order to make space for the plantations, government security forces are compelling communities to relocate from their traditional lands, using violence and intimidation.
In its report, the campaign group says that at the time of its visit to the area - in June 2011 - "military units regularly visited villages to intimidate residents and suppress dissent related to the sugar plantation development". It added that "soldiers regularly stole or killed cattle".
These allegations were denied by government spokesman Bereket Simon.
"There is no forcing out of people from their residence, if there is any reason to relocate people, then it is based on... open communication," he told the AFP news agency.
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