Target: President Mulatu Teshome
Goal: Provide adequate compensation for the forced location of the Bodi people
In the past 15 months, Ethiopia’s government has cleared out an extensive portion of the Lower Omo Valley to make way for state-run sugar plantations. This land has been used by the indigenous people, the Bodi, for many years but they were not consulted or given adequate compensation for the use of the land or the forced relocation of their people. The government needs to consult with the Bodi people and provide them with adequate accommodations.
Satellite imaging has shown the large expanse of grazing land has been cleared of all vegetation, and networks of roads and irrigation crisscross the valley. The construction of these sugar plantations will also have consequences on the Omo River basin, which supplies both Ethiopia and Kenya with water, directly or indirectly affecting the lives of over 500,000 indigenous people.
The Bodi people are not the only ones affected by this, but 15,000 indigenous people will be forced to relocate through a program the government has put in place, and it has not been popular. The “villigzation” program, forces the people into a sedentary lifestyle, where they live in villages provided with schools, clinics, and other facilities. This program is not voluntary and has been used throughout Ethiopia. There is also documented evidence of the Ethiopian government utilizing intimidation techniques along with violence to make the Bodi people comply with these changes.
It is obvious that the Ethiopian government is stomping on the rights of the Bodi people. Yes, they may be providing them with a sedentary lifestyle but the Bodi people do not want that. They want to have their lands back and the lifestyle that has been a part of their culture for generations. If you wish to help their plight, sign this petition and demand the president of Ethiopia grant adequate compensation for this egregious treatment of the Bodi people.
Dear President Mulatu Teshome,
I understand that a portion of the Lower Omo Valley has been cleared of all vegetation to make room for state-run sugar plantations. While I understand that Ethiopia has the right to develop and utilize its resources, it should be done with the permission of those who currently live and survive off of the land. The Bodi people, along with indigenous people, live in the valley and depend upon the land for their well being.
I also understand these people will be moved into a sedentary lifestyle, which may be your ideal living situation, but may not be what the Bodi people want. Therefore, I demand that you provide adequate accommodations for the Bodi people, ones that they agree to. It is inhumane of your country to stomp on the rights of these people who have been living off the land for generations. You cannot return the land to what it once was, so the least you can do is make amends.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Eric Lafforgue via dailymail