Britain axes aid to Ethiopian police amid human rights outcry

November 1st, 2014 Print Print Email Email

Britain has suspended most of a £27 million aid programme to support Ethiopia’s police force, The Telegraph has learnt, amid mounting allegations of torture, rape and murder by the regime.

Ministers pulled the plug on a scheme intended to improve criminal investigations, help Ethiopian police “interact with communities on local safety” and help women access the justice system.

The cancellation coincides with an Amnesty International report that documents how the Ethiopian security forces have conducted a campaign of torture, mutilation, rape and murder in order to suppress political opposition.

Britain has given £1 billion in aid, including around £70 million for “governance and security” projects, to the country over three years. Critics of the ruling regime have disappeared, and Amnesty International found allegations of men being blinded and women being gang raped and burnt with hot coals by regime officials.

There are mounting fears for the safety of Andy Tsege, a British national and critic of the regime, who was abducted in Yemen before being tortured and sentenced to death.

The Department for International Development said the project was cancelled because it did not represent “value for money” and because of “risk” in getting it delivered on time.

It insisted that the cancellation of the project was entirely unrelated to allegations of human rights abuses, and said the decision pre-dated the Amnesty International report.

However, earlier this year an internal government assessment of the programme warned it posed a “high” risk to human rights, upgrading it from medium.

The document noted that the Government of Ethiopia appeared reluctant to improve the human rights situation. “The underlying assumption of GoE’s commitment to reform in the security sector is sensitive and subject to a range of factors (e.g. terrorist attacks inside Ethiopia). In light of this, we propose elevating the risk to ‘high’.”

It also warned that work had been “poor quality” with “weak value for money”. There were “tensions” between British aid workers and the Government of Ethiopia, with Ethiopian civil servants complaining over being “overwhelmed” by paperwork. Work fell behind the timetable.
The document, an annual assessment of the scheme, was subsequently deleted from the website.

DfID said the document was deleted because the programme had changed. The decision to axe the programme went unannounced before inquiries from this newspaper, despite mounting concern at the deteriorating situation in the country.

A DfID spokesman said: “DFID has suspended major activities under the Community Safety and Justice programme because of concerns about risk and value for money. We are updating the website to reflect programme changes.”

One element of the scheme, run by Harvard University in measuring the effectiveness of justice reforms, will continue to be funded by Britain.
The deletion of the documents was detected by Reprieve, the anti-death penalty charity which is campaigning for Mr Tsege’s release.

“While MrTsege is held in a secret prison in Ethiopia under sentence of death, Dfid has inexplicably scrubbed alltraces of this funding from its website,” said Maya Foa, the head of the death penalty team. “The Government should be using its extensive influence in Ethiopia to ensure the safety of one of its nationals, not aiding the very forces responsible for his detention – then removing the evidence.”

A blistering report on Thursday warned that British aid money is fuelling corruption overseas. One development project in Nepal encouraged people to forge documents to gain grants while police stations in Nigeria linked to British aid were increasingly demanding bribes, the Independent Commission on Aid Impact found.

  1. Wondualem
    | #1

    What is a big deal About 27 million ? The Ethiopian government had already secured $600000000 (six hundreds millions dollars) from the world bank this week. For more information please visit the world bank web site.

  2. aha!
    | #2

    While I concur with the assessment of foreign aid fueling corruption in most African countries. Other than that the economic and political situations in Ethiopia are different and should be assessed on its own merit in terms of humanitarian, economic, political and economic crises perpetrated by the TPLF/eprdf regime in the past 23 years. with that being the overarching premises for the TPLF/eprdf regime, the attempt in this article is whether to cure the symptom rather the disease/deal with effet rather than the cause, which the frame work of constitution built under the ideologies of ethnic federalism, secessionism and totalitarianism initiated during the Derg regime and/or state capitalism, that denies individuals free market capitalism and freedom to exceed ethnic and secessionist rights, as well creating ethnic home lands carved from the previous provincial boundaries and creating ethnic dictatorship minority now and majority ethnic rule in the future. For any foreign aid to have an effect, there must be people rather ethnic oriented with independent branches of government for good governance and a fair judicial process, none of which are reflected in the current constitution, along with party alignments along the national agenda.

    Without such prerequisites for a democratic government and democracy, which is a rule by the people and for the people, the good intentions of DfiD will be circumvented by the nature make up of the TPLF/eprdf regime, its constitution and the crony capitalism by TPLF/Political, TPLF/EFFORT, TPLF affiliated enterprises, cadres and foreign corporations, particularly with land leases to the exclusion of the silent majority of Ethiopians from private property ownership of land as one of the means of production, with individual freedom, if the DfiD, by the British Government is intending to support. While, it is the right of the aid providing government, to call for transparency and democracy for accountability, they have no role in the governance and the frame work of the constitution of country as the causative agent to the implementation of aid programs and budget support propping up ethnic dictatorship.

  3. mezz
    | #3

    the woyane police is so brutal that he would not have any qualms even to beat and murder his own mother for the crumbs the fascist woyane throw to them.
    the woyane police have been indoctrinated to work as slaves of their masters, not to serve the country that brought them up and feeds them, to defend their families and friends and the whole country. that is the mis’education’ they receive.

    on top of all that the commanding officers, the head of the police and those who give orders are all Tplf cadres.

  4. Dilwenberu
    | #4

    This issue is not important because our democratic Ethiopian government has a broad cooperation program and agreement with the British government. The toxic Amhara diaspora is blowing the issue out of proportion and trying to score some political victories out of it.
    The toxic Amhara diaspora is desperate, increasingly isolated and frustrated here in Britain. They are still trying to tarnish the good image of our democratic EPRDF government and Ethiopia. The British government and public are aware of the fast economic growth Ethiopia under the EPRDF is achieving. If this growth continues, Ethiopia will join the club of the rich in 5-10 years and will be one of the major donor countries in the world.

  5. TaaZabiw
    | #5

    DEAR ABUGIDAS
    I AM AFRAID THAT OUR EDUCATED CLASS OR INTELLIGENCIA IS CONFUSED AS EVER
    AND ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY AND ETHIOPIAN REALITY AGAIN. AS MOST OF
    YOU KNOW THIS SECTION OF OUR SOCIETY WAS AN ACCOMPLICE AND FUNCTIONARY
    OF THE WRONG POLICIES AND BELIEFS OF ADMINISTRATIONS BETRAYING THE PEOPLE
    AND THE COUNTRY JUST TO SURVIVE AND FOR BREAD LIVING AGAINST HIS/HER OWN
    CONCIENCE LET ALONE TO COME CLOSE TO BE PATRIOTIC AS HE /HER WRONGLY
    UNDERSTANDS.
    THE REASON I SAID THIS IS BECAUSE THEY ARE WAY TOO FAR FROM CORRECTLY
    UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPTS OF JUSTICE, FREEDOM, PATRIOTISM AND RULE OF
    LAW AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION et.al. IN THE RIGHT MEANING AND SENCE OF
    THE TERMS AND THEIR APPLICATION.
    IT SEEMS ETHIOPIAN POLITICAL SPHERE SEEMS RAMPANT FROM THESE MISTAKEN
    UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATION OF THEM FOR THEIR NARROW ORGANIZATIONAL
    SUCCESSES AND EXCESSES BY BOTH THE RULING AND OPPOSITION PARTIES LIKE
    TWO ELEPHANTS FIGHTING OVER THE GRASS AT THE EXPENCE OF THE PEOPLE’S
    AND THE COUNTRY’S LIFE.
    THAT IS WHY ALL THE PATRIOTIC AND TRUE CITIZENS ARE THROWN TO THE BACK SEAT AND NOT NEEDED BUT ONLY THEIR SERVICE IS NEEDED BY GUN TOTING GROUPS
    AND CORRUPT INDIVIDUALS ADDING TO THE CONTINUALLY BANKRUPTING SOCIETY AND
    SOCIETAL VALUES TODAY WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY END UP IN THE DECAY AND
    VIOLENT DISSOLUTION OF GOVERNMENTS AND TOTAL CHAOS AND BREAK UP OF LAW
    AND ORDER.
    BECAUSE CURRENTLY THOUGH THE GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO PORTRAY AND PROJECT
    A GOOD IMAGE OF ETHIOPIA; THE INTERNAL SOCIO-POLITICAL ORDER AND DYNAMICS
    OF ETHIOPIA SHOWS THE CONTRARY. IT LOOKS LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS BUILT ON
    SAND WHICH ONCE A STRONG WIND BLOWS WILL FLY AWAY IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

  6. wenyez
    | #6

    We, all Ethiopians must act and collaborate collectively to make sure that all financial sources of the enemy that it uses for oppression and suppression of Ethiopians must dry up. The enemy has multiple tentacles to suck the blood out of its victims, both humans and international or governmental organizations that the enemy is using them in the name of representing Ethiopians. The enemy is not only criminal it is also a mafia organization which was established by mafias, criminals, murderers of all sorts of Askaris and Bandas.

    Our achievable goal is to eliminate the enemy from our invaded and looted country since the arrival of these the very cruel and devil elements in our country. We shall drive them out to their final dark grave.

  7. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #7

    This is good news. It is a low down dirty shame for such exemplary nations like the UK to finance a menacing and incarcerating machine run by a few and very selected elites back home. These very few and very selective gang of goons who get high from sending peaceful journalists to jail seem to have the upper hand now but that is just temporary. The Almighty is watching children and loved ones of in jail shall have his justice noticed sooner if not later. He has done that so many times in the past even in our time to the Pinochets, Chiang Kai-sheks, Parks, Marcos and many others. They better take a lesson from these disgraced former strong men and allow a strong opposition party to emerge now, not next year but now before Our Creator hands down His swift judgment.

  8. Damtew
    | #8

    Dilwenberu,
    Still singing the weyane manifesto. Let me tell you the Ethiopian people know who their enemy is. TPLF, TPLF, TPLF. Hope you get it.

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