March 24, 2005

Targeting the Anuak:

Human Rights Violations and Crimes against Humanity in Ethiopia's Gambella Region

To the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia:
To the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations:
To Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:
To Donor Governments:
To Anuak Political and Community Leaders:
Background and Context
The December 2003 Massacre
Case Studies
Ethiopian Army Raid against Anuak Civilians in Pinyudo
Ethiopian Army Raids against Anuak Villages in Tedo Kebele
Ethiopian Army Abuses against Anuak Civilians in Gok
Additional Ethiopian Military Abuses against Anuak Civilians
Extrajudicial Killings
Extrajudicial Killings Committed During Attacks on Anuak Civilian Populations
Other Extrajudicial Killings
Beatings and Torture
Destruction of Property and Looting
Displacement and Food Shortages
Abuses Committed by Armed Anuak Groups in Late 2003 and 2004
The Response of the Ethiopian Government
The Ethiopian Government's Response to the December 2003 Massacre
The Ethiopian Government's Response to Continuing Abuses in Gambella
The International Response to Human Rights Abuses in Gambella
Crimes against Humanity under International Law..
The following account was told to Human Rights Watch by an elderly Anuak man from a village called Otiel in Gambella.For three months in mid-2004, a small garrison of Ethiopian National Defense Force soldiers was stationed just outside of his village.He told his story with particular eloquence, but it was similar to accounts told to Human Rights Watch by dozens of other people from Anuak villages throughout Gambella.
"When the soldiers arrived they said to the villagers, 'Now we come to make peace.'The villagers said, 'Why?Is there anything wrong?'They said, 'There are some bandits and anywhere we get them we will finish them.'The soldiers stayed for three months.They were many.[One day when] the soldiers came back to Otiel from Boranger they met a man outside the village and killed him.We went out and found his dead body.He was shot in his chest and in his forehead.The elders of the village asked them, 'You said you come for peace but now we have found someone whom you have killed.Why is that so?'They said, 'Anyone we find outside the village we will kill.'We said, 'Is this a way to make peace?'They said, 'You are lying to us.And in any case we cannot identify who is a villager and who is not. So anyone we find outside your village we will kill.'After that, no one complained.
"After this one person was killed, they broke into the school and destroyed everything and took the medicines that were in the clinic.No one from the village dared to ask them why they were doing this.They broke the clinic doors and brought out the tables and chairs from the school.They used the tables for beds.In the school what was left were only blackboards.Some people were saying to the chief, 'Why don't you go and talk to them?'The commander told him, 'It was not we who broke these things but you yourselves who broke them.'
"The other problem was women.When this became more and more the chief went to talk to the commander.He said, 'Last time you killed one man and said you cannot tell who is a villager and who is not, so we kept quiet.But now you are raping our wives.'The commander said, 'I will talk to the soldiers.'But the problem did not stop after this.
"Who are you who dares to report such things to the government?It is the government that is doing these things!...Whenever the chief got away to come to Pinyudo he would sometimes try to report [rapes] to the wereda council, but they would deny it.They would say, 'Such things are not possible and it is not good for you to say this.Leave it.'"