Sunday, July 22, 2012

Human Rights Watch raise concerns over Kenya, Ethiopia Gibe III dam project. | Bloggers Association Of Kenya

Human Rights Watch raise concerns over Kenya, Ethiopia Gibe III dam project.

Human Rights Watch raise concerns over Kenya, Ethiopia Gibe III dam project.

Ethiopian herders at the lower end of the Omo river where the controversial dam Gibe III is set to be built Kenya’s quest to get power from Ethiopia’s Gibe III dam project by 2014
may receive a setback after Human Rights Watch wrote to World Bank, a major
financier against the project. The rights watchdog have written to WB saying they should stall the
funding of the 1,000 kilometer transmission line to the country from the 240m
high dam, tallest in Africa, in Southern Ethiopia with a capacity to produce
1,870 megawatts of electricity citing abuse of human rights. But yesterday Thursday WB agreed to fund the project even though it
doesn't meet its project assessment.  “The World Bank should ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples
and the environment are rigorously protected before funding a power
transmission line connecting Kenya to the controversial dam in Ethiopia” Human
Rights Watch said in a letter to President Jim Yong Kim ahead of Thursday
meeting on the project. “The World Bank shouldn’t think that it’s fine to fund a transmission line
while closing its eyes to abuses at the power source, where rights of hundreds
of thousands of indigenous people are threatened by the Gibe III dam without
protection ” Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions
advocate at HRW said in statement posted on their website. The project is set to double Ethiopia's
current power generating capacity which will see excess power being exported to
neighboring countries like Kenya whose 80 percent of the population don’t have
access to electricity. Apart from exporting the power, the
Ethiopian government is going to use power from the dam supplied by the Omo
River which also gives 90% of Lake Turkana water, to supply electricity for her
245,000 hectares of state-run irrigated sugar plantations and other projects. According to HRW “the dam and related
agricultural plans are also likely to dramatically decrease water levels in
Kenya’s Lake Turkana to further increasing competition over scarce resources
for the additional 300,000 indigenous people who live around Lake Turkana.” The
statement says. 
The site of the Gibe III dam Apart from Kenya there have been serious
implications of Ethiopia’s sugar plantations project where over 200,000
indigenous residents of the Lower Omo have been forcefully relocate by security
forces to affect the loss of grazing land and cultivation sites as they rely on
the 760KM long Omo River for their survival. “State security forces have used intimidation,
assaults and arbitrary arrests when people questioned the relocation or
refused to move even though The United Nations in 1980 named the area a World
Heritage because of its special cultural and physical significance” the
statement says. WB requires that projects it funds should
follow and mitigate against adverse environmental and social impacts especially
if it will affect loss of livelihood by calling on adequate compensation to at
least maintain their previous living standard. “WB is set to undermine these policies by
approving the power transmission line to Kenya with the source of energy highly
questionable” the statement says adding that environmental and social
assessment should be done on the project on indigenous people before funding the
transmission line. Jim Yong Kim the 12th WB
president who took the office on July 1 is faced with his first big test to
commitment to human rights and environment issue on the funding of the
transmission line to Kenya.  “Kim should show the people of Ethiopia
and Kenya that he will stand for their rights. That means not letting this
project proceed until the bank has taken adequate steps to prevent serious harm
to peoples’ rights and livelihoods” Evans, the HRW official says. ©Manuel Odeny 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment