Protest targets Italian government over Ethiopian dam disaster

Gibe III dam protesters in Italy

Demonstrators outside the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome today will urge the government to deny Ethiopia €250 million for construction of the controversial Gibe III dam.

The dam will devastate at least eight tribes living in the country’s Lower Omo Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A coalition of organizations including Survival International, the Campaign for the Reform of the World Bank and human rights groups from Kenya, will deliver a petition denouncing the Gibe III dam. More than 300 concerned organizations have signed the petition.

Gibe III, which is being built by Italian firm Salini Costruttori with equipment provided by US company Harsco Corporation, will destroy the natural flood cycles along Ethiopia’s Omo River. The Lower Omo Valley tribes depend on the river’s floods for their survival. They have not been consulted about the dam.

A member of the hunter-gatherer Kwegu tribe said, ‘[W]e depend on the fish, they are like our cattle. If the Omo floods are gone we will die.’

The Omo River is the main source for Kenya’s famous Lake Turkana, which is a lifeline for more than 300,000 Kenyans. Representatives from the Kenyan organizations ‘Friends of Lake Turkana’ and ‘The Daughter of Mumbi’ will join the demonstrators in Rome today.

It is thought that the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, may offer a loan for the Gibe III dam very shortly. If he does, he will be ignoring the widespread international concern regarding the dam’s social and environmental impacts, and the advice of many Italian NGOs.

Gibe III dam protesters in Italy
Gibe III dam protesters in Italy

In a joint letter sent to the minister last month, a large number of Italian NGOs urged the Minister not to support Gibe III, arguing the project would ‘put at risk the food security of half a million people’. The letter states, ‘our country has the political duty to uphold and promote the rights of the most threatened tribal peoples… as required by the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights which Italy has endorsed’.

The Gibe III contract was awarded to Salini Costruttori without any competitive bidding process, contrary to Ethiopian law. Construction began two years before the Ethiopian Environmental Protection agency gave permission for the project.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said, ‘If the Gibe III dam is finished, so too are the tribes of the Lower Omo Valley. Italy should play no part in this dam.’

Source: AllAfrica

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6 Comments

  1. These so called “NGO’s” are deliberately trying to keep our country in the dark, since when they care about our people. The people whom they claim will be hurt will be beneficiaries of this project. They will have light, they will have new opportunities to work and earn a living, and this will generate income for them. The NGO’s are really working in the interest of egypt, the egyptians don’t want any of the lakes feeding in to the blue nile to be used for generating energy and for dams because it will decrease the amount of water they get.

  2. ብዙ ገንዘብ የወጣበት እና ረጅም ጊዜ የፈጀ ስራ ነው::
    ስራው መቼ አልቆ ጥቅም ላይ ይዉላል ሲባል እንዳልሆነ ሆኖ መገኘቱ በጣም ያሳዝናል:: እንደሰማሁት ከሆነ የ3 ወር እድሜ እንኩዋን አልነበረውም…እንደሚመስለኝ የተጠቀሙበት ማቴርያል ጊዜው ያለፈበት ሳይሆን አይቀርም:: ጣሊያን አገር ውስጥ ፎቅ መውደቅ እና መፍረስ ቀርቶ ቢሰነጠቅ ወዲያዉኑ የተገነባበት ማቴርያል ከብረቱ ጀምሮ እስከ ሲሚንቶው ድረስ አንድም ሳይቀር ይመረመራል ሲሚንቶው ከየትኛው ባህር እንደተወሰደ ድንጋዩ ከየት እንደ መጣ ሳይቀር ይጣራል..አሁንም መልሰው እንደ ቀላል ነገር አስተካክለውታልን ሰምቻለሁ ግን ማስተካከል ሳይሆን ጠቃሚው እንደገና መስራት ነበር

  3. በጣም በጣም ያሳዝናል በበኩሌ ካሳ ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጊቤን ይጠቀሙ ለነበሩት ሁሉ መስጠት አለባቸው:: በቀላል ታይቶ መታለፍ ያለበት ጉዳይ አይደለም ::

  4. ጥቅም ላይ መዋል በነበረበት ወቅት ለጥቅም መዋል ባለመቻሉ ለኢትዮጵያ ህዝብ ጊቤን ይጠቀሙ ለነበሩት ሁሉ ካሳ መስጠት አለባቸው:: በቀላል ታይቶ መታለፍ ያለበት ጉዳይ አይደለም ::

  5. ለልማት መነሳሳት እና ግንባታ ጥሩ ሆኖ እያለ እንዲህ ያለ ሌሎችን ህዝቦች የሚጎዳ ስራ ገና ለገና የኤሌትሪክ ሃይል ለውጭ ሃገር ለመሸጥ ሲባል እንዲጎዱ ማድረግ ተገቢ አይደለም:: ይህ ጉዳይ ለብዙ ጊዜ ተቃውሞ የነበረበት ነው::
    እኛም በኛ ሃገር ላይ እና ህዝብ ላይ ቢደረግ የማያስደስተን ነገር በሌሎችም ላይ አናድርግ:: ገና ከውጥኑ ይህ መታሰብ እና መጠናት ነበረበት::

  6. every country and every nation have the right to to use their natural resourse why peple or some group to demonstrat every where this is not acceptable pls ocean tell to ethiopian diaspora live in USA to stop any demonstration with out having lack of information about ethiopia God bless ethiopia

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