Ethiopian farmers (archive photo)
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Ethiopian government denies forcible relocations

The Ethiopian government has denied forcibly relocating tens of thousands of people off their land to make way for foreign investors.

US-based Human Rights Watch says people are being moved against their will to new villages that lack adequate food, farmland and facilities.

But Information Minister Bereket Simon told the BBC World Service the claims are baseless.

"This is the land of the Ethiopians, they have every right to stay where they are. The government cannot forcibly relocate them. It's only consensual," he said.

Mr Simon confirmed that the Ethiopian government has leased out more than three million hectares (7.4m acres) of land to local and foreign developers on a 25-year-lease.

  • 17 Jan 2012
  • From the section Africa