British Minister for International Development, Gareth Thomas, has indicated that UN agencies have condemned the Ethiopian government’s habit of not allowing food aid to reach regions traditionally known to back opposition parties.
The British Minister who concluded his two-day visit to Ethiopia, Tuesday, met with journalists. He briefed them about the accusation, which according to him was whispered to him by some unspecified UN agencies and donors groups.
“I have heard the allegation, however there is no clear evidence that could make the allegations accurate”, he said. According to the Minister, although the information does not serve as proof, the seriousness of the allegations demand an urgent investigation.
“I raised the issue with government officials and they are willing to investigate it”, he said. The investigation will be monitored by the British government’s ambassador to Ethiopia.
So far, none of the said United Nations agencies have released any official reports to back the allegations.
Although Mr. Gareth Thomas failed to mention the areas where the alleged discrimination is taking place, Ethiopian sources insist that the Amhara and Oromo Regional States, traditionally associated with the opposition, are the among the worst hit areaas in what concerns the said discriminatory food aid distribution.
Less than a week ago, Ethiopia’s Somali-speaking communities, allegedly marginalized by the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa began a bout of rebellion against the government. The rebels have claimed that part of their reason for taking up arms is because no aid reaches the Ogaden region.
The British minister expressed his appreciation and respect for Ethiopia’s progress in political arena, in spite of continued claims about the political abuses of the government.
Ethiopia remains one of the world’s most aid-dependent countries, receiving more than $2bn in foreign assistance every year.