Commission accuses Oromia region of forced evictions, demolitions
Massive demolitions and forced evictions in the newly formed Sheger City are illegal and against international and human rights laws, a new report by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) shows. The forced uprooting is causing a humanitarian crisis and is becoming a security issue.
In its report dated March 31, 2023, the Commission emphasized that the continued demolitions and forced evictions in the newly formed city violate the federal and Oromia regional governments’ enacted laws.
The regional state of Oromia established Sheger City a month ago, comprising 12 sub-cities and 36 districts surrounding Addis Ababa. As a result, the majority of Addis Ababa’s outskirts now fall under the administration of the new city.
Immediately thereafter, the Oromia regional state began demolishing homes and businesses in the vicinity of Addis Ababa, the capital city.
The Commission issued the report after conducting evaluations of the affected areas in response to complaints from evicted residents.
The demolished houses and properties are classified into three categories, according to the EHRC’s report. The first categories include those that are at least ten years old and meet all legal requirements. The second category of owners also partially satisfies legal requirements, whereas the third category of homeowners acquired their properties illegally.
Owners in the first and second categories, according to the report, can have legal title deeds and are eligible for all types of compensation and replacement housing. In addition, the Commission stated that the regional state is evicting the households without notice. The government also failed to consult the citizens on this matter.
Particularly in the Lebu Teklehaimanot neighborhood, residential homes are demolished while the majority of residents are at work.
On the other hand, houses belonging to certain ethnic groups were purposefully spared from destruction, whereas those belonging to other ethnic groups were targeted. This pattern of selective eviction is prevalent, particularly in Lege Tafo, according to the EHRC’s assessment.
Brightman Gebremichael, EHRC’s social and economic director, stated, “The government has a responsibility to control illegal ownership of housing. However, demolition and forced eviction measures should not destabilize communities and the livelihoods of families,” adding that the government must protect the social and economic rights of its citizens.