December 29, 2006

DAVE KOPEL WRITES ON THE OTHER WAR IN ETHIOPIA:

The Anuak people of Ethiopia, a black minority tribe, have historically been enslaved by other Ethiopians. The slavery persisted into the late twentieth century. Today, the Anuak are being exterminated, while the central government of Ethiopia tells the world to ignore the violence, claiming that it is merely an inter-tribal conflict.

Gambella is in southwestern Ethiopia, bordering Sudan. It is been the home of five ethnic groups: the Anuak, Nuer, Majangir, Opo and Komo. The Anuaks and the Nuer are the largest groups and have long feuded over the land and its resources. The Anuaks, who live atop gold and oil reserves, number approximately 150,000.

A mainly agricultural people, the majority of Anuak inhabit Gambella, although some live in eastern Sudan, and some have recently been displaced to Kenya and the US. Gambella also hosts UN refugee camps, for people who have fled the decades-long genocide in south Sudan.

The central government, in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, has disarmed most of the Anuak, and even disarmed Anuak police officers. Ethiopia is among the East African nations which have promised to conduct campaigns against civilian gun ownership, as part of the United Nations-sponsored Nairobi Protocol. Like several other signers of the Nairobi Protocol (Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Sudan), Ethiopia already had a well-established record of genocide against disarmed victims.

Nobody has cared, but now that Ethiopia is opposing the Islamists in Somalia with U.S. assistance, we’ll no doubt see a sudden surge of “human rights” advocacy on the subject, though the whole disarmament thing might make it politically tricky . . . .