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Christian Aid denies it was duped into financing the Ethiopian civil war: The Church of England Newspaper, March 31, 2010. April 8, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, NGOs.
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First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Christian Aid has disputed claims made in BBC documentary that 95 per cent of funds sent to Ethiopia for famine relief in the 1980’s were used by rebels to purchase arms.

“We are confident that aid got to millions of people who needed it,” the aid agency said last week.

“It would be wrong to claim that no money was ever diverted in such a situation of active conflict. However, the uncorroborated allegation, made by a former rebel leader in the BBC report, that 95 percent of $100 million aid for famine victims in Tigray in 1985 was misused is grossly inflated. There is no credible evidence that this figure – or any figure remotely close to it – is accurate,” a statement released by Christian Aid said.

On March 3, Martin Plaut of the BBC reported that former rebel leaders claimed that almost all of the £63m raised by charities including Band Aid—the relief effort led by pop star Bob Geldof, was used to purchase arms. A former Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) rebel leader, Gebremedhin Araya, who currently lives in Australia, told the BBC that guerillas tricked aid agencies into financing the Ethiopian civil war.

The BBC also cited a 1985 CIA report that concluded “some funds that insurgent organisations are raising for relief operations, as a result of increased world publicity, are almost certainly being diverted for military purposes.”

Christian Aid, Oxfram, Save the Children and other NGOs poured millions of dollars into Northern Ethiopia and Eritrea in the mid 1980’s to combat one of Africa’s severest man-made famines. Christian Aid said that “money sent to Ethiopia in the mid eighties saved hundred of thousands of lives. The British public should feel justifiably proud of the very generous contribution they made to this.”

“We welcome public scrutiny of aid distribution and media investigations including those by the BBC,” Christian Aid said.

However, the claims made in the report were “absurd.”

“Christian Aid’s experienced emergency team on the ground imposed stringent assessment criteria and the use of all donated money was carefully monitored through progress reports and rigorous accounting,” Max Peberdy of Christian Aid said.

“These claims are outrageous and very damaging and there is far more evidence that the money was channeled to where it should have been than there is for these inaccurate allegations,” said Peberdy, whom the BBC claimed was one of the aid officials duped by rebels.

Band Aid’s Penny Jenden stated, “If this money had been diverted to rebels and not used to buy food you would have had thousands of people lying dead at the side of the road. The fact that there was no major death toll or mass migration clearly demonstrates that the money was not diverted.”

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Comments

1. Sirak - May 15, 2010

As my dear partner used to say KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE BUT KEEP YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER . We need to infiltrate and dismantle EPRDF to gain freedom , liberty and justice in Ethiopia. We have to start asking ourselves :who can I thrust other than myself in this quest to create peacefull , prosperous and one Ethiopia? What can I do as an individual each day to achieve our common goal?Each of us need to act accordingly to the answers we gave to ourselves .Even women , elderly or disabled may have a big opportunity waiting for them just to act upon.We got to play this game safe and start thinking like EPRDF like a chase player does in a chase game .By immitateing the opponent EPRDF we can get them right where it hurts .One thing to give top consideration to minimize the risk we take is NOT THRUSTING ANYBODY EVEN OURSELVES!! IT IS TIME To remove TPLF thugs in an all out WAR. The bandits committed a lot of crime to leave our country peacefully. The have killed, raped and looted our peaple since they invaded our country. Even peaceful struggle preferable, it will not work simply because we are dealing with barbarians. Please, let us not waste our time in hope of removing the child killers in a peaceful way. WAR is the only option left before we see our country is destroyed further.


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