tv BBC Newsnight WHUT August 6, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
>> union bank has put its global expertise to work for a wide range of companies. what can we do for you? >> and now, bbc news night. >> this week, allegations that the ethiopian government is using aid money to oppress its opponent. >> holding the population hostage. >> we will put our findings to a representative of the ethiopian government. >> the phone hacking scandal widens as new allegations emerge about piers morgan. it has been described as the most severe humanitarian this -- humanitarian crisis in a generation.
that has seized the horn of africa. billions have been given in the long term development aid. an investigation by news night has uncovered evidence of serious human rights abuses by the government and allegations that it is using long-term development aid as a weapon to crush opposition. we will be talking to the ethiopian head of missions to the united kingdom. first, a report. >> the horn of africa. a humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale. every day, thousands of refugees are fleeing to northern kenya
from somalia and ethiopia to escape the drought and famine. children, the old and sick are dying. it is images like these that have prompted the international community to pour millions of american 0-- emergency aid into the country. $3 billion in long-term development aid is given to ethiopia alone. in this special report by news night, we expose evidence that the west has turned a blind eye to systematic human rights abuses in ethiopia. >> i have given up on the west. i do not believe the west is interested in democracy, the rule of law, human rights in the third world. >> we reveal evidence of how aid
is being used as an weapon of depression -- oppression. >> he came to power after ousting the military regime in 1991. >> the priority was to ensure law and order. >> a brutal crackdown. 193 civilians died in. tens of thousands were detained. allegations of human rights abuses continue to this day. in 2007, the ethiopian army launched a counterinsurgency campaign. human-rights watch and the american association for the
enhancement of signs produced before and after satellite images of villages, allegations that ethiopian troops were displacing entire communities, destroying dozens of villages. the media and most state agencies are banned from the region. we decided to talk to those who have recently fled to the refugee camps of northern kenya. this is the largest refugee camp in the world. more than 400,000 people live here. it is a sprawling refugee city. the vast majority are from somalia. thousands are arriving on a daily basis, escaping the drought and famine. ethiopians are coming here, too.
civilians are caught up in fighting between armed rebels and the ethiopian military. we have been told that the number of ethiopian refugees is increasing by the month. we have spent the last few days trying to track some of them down. we were hoping to meet them here. this grandmother of four arrived three weeks ago. she was arrested along with 100 others. she says soldiers killed her husband -- killed her son in front of her. >> whenever there is fighting between the two, they go to the nearest town and take their revenge on civilians. they would kill or arrest everybody. >> she was jailed for 1.5 years. they kept her in a container kept out on a nightly basis to be tortured.
>> they write to me in a room. one was standing on my head -- raped me in a room. one was standing on my head and the other on my hands. they threw me into the container. there were many soldiers. i cannot estimate the number. >> this woman says she was arrested and accused of being a supporter of the rebel militia. it was declared a terrorist group by the ethiopian government. she shows us the marks and scars of torture, stab wounds from a bayonet. >> they used to beat me. they used to do whatever they like. then they started raping me. they were beating me while i was being raped. i was bleeding. i became unconscious when i saw
my unconscious baby. >> you were 8 months pregnant at this time. >> yes. a man stomped on my stomach. you can imagine what happened to the child. los from the but of a gun. -- butt of a gun. as a consequence of that, the child died. >> there is no way to verify the stories. the press can operate freely so we are going to try to go in under cover. away from the drought and have comehe rains to africa. it is difficult to operate here. dissent is not tolerated.
we arranged clandestine meetings with key contacts. ethiopia receives approximately $3 billion in long-term development aid. the ethiopian government controls much of the distribution. >> almost all of this aid goes through government channels. they have their own administrators. they have the last say on who gets and who doesn't. holding the population hostage. >> we travel to the southern region. it is surprisingly lush here. this is deceptive. the rains have come late and crops have not yet matured. this woman is a widow.
she has seven children. the older ones have gone to town to beg and scavenged scraps from bins. >> no intervention from the government. >> what are your fears for your children, for their future? >> god knows. if they survive, they might find their way or die of poverty. what can i do? >> in another village, 30 kilometers away, there is a similar story. we spoke to villagers, some who have not eaten for four days. they told us they have had no help from the government. in 2005, the people of these villages voted overwhelmingly for the opposition. according to our sources, they are still being punished now.
we traveled 100 kilometers north to meet with farmers who say they have been targeted because of their political beliefs. it was too dangerous to meet in their own village. they walked two hours across the country to meet at a safe location. >> because we were in the opposition, we were not able to survive in our country. our country does not allow us to join the ruling party. for these reasons, we suffer greatly. we suffer if we want to get personal help. >> we had to cut the interview short. we have been told we have attracted too much attention and it is no longer safe to continue here. these farmers have told us how they have been denied seeds. they have been completely ostracized from their own communities because of their political beliefs and the grip
the regime has on the communities here. opposition leaders say they have personally brought evidence like this to the attention of the international committee time and time again. >> their position is to dismiss it. they always want to dismiss it as an isolated incident where we present some proof. we challenge them to go down and check it out for themselves. they do not do it. >> a traditional funeral. this is ethiopia's largest and most populous region. in the last few months, more than 200 political activists have been detained in a series of mass arrests, many without charge, accused of being members
of the liberation front, an armed separatist organization declared a terrorist group by the ethiopian government. this professor is a seasoned national opposition politician with his roots firmly in the region. he says the government is rounding up members of his and other parties, accusing them of being terrorists. >> the government knows our members. they are members of the outlawed party. >> these are innocent people who are being jailed. >> some of them in the national parliament. our candidates during the election last time. >> what happens to these people? >> some of them have been
severely tortured. >> it is here that some of the worst human rights abuses are alleged to be currently taking place. this is the place where opposition politicians, academics come and dissidents are interrogated. this man fled from ethiopia after his release. >> interrogation starts with peking. they hand cuffs-- interrogation starts with beat -- interrogation starts with beating. they use electric shock. >> the ethiopian human-rights commission recently published a report into conditions in 35
prisons across the country. it says, there is no evidence to suggest that inmates are suggested -- subjected to cruel, inhumane punishment. the international community funds the ethiopian human-rights commission. this professor is an internationally respected human rights campaigner. >> they want the human rights commission to work. justly, legally. i think there is a lot to be said. they are puppets, absolute puppets. >> the purpose of development aid is to help ethiopia onto its feet, to establish justice and
the rule of law. the evidence we have gathered suggests it is failing. >> joining me now is the ethiopian deputy head of missions to the u.k. first of all, what was discovered was that human rights violations were it's systemic -- were systemic. widespread torture. a pregnant woman raped and tortured. a grand mummer -- grandmother in a refugee camp says she was raped. what do you say to that? >> thank you for allowing me to explain. first, i want to indicate that this is completely a report that lacks conductivity.
it also lacks even handedness. as a matter of fact, it is solely -- it has got the source which accused our opponents in ethiopia, who have been rejected by the electorate and who have been, time and again, have already shown that their allegations are unfounded. >> do you disbelieve these women were raped and tortured? these are women and grandmother. s. whether they are opposition supporters or not, clearly you condemn any kind of torture or abuse.
>> yes. i was talking about the report. as far as the torture and rape is concerned, the government is governed by the rule of law. human-rights and democratic rights are enshrined within the ethiopian constitution. >> what happens in prison? in the prison, we heard that there were men who had their heads held under water, who had electric currents put through their bodies. >> these are a recycling of all allegations. my government has repeatedly given answer to them. >> about having a u.n. representative on torture go into the prison, what about that? >> with them to look at your
reporter for actually saying -- he was reporting from adis abb aba. >> he was under cover. >> one of your reporters has been to the country. he was actually there. >> it is important that you onerstand the bbc's position this. he would not have been allowed into ethiopia. >> there are two organizations for which he was taking a side. >> he spoke to scores of people. let's talk to the -- talk about
the farmer who said he did not have fertilizer or seeds. one village would be on the edge of starvation. there were no crops. in the next village, people were not starving. the village that was in much greater trouble, was a village that had opposition supporters. the other village was a government supported village. do you denied that -- deny that? >> yes. in 2011, only 4.5 million people are actually requiring assistance. here you can understand that the policies of the government for which we are always making a priority in making sure that the early warning systems work.
these people who they are saying starving have never actually starts. >> the u.n. report on ethiopia -- they are lying and talking nonsense. >> these independent investigations have already been carried out. you are saying my government is starving people and using aid money and resources. the donor assistance group has already independently investigated. they found these additions were completely unfounded. >> one last point. do you think you would let, not only be u.n. special investigator, the thing journalists should be allowed into the country to travel where
they wish and speak to whomever they wish to make their own judgments? >> does miss -- journalists have special agendas. the terrorist elements would not be allowed. >> thank you very much. news night broadcast new allegations about the phone hacking scandal. the former wife of paul mccartney, heather mills, claims a reporter admitted to her that her phone had been hacked. for legal reasons, we decided not to broadcast the name of the journal list. here we have an exclusive report.
>> after permeating news international, a phone hacking scandal seeps into the heart of the mirror group. evidence provided to us by heather mills suggests one juror list used personal phone messages -- one journalist use personal phone messages to get on the front page. she received a phone call from a senior journalist. >> he said, i heard you had a big argument with your boyfriend. i said, why would you know this? he said, there are messages on my machine.
i have listened to them, and they said come heard messages. i said, why are you laughing? you have obviously hacked my phone. they were private, stations about issues we were having as a couple. i said i will go to the police. he said, okay, okay. we heard it on your voice messages. >> there has been much speculation about what piers morgan knew or did not know about phone hacking. he listened to one of the messages. in a 2006 article he wrote, at one stage, i was played a tape aul had left on heather's mobile phone. she had gone to india and paul
mccartney was pleading for her to come back. he said, we can work it out. piers morgan was the editor when heather mills says her phone was tapped -- hacked. in a statement, he said the claims are unsubstantiated and the high court judge described her as a less than candid witness. some of his former colleagues believe hackings was -- hacking was one thread. >> he said he had never asked anyone to hack a phone. he said he has never published a story that came from a phone hacking. that cannot be true. >> there is no honest way he
could have obtained that tape unless they have gone into my voice messages and listen to the messages that were left. >> how much phone hacking did go on at the merit? -- the mirror. colleaguess morgan's said he would have plenty to say about it. >> we would have lively debates. we would talk about phone hacking. i might be able to point to a few stories that he published that came from phone hacking. >> piers morgan continues to deny any accusations of phone hacking. >> that is all for this week. from all of us, goodbye.