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Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what the Department's policy is on the Ethiopian Government's

programme of national resettlement in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region; and if he will make a statement. [130304]

The Government of Ethiopia are undertaking a programme of voluntary resettlement. We recognise that if properly managed, such programmes can have a role to play as part of a wider set of actions to address food insecurity. However, badly managed resettlement can have a negative impact if people are moved into inappropriate areas or given insufficient support or services.There clearly have been some cases of inappropriate resettlement in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region. Our overall policy has been to engage with the federal and regional Government to promote a more careful and measured approach. In addition, we have remained ready to respond to humanitarian situations that might develop. Our Ethiopia office will continue to monitor the situation carefully.