Survival International Archive (Resettlement and Villagisation in Ethiopia Papers)

Scope and Content

SOAS holds Survival International's papers relating to the NGO's campaign relating to the resettlement and villagisation programmes undertaken by the Ethiopian government during the 1980s [Ref: SI/E]. These papers comprise primary and secondary source materials used in production of Survival's reports 'Ethiopia's Bitter Medicine: Settling for Disaster'; 'For Their Own Good...Ethiopia's Villagisation Programme'; and 'Ethiopia: More Light on Resettlement'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Survival International is a global human rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) which campaigns for the protection of the rights of tribal, indigenous and uncontacted peoples across the world.

Survival was founded in 1969 in response to an article published in the 'Sunday Times Magazine' by the author Norman Lewis, which highlighted the widespread violence and land-theft experienced by the indigenous tribes of Brazilian Amazonia. The British explorer and author Robin Hanbury-Tenison (b.1936-) was a co-founder of Survival and the group's long term President. Survival was incorporated as a company in 1972 and registered as a charity in 1974. Stephen Corry (b.1951-) was appointed as Survival's Director-General in 1982.

Survival has an international secretariat based in London, and national offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Paris and San Francisco. The NGO does not accept funding from any governmental source in an attempt to ensure freedom of action, and relies upon donations from individuals and charitable foundations.

Survival seeks to help indigenous peoples and organisations protect their land, culture and determine their own futures. The group works through individual campaigns, advocacy and public education. It organises mass letter writing campaigns, vigils, meetings and publishes investigative reports, books, and films on tribal peoples aimed at non-specialist audiences. It also directly lobbies individual governments, corporations and international bodies, including the United Nations. The NGO provides tribal peoples with legal assistance and helps fund tribal-led medical and self-help projects but does not seek to manage such development projects directly. Survival also produces educational materials for schools and monitors media reports on indigenous peoples, seeking to counter stereotypes which portray tribes as 'backward' or 'primitive'.

Survival has worked in support of over 80 different tribal and indigenous peoples around the world. In particular, Survival led the global awareness-raising campaign on the situation of the Yanomami people of the Amazon rainforest. Since the 1970s, Survival has highlighted the violent appropriation of Yanomami land by 'garimpeiros' (small independent gold-diggers) and large multinational corporations. In 1992, the struggle of the Yanomami, supported internationally by Survival, led to the creation by the Brazillian government of 10 million hectares of protected rainforest known as Yanomami Park. Survival was a prominent critic of the policy of resettlement undertaken by the government of Ethiopia during the 1980s, which aimed to internally relocate over 1.5 million people, largely from the North of the country to South West. Survival claimed the government's policies involved forcible relocation and collectivisation and threatened the way of life of the indigenous peoples of the South West provinces. In 2006, the NGO helped the Gana and Gwi bushman peoples of Botswana win a landmark legal case allowing them to return to their historic lands in Central Kalahari Game Reserve following their eviction by the Botswana government.


The papers are arranged into one sub-section: 'Papers on Resettlement and Villagisation in Ethiopia' [Ref: SI/E].

Access Information

The series 'Field Notes' in the sub-section: 'Papers on Resettlement and Villagisation in Ethiopia', which includes interviews with Oromo refugees in Somalia, is closed until 2088 under the Data Protection Act. Other material is available to holders of a full SOAS Library or Archives ticket. Please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library for further details.

Restrictions Apply

Acquisition Information


Conditions Governing Use

The series 'Articles and Publications by External Organisations' in the sub-section: 'Papers on Resettlement and Villagisation in Ethiopia' contains a significant proportion of copy material, and therefore this series may not be copied by researchers. Otherwise, for permission to copy material researchers should apply in the first instance to Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library.

Copyright held by various

Custodial History

Donated to SOAS Library in 2004 by Survival International.

Related Material

The wider institutional records of Survival International are held at the Survival International's UK office at 6 Charterhouse Buildings, London, EC1M 7ET [Archon Code: 2598]. These papers include: minutes of annual meetings of the International Council from 1982; minutes of the meetings of the International Executive from 1988; copies of press releases and regular 'Urgent Action' bulletins, and the correspondence and subject files of the campaigns department. These wider records are not publically available but may be made available to researchers under special circumstances, researchers should apply directly to Survival. Details from Database of Archives of Non-Governmental Organisations, DANGO.

Geographical Names