Federalism and Ethnic Minorities in Ethiopia: Ideology, Territoriality, Human Rights, Policy

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In 1994 Ethiopia has adopted a new constitution, considered one of the most advanced in terms of provisions for human rights. The progressive ratification of several international treaties on minority rights had already begun in 1991, immediately after the fall of the Derg regime. This progress hasbrought Ethiopia into the UN monitoring system, but the review of the official UN documents reveals the mismatch between the mentioned constitutional and international steps and the on-ground situation. This article considers two possible causes of this gap. The first is the particular form of ethnicfederalism, first introduced with the Charter of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and later developed in the new constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). The second is the contradiction between the constitutional theory based on the fundamental political freedoms, and the political practice of the ruling party, grounded in revolutionary democracy, a post-Marxist ideology based on the Leninist democratic centralism and on some of the principles of the developmental state. In this article the problems identified by a UN independent expert on minority issues have been reconsidered with reference to the Ethiopian pastoral minorities. Special attention is paid to the controversy on the construction of the Gibe 3 dam along the course of the Omo River. This article claims that minority and indigenous rights are compatible with ethnic federalism as defined in the FDRE constitution, but are in conflict with the praxis inspired by the working ideology of the ruling party.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)45-74
Numero di pagine30
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014


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