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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Brief Encounter with Democracy: From Acquiescence to Resistance during Eritrea's Early Federation Years
Author:Fessehatzion, Tekie
Periodical:Eritrean Studies Review
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Eritrea
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
Inter-African Relations
History, Archaeology
United Nations
Political development
Abstract:On December 2, 1950, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 390 (V) A, stating that 'Eritrea shall constitute an autonomous unit under the sovereignty of the Ethiopian crown', specifying the powers of the Eritrean and federal governments, and stating that the Government of Eritrea 'would be based on democratic principles'. The Resolution mandated the appointment of a UN Commissioner to prepare a draft constitition of Eritrea. He was expected to consider both the wishes and welfare of the inhabitants of Eritrea and the rights and claims of Ethiopia. The purpose of this paper is to show how the Imperial Ethiopian Government undermined the two cornerstones of the UN decision: democracy and internal autonomy. Two cases typify Ethiopia's encroachment upon Eritrea's autonomy and democratic institutions and the growing resentment on the part of the Eritreans who had first acquiesced to the creation of the Ethiopian-Eritrean Federation. They are the pressure on the UN Commissioner for Eritrea to include articles in the constitution dealing with the Emperor's representative, and Ethiopia's attempt to create a Federal Supreme Court to circumvent Eritrea's independent judiciary. The brief encounter with democracy in the years 1952-1954 persuaded the Eritrean people that they did not want to be absorbed into the Ethiopian empire. Activist parliamentarians and the independent newspaper 'Voice of Eritrea' embodied the evolution from acquiescence to the UN decision to an emerging Eritrean nationalism. The article is based on British and American archival records. Bibliogr., notes, ref.