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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Federalism, local government and minority protection in Ethiopia: opportunities and challenges
Author:Beken, Christophe Van derISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law (ISSN 1464-3731)
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:ethnic relations
minority groups
local government
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021855314000205
Abstract:Federalism is increasingly promoted and utilized in multi-ethnic countries as a means to guarantee minority rights and safeguard the harmony and integrity of the polity and state. Yet, due to the unfeasibility of achieving a perfect overlap between ethnic and territorial boundaries, every ethnic-based territory will contain ethnic minority groups. This is also the case in the Ethiopian Federation where all nine regions are ethnically heterogeneous, albeit to different degrees. This article investigates how Ethiopia's regions are approaching their minority groups by analysing the relevant regional constitutions and laws. The analysis shows that the main minority protection mechanism is the establishment of ethnic-based local governments. Although this device is not without merit as far as minority protection is concerned, the impracticality of achieving ethnically homogeneous territories is its major limitation. The article therefore concludes by recommending a number of complementary legal instruments striving for more comprehensive minority protection. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]