Stability and Trust in Federations with Ethnic Territories and a Secession Clause – Challenges and Opportunities for Ethiopia
International Journal of Minority and Group Rights, 2021
12 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 8, 2020
How might Ethiopia maintain its federal structure and its territory? ‘Constitutional contestation’ in Ethiopia is fuelled by two factors: regions and political parties follow ethnic line; and the Ethiopian Constitution has a secession clause. A central challenge is to secure sufficient political trust. The public must be assured that authorities and individuals across regional borders generally comply with the law. This requires authoritative, independent ways to settle disagreements and monitor compliance, including carefully designed multi-level checks and balances, representatives of regions in central decision making bodies, and a ‘competence police’. So we should welcome the prohibition of the 2019 Election Law against ethnically based political parties. Strong and credible human rights constraints together with free media and functioning opposition parties may also foster trusts,. This is one further reason why Ethiopia should grant the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACtHPR) jurisdiction to hear cases from NGOs and individuals.
Keywords: Ethiopia; Federalism; stability; human rights
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