Analysis of the Rights of Indigenous People and Its Relevance in Ethiopia

Mulu Bzayene Lemma


The main objective of this paper is to examine the relevance of the rights of indigenous people in Ethiopia. In doing so, legal and scholarly books were reviewed. Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual country. There are more than eighty nations, nationalities and people and more than 200 dialects in the country. Because of this, the 1995 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia constitution has recognized nations, nationalities and people have the right to speak, to write and to develop its own language; to express, to develop and to promote its culture; and to preserve its history; the right to free land for grazing and cultivation and the right not to be displaced from their own lands but not the right of the indigenous people to own traditional lands, territories and resources their economic and social development and to their very survival as distinct cultural communities. This constitution is the first rule to recognize and accommodate nations, nationalities and people have rights in Ethiopian political history. However, the constitution did not recognize the existence and the right of indigenous people in Ethiopia. So, this shows that the rights of indigenous people are not addressed in the constitution which is essential for the observance of the right. Besides, there is no constitutional provision in favor of the rights of the indigenous people to own and use land for their survival in Ethiopia. Worsening this, the government has argued that there is no any official statistics that identifies who are indigenous and who are not in the Ethiopia. This implies that there are no indigenous people in the country. This paper insists that the concept and the rights of indigenous people are unpalatable in Ethiopia constitutional system.

Keywords: Indigenous people, Human Rights, Nations, Nationalities and people, Constitution

DOI: 10.7176/RHSS/9-13-04

Publication date:July 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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