Joint Ownership of Land and Right of Secession in the FDRE Constitution



Ethiopia is the home to more than 80 ethnic communities with different languages, cultural and religious diversity. Except in a few urban areas such as the capital city, most of Ethiopia's ethnic communities predominantly live in their respective distinct geographic areas of habitation. There is no ethnic community in Ethiopia a majority that comprises a population of more than 50% of the total population of Ethiopia.  But  there  are  relatively  significant  majority  ethnic  communities  such  as  the Oromo and Amhara. Most of Ethiopia's ethnic communities are divided along mainly two religious cleavage lines: Islam and Orthodox Christianity. By crosscutting Ethiopia's ethnic cleavage lines, religion plays a moderating role in limiting the intensity of the ethnic factor in politics, giving rise to overarching loyalty.

The  1995  constitution  of  Ethiopia  established  a  federal  system  that  is  organized  on  the basis of the right of Ethiopia’s ethnic communities to self-determination. The recognition of the right of self-determination has become imperative to establish peace and democracy in the country and has demanded the reconstitution of the Ethiopian state on the basis of a federal political system that guarantees the maintenance and promotion distinctive  ethno-cultural  identities  while  building  a  common  polity  that  allows  them  to pursue their  common  interests.  In as  much  as  ethnic  federalism institutionalizes  the  self-rule  and  shared-rule  of  Ethiopia's  territorial  ethnic  communities  by  guaranteeing  their representation  and  participation  in  the  governance  process,  it  is  a  viable  constitutive means to democracy. The federal arrangement in Ethiopia is not only aimed at enabling ethnic communities to maintain and promote their distinctive collective identities and their particular forms of life it is also directed towards building one political and economic community for the promotion of their common interests collectively, in a mutually supportive manner.

Ramifications of Right to self-determination

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