Call for Abstracts for the Ethiopian Journal of Human Rights; VOl V, 2020. Theme of the Volume – Minority Rights in the Ethiopian Context

Who minorities are and which rights they are entitled to has remained a contentious issue and accordingly there is no universally accepted binding definition of the concept of minority. According to the 1992 United Nations Minorities Declaration ’any definition must include both objective factors (such as the existence of a shared ethnicity, language or religion) and subjective factors (including that individuals must identify themselves as members of a minority)[1]. What constitutes minority rights and situating them within the broader human rights framework is also equally problematic. International law recognizes the physical existence and separate identity of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and later that of indigenous peoples.[2] However, minority rights are viewed as relational and protective; based, as they were, on the recognition that minorities are in a vulnerable situation in comparison to the majority population and in so long as they aim to protect members of a minority group from discrimination, assimilation, persecution, hostility or violence because of their status. This implies that minority rights do not constitute privileges, and they are not immune from human rights compliance including respect of the rights of the majority[3].

The 1995 FDRE’s Constitution identifies three categories of marginalised groups, which it calls the “historically least-advantaged” people. These are: the four “developing” regional states of Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, Afar and Somali; pastoralists, and national minorities. Although the federal political order has gone a long way in redressing the historical grievances of the country’s ethnic minorities, how far this has been translated into a reality has been very much debated in post-1991 Ethiopia. There is also the issue of politically disenfranchised and insecure minorities in the newly constituted regional states. The fifth issue of the Ethiopian Journal of Human Rights explores the praxis of these constitutionally enshrined minority rights and marginalized groups.

This 5th volume of the EJHR calls for contributions from scholars and practitioners for a critical appraisal of Ethiopia’s minority rights regime in the broader sense of the term including issues of marginalized groups. It interrogates whether the constitutional order has delivered on the rights of ethnic minorities which at the same time constitutes the core basis of political legitimacy for the ruling EPRDF. Going beyond ethnic minorities we also seek to generate knowledge on the fate of other types of minorities (E.g., religious, and occupational minorities) and marginalized groups (E.g., women and people with disability).

Issues to be addressed in the volume include but not limited to:

  • A historical analysis of minority rights in Ethiopia (how was the issue of minority rights viewed by various governments within the framework of nation-building?)
  • A critical appraisal of the constitutional order as it relates to minority rights and marginalized groups.
  • The status of national minorities in federal Ethiopia
  • Ethiopia’s de facto two-tier system of federalism – a regional conception of minorities
  • Pastoralists as minority groups in Ethiopia
  • The new insecure regional minorities
  • The rights of religious minorities
  • The rights of invisible minorities such as occupational minorities
  • A critical appraisal of the constitutional order as it relates to marginalized groups and voices.
  • Instances of conflicting rights such as cultural rights as part of minority rights and women’s rights


Abstracts of 250- 500 words should be sent to the Editor in Chief of the Journal Dr. Meron Zeleke before December 15,2019.


[2] Miodrag A. Jovanovic, 2005, Recognising Minority Identities Through Collective Rights, Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2, p. 637.

[3]  Hans O. Staub and Harry Zohn, 1980. “The Tyranny of Minorities”, Daedalus – The End of Consensus? Vol. 109, No. 3,.