Protection of Internal National Minorities in Tigray Regional State: The Case of Raya Oromo

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Addis Ababa


The introduction of Elhnic-based Federalism in Ethiopia, a coul1lry of multi-ethnic and polyglot society, has enabled some ethnic groups to establish their own regions. Yet because of various reasons, all regions are ethnically heterogeneous .Hence, Ihe federal arrangement appeared as a cause for the creation of internal nalional minorities; an ethnic groups who forms majority in one region but lIIinorities in another region in which their protection, as seen prac[ically, strongly depend upon [he regional majorities. The case of Raya Oromo in Tigray regional State is a [ypical example of internal national minorities shorn of recognition and protection as a result of which is enforced to assimilate. To claim protection, the group should first exist as nation, nationality and peoples by fulfilling common requirements of article 39 of both FDRE and Tigray Constitutions. Therefore, this research, basically, examines the issue of recognition and protection of Raya Oromo in Tigray region in reference with the above National and sub-national Constitutions. The research was conducted in two Woredas of Tigray Regional State; Alamata and Raya Azebo where members of the group in question are residing. This research deployed standard questionnaires to examine the issue of recognition. An extensive interview and personal observations have also been conducted which endeavored 10 solicit information pertaining to their perception,interests and problems in relation to manifestation of cultural and linguistic identity.Based on the quantified result of the questionnaire, the research has revealed that the group in question (i.e. Raya Oromo) has fulfilled the requirements for 'nation, nationality and people and they have also manifested desires and interests for recognition and protection. It follows that their Constitutional rights; right to territorial autonomy, representation and political participation, cultural and linguistic rights have been violated. The findings of the research has clearly shown that, the regional government has violated the cultural rights of the group not only by inaction but also by intervention which extends to prohibition of some cultural practices individually as well as in community with others. Hence, the measure of the government is at odd with the constitutional principles (both [he FDRE &Tigray) and relevant in[el"l1a[ional instrumen[s to which Ethiopia is a member State. As a result, this paper argues that their constitutional rights should be protecled and Ihe involvement of [he Federal governmenl in ensuring the rights of intel"l1al national minorities is indispensible.



inlel"l1al nalional minorities, Conslitution, nation, nalionality &peoples, protection.