Originally published in Africa Insight
Since 1991, Ethiopia has been implementing an ethno-linguistic federal system. This system established nine ethnically based regional states. In this article, I briefly discuss the moral and legal justification of group (collective) rights of ethno-cultural communities and introduces the concept of ethnic federalism in general, and Ethiopian ethnic federalism in particular. I also discuss the literature on issues of group (collective) rights (of ethno-cultural communities) and their place in liberalism. While discussing the historical, moral and philosophical necessities for such federal arrangement, this article also point out the most binding constraints Ethiopian federalism is facing.