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Critics will contest Ethiopia’s identity issues body

Friday, August 23, 2019

Subject

Ethiopia's identities and boundaries commission.

Significance

Amid proliferating inter-ethnic tensions and regional boundary disputes, parliament voted last December to establish the Administrative Boundaries and Identity Issues Commission (the Commission). However, after six months of existence, the Commission is yet to become operational, and its mandate and composition have been fiercely contested, raising the risk it could ultimately deepen rather than ease ongoing ethnic polarisation.

Impacts

  • Having faced significant opposition among Tigrayan MPs, the Commission may face challenges operating in Tigray.
  • The preponderance of politicians over experts within the Commission may expose it to questions over the credibility of its findings.
  • The executive’s establishment of ad hoc ‘committees’ to solve specific identity-based conflicts may undermine the Commission’s relevance.
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