Ethiopia: Conflict Insights
Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, is one of the continent’s oldest independent countries that served as a symbol of African independence during the colonial period. As a founding member of the United Nations and the Organization of African Union (later transformed into African Union), Ethiopia played an essential role in laying the foundation for Africa’s anti-colonial struggles. A modern state incorporating different ethnic groups and regions into one state entity and characterized by political and economic coercion and cultural assimilation, Ethiopia was formed at the end of the 19th century by Emperor Menelik II. The period that followed, the reigns of Emperor Haile Selassie and the Military regime, sustained the centralist unitary-state model under which both individual and group rights were largely repressed. Despite the steady socio-economic progress, in November 2015, anti-government protests - commonly referred to as the “Oromo protests”- engulfed the country. Acknowledging grievances of its citizens, the government underwent a “deep reform” process. Since his appointment, the new PM has spearheaded several reforms to open-up political and economic spaces - released political detainees, allowed exiled opposition leaders to come home and mended Ethiopia’s relations with its long-term enemy – Eritrea. However, the post-April period has been accompanied by soaring ethnic tensions, violence and breakdown of law and order that resulted in the death of thousands and displacement of millions of people. Despite efforts to bring about reform, enormous challenges remain. The country still has a long way to go to see its wounded unity heal, restore the rule of law and breathe life into its depleted reserves so as to eventually realize sustainable peace and stability. The purpose of this report is to provide analysis and policy implications to assist the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States and Development Partners in decision-making and in the implementation of peace and security related instruments.