Grounds for Group-Differentiated Citizenship Rights : The Case of Ethiopian Ethnic Federalism
The universal citizenship rights can not protect the interests of national minorities by systematically excluding them from social, economic and political life. It does this by denying national minorities access to their own societal cultures-a choice enabling background conditions. In order to enable meaningful choice, such cultures needs to be developing. The societal cultures of national minorities will, instead of being a living and developing ones, be condemned to an ever-increasing marginalization if the state follows a hands off approach to ethnicity. Thus the state must give a positive support to national minorities to help them develop their cultures in their own homeland. This can be done by drawing the boundary of the state in such a way that the ethnic minority can constitute a local majority to form a nation, and thus can be entitled to group-differentiated citizenship rights. This inevitably creates mutual-indifference among various nations, and seems to threaten the territorial integrity of the state. But as far as the multinational federation is the result of voluntary union of nations, though the social tie among these nations is weaker than the one found in a nation-state, it can nonetheless be enduring.
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