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AAU marks International Human Rights Day

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The International Human Rights Day was marked at Addis Ababa University on December 13, 2017 with panel discussion.

The Addis Ababa University and the European Union jointly organized the event.

Themed “Federalism and human rights in Ethiopia: rhetoric and practices,” the event featured presentation followed by a deliberation session.

In her welcoming address, Deputy Head of Delegation of European Union to Ethiopia, Terhi Lehtinen disclosed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language or political attitude.

 “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,” said the deputy head of delegation.

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In his keynote address Jeilu Oumer (Ph.D.), A/President and Academic Vice president of the university, noted that the situation in Ethiopia before 1991 was marked with the violation of human rights, social injustice, economic exploitation and political oppression.

“Ethiopian federalism has brought a number of opportunities to the nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. It offered them an equal opportunity, a room to develop their culture, languages and harmonized their co-existence,” said Jeilu (Ph.D.).

Asnake Kefale (Ph.D.), in his presentation ’federalism and minority in Ethiopia’, discussed key issues in federalism, impacts of federalism on minorities and Ethiopian federalism: ideology and institutional settings.

He further stated that protection of minority rights recognized in the constitution could not prevent unexpected backlashes, citing the discrepancy between the theoretical aims in the constitution and the political practice as constraints to this problem.

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Following the presentation, a couple of questions regarding the role of the EU in ensuring human rights in Ethiopia and current issues in Ethiopia were raised and discussed upon.