Ethiopia: Have Ogaden independence requirements support in International Law?
By Mohamed Dheeg
Sovereignty is the theoretical principle that gives a people the freedom to form their own government, state form and structure. The principle is often used by ethnic minorities in a geographic area where there is oppression or persecution. Autonomy came into force when the UN Charter was ratified in 1945, and became a part of international law and diplomacy. Since most countries in the world have now ratified the Charter, they are bound by the treaty and must accept minority autonomy within their borders.
After World War II, former European colonies become independent states. They were then integrated into larger international frameworks such, UN. Autonomy in practice has proven most effective in decolonization movements. Can a people who have not accepted the constitution, which has been forced incorporated in one state, right of self-determination? yes they can, if their conditions were not met and hence were deceived. It was exactly what happened to Ogaden.
Without concrete agreements in the decolonization process that dictates an eventual recovery of past national borders or clear guidelines for the division of power is the weaker teams in the state are in danger of being oppressed and persecuted. The UN, however, has determined that during the decolonization process are no alternatives to self-determination principle. In plain language this means that Ethiopia must accept the Ogaden people have the right to self-determination. Somalis in Ogaden is a nation – based on common ethnicity, culture, language, religion, traditional settlement area and history. They therefore have the right to form their own state.
Several attempts over a 20-year period in which to negotiate new solution that would end the armed struggle between Ethiopia and Ogaden were all unsuccessful. Any future peace negotiations must give Ogaden right to hold a referendum on where the area to secede from Ethiopia and become a separate country. Referendum must be carried these are basic public requirements and must be honored.
Ogaden people have organized a civil administration, with education and health systems judiciary, in the Ogaden. They had checkpoints where a foreign passport carrier is stamped with the seal of Ogaden, where the people are taxed. International observers agreed that in contrast to the Ethiopian government, the Ogaden had an effective system without corruption from 1991 to 1994.
Why is self-determination so important?
History shows that self-determination may be the way to resolve the long-running, bitter and violent conflict. The peace process in southern Sudan is a recent example. Kenya with UN backs broker a solution that was ultimately a success. It built on a high degree of self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan.
Conditions in Southern Sudan have important similarities with the Ogaden area of Ethiopia, Active communities build their own institutions for education, health and economic development. Lasting peace requires economically and socially sustainable communities. Development of the people and natural resources of a country, requires mobilization of own resources. Only leaders who are coming from and have the confidence of the local population can succeed in this difficult and long work namely ONLF.