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Despite decades of nation-building exercise, ethnic-based claims for substantive equality, justice and equitable political inclusion and socio-economic order continue to result in communal rivalries. These are claims that define and represent the issue of minorities in Africa, of which these conflicts are manifestations. Although ethnic conflicts in Africa have been a subject of a large number of studies, the potential and role of norms on minority rights to address claims that ethno-cultural groups raise has not received the attention it deserves.
Based on materials from normative political theory and international human rights law and using an empirical and prescriptive analysis, this book defends a robust system of minority rights built around culture, equality and self-determination. This is employed to elaborate an adequate constitutional design providing policy frameworks (multilingual language policy, recognition and affirmation of cultural diversity,), structures (that ensure just representation and participation of members of all groups) and norms (that guarantee substantive equality and the rights to language, religion and culture). The study then proffers two cases studies (South Africa and Ethiopia) to ascertain how such constitutional design might be translated into actual policy frameworks, institutions and norms.