Freedom of Waaqeffannaa Religion in Ethiopia post 1991

Bedassa Gebissa Aga*

                                                       *Lecturer of Human Rights at Governance Department of Wollegga University, Ethiopia


This study explores the current practical application of religious freedom to Waaqeffannaa or Oromo indigenous religion in Ethiopia. It looks into factors and actors hindering the practical application of religious freedom to Waaqeffannaa. To gather an in-depth understanding of why and how the problem of the study emerged, it employs the qualitative approach. Data was hence collected through interview, focused group discussions, personal observation and document analysis.

Freedom of Waaqeffannaa religion was thoroughly discussed within the framework of various international and regional human rights instruments and Ethiopian legal system. In the analysis, the reality and practical application of religious freedom to Waaqeffannaa was discussed with adherents of the religion at the study areas and some governmental officials at different levels. The analysis emphasizes the current status of Waaqeffannaa, the Waaqeffataas’ freedom to worship and access to land to build religious shrines and cemeteries. The interviews revealed that currently, post 2013, Waaqeffannaa is restored to the status of a religion.

Although, its adherents have limited freedom to worship, access to land for building galmoota (holy places) and hujuba (cemetery), they enjoy full freedom of religion on par with the dominant religions in the country. Therefore, the government is expected to pursue the religious equality to achieve the full realization of all human rights in the country. Government officials at various levels of administration have an obligation to serve the public in an accountable and transparent manner in order to develop the public trust. Freedom to equal opportunity to take part in and benefit from public resources, like land and public media, has to be respected to the adherents of indigenous religion.

Full Article: Freedom of Waaqeffannaa Religion in Ethiopia post