Legal Implications of Inscribing the Oromo Gadaa System (OGS) in United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) List of Intangible Heritage

In: The African Review
Firdissa Jebessa Aga Associate Professor; Institute of Educational Research, Addis Ababa University Oromia, 1176 Ethiopia

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Gadaa, an indigenous governance system of the Oromo, has been inscribed by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. The purpose of the study was, therefore, to assess the inherent legal implications within the inscription. A qualitative approach was used to generate data from interviews and literatures. The findings have shown that the designations given by the Federal Proclamation are too broad to be applicable – and are alien – to the peculiarities of the OGS. No lifelike efforts are being witnessed for putting in place legal grounds following the inscription. There is a need for reinvigorating the values and principles inherent within the OGS-guaranteeing authentic peaceful and stable political, administrative, economic, social and cultural (co)existence of the Oromo in the Continent. The Oromo people, headed by Abbaa Gadaa and the Oromia National Regional State, also should request UNESCO to rename the OGS instituting both intangible and tangible World Heritage of Humanity.

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