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For many people, access to land is necessary to realizing human rights. Although not clearly recognized in international human rights law, the right to land might be inferred from many of its provisions. In the Ethiopian context, the Constitution guarantees access to land. However, this right is being eroded because of the government’s measures to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for land through expropriation and the allocation of ‘vacant’ land. This article argues the former gives the government extensive power while the latter neglects traditional communal landholding system. This desk research based on literature review, legal analysis and secondary data, demonstrates how the government’s actions are impinging on the human rights of the people in the rural areas and recommends reform in the land-tenure system as well as the harmonization of the subsidiary expropriation laws through the Constitution.

In: African Journal of Legal Studies