ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been re-accredited with “A” Status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) in recognition for its efforts to promote and protect human rights in the challenging contex.
The Institution announced the re-accreditation on Tuesday following a rigorous review process of the commission’s application during the GANHRI’S Sub-Committee on Accreditation last session, held from 18 to 29 October 2021.
In a statement, the GANHRI commended EHRC for “its efforts to promote and protect human rights in the challenging context in which it operates, including its efforts to address identified shortcomings” found during the last review held in Nov 2013.
GANHRI is a global network of 118 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) that promotes the establishment and strengthening of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in conformity with the Principles Relating to the Status of National Institutions, also nown as the Paris Principles.
Adopted by the General Assembly of the UN in 1993, the Paris Principles serve as the internationally agreed benchmark for assessing the credibility of NHRIs.
The Paris Principles require NHRIs to be independent in law, membership, operations, policy and control of resources.
Other review criteria include broadness in mandate and function, pluralism in composition, adequacy of resources and powers, cooperative methods, and engagement with international and regional bodies.
The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat for GANHRI while the Sub-Committee on Accreditation is an independent body responsible for making recommendations on accreditation under the auspices of OHCHR.
“A Testament of Global Recognition”
Since 2019, the EHRC has initiated institutional reform processes that have improved its organizational and operational effectiveness.
The ammended Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Establishment Proclamation has also guaranteed the operational and financial independence of the EHRC, while expanding its mandate to include crucial powers such as monitoring the human rights situation during election periods and states of emergency and visiting and monitoring places of detention without prior notice.
Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele welcomed the announcement as a milestone, noting the invaluable contribution of EHRC’s staff members in the reform process and in executing its mandate, in the current difficult context.
“The upgrading from the ‘B’ status which EHRC held since November 2013 to ‘A’ status is testament to global recognition of EHRC as an independent and effective national human rights institution fully compliant with global standards” he added.
As an NHRI with “A” Status, the Commission now has independent participation rights at the UN’s Human Rights Council, its subsidiary bodies and some General Assembly bodies and mechanisms.
The Commission is also eligible for full membership of GANHRI, including the right to vote and hold governance positions.