Ethiopian CSOs Role in Prompting Human Rights Assessed

ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission or EHRC organized a meeting on the role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in promoting and monitoring implementation of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations.

The UPR is a State-driven process which provides an opportunity for all UN member states to report on measures taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and comply with their human rights obligations. 

The review process is followed by the adoption of recommendations intended to address identified gaps or shortcomings. 

Ethiopia participated in three UPR cycles in 2009, 2016, and 2019. During the last review, 327 recommendations were issued from 132 States, of which Ethiopia accepted 270 and noted 57.

The objective of the latest follow-up meeting was to further enhance the capacity of CSOs in monitoring the implementation of the UPR recommendations, said EHRC in a statement on Sunday.

The meeting also heard from civil society organizations on the measures they have taken to monitor implementation, it added.

In her opening remarks Thursday, the Commissioner for Women’s and Children’s Rights,Meskerem Geset underscored that CSOs are uniquely placed to report on their observations on implementation of recommendations. 

“CSOs and National Human Rights Institutions serve the purpose of bridging the gap between the State, and international and regional human rights mechanisms by providing credible information on the human rights situation in their countries,” she said.

Reflecting on the engagement of Ethiopian CSOs with the UPR, it was noted that during the third cycle of review in 2019, there was a coordinated effort by the CSOs resulting in the submission of ten reports, according to the Commission. 

Even though CSOs face multiple challenges, it was stated CSOs should increase their contribution by engaging with international and regional human rights mechanisms by exploiting the favorable conditions created following the amendment of the CSOs Proclamation recently.

In addition, it was recommended that Ethiopian civil society organizations utilize existing UPR databases and work closely with institutions that can provide support such as the EHRC, OHCHR, and the National Human Rights Action Plan Secretariat. 

The Meeting devised a raw plan for CSOs to report on the implementation of UPR recommendations with deliverables and timelines.

“EHRC will continue to assist Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations to monitor the implementation of UPR recommendations and work with international and regional human rights organizations,” said Albab Tesfaye, Director of the Office of the Chief Commissioner at EHRC.