The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is participating at the Sixth African Union (AU)/Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) Policy Dialogue on the State of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Africa, which is taking place at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from May 15 – 17, 2023. The Policy Forum brings together NHRIs from across Africa, representatives of AU Member States, relevant AU organs and departments, civil society and human rights defenders’ networks, relevant United Nations bodies, development partners, academicians and the media.

The 2023 NANHRI/AU Policy Dialogue is being organized at an important milestone for the AU (formerly Organisation of African Unity) which will celebrate its 60th anniversary on May 25, 2023. It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and 30 years since the establishment of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).  46 African countries have established NHRIs, of which 28 have attained A status in full compliance with the internationally accepted Paris Principles on the Status of National Institutions. The Sixth Policy Dialogue aims to take stock of the status of African NHRIs including a reflection on the achievements and challenges faced towards the attainment of A status, as well as operational challenges faced by fully compliant NHRIs in the execution of their mandates.

The Policy Dialogue further aims to enhance understanding of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its implications on human rights, and to clarify stakeholders’ roles particularly NHRIs in ensuring a human rights-based approach in the process of trade liberalization. NHRIs which are the cornerstone of the national human rights protection system have a crucial role to play in supporting human rights integration in AfCFTA and in monitoring its impact on human rights.

EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele delivered welcoming remarks at the opening session of the forum, and EHRC will also actively engage in various sessions of the forum, over the next three days.