From 4 to 6 July 2022, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) organized a Consultative Meeting on Monitoring and Implementing the Recommendations of United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Meeting brought together over 70 participants from various State and non-State entities, including representatives of the House of Peoples’ Representatives, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Ministry of Planning and Development, civil society organisations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and other stakeholders. 

The overall objective of the Consultative Meeting was to enhance understanding about the existing national framework for reporting, follow up and implementation; to build capacity on monitoring and implementing the recommendations of treaty bodies and the UPR; and to strengthen collaboration and coordination among stakeholders to improve their implementation and monitoring role. In her opening remarks, the Commissioner for Disability Rights and the Rights of Older Persons, Rigbe Gebrehawaria, stressed that “coordination of efforts among stakeholders is necessary to ensure effective implementation of treaty body and UPR recommendations,” noting that “such consultative meetings provide an opportunity to strengthen coordination and collaboration.”

The Meeting examined the National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow up (NMRF) in Ethiopia, including its working methods, strengths, gaps, and made recommendations. Positive aspects highlighted include the establishment of a standing inter-ministerial NMRF to coordinate reporting and monitoring of implementation, and the practice of adopting a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) to support and coordinate implementation. Identified challenges include insufficient funds to monitor or implement recommendations; weak collaboration and coordination between reporting Ministries and implementing Ministries; inadequate and unreliable data for reporting and the absence of a centralised national database to track implementation of recommendations; and limited knowledge of stakeholders on their roles and responsibilities on implementation. The prolonged delay in the adoption of the third NHRAP was also raised as a serious concern with adverse implications on implementation.

The Meeting also assessed the steps taken by concerned Ministries and other actors to implement recommendations related to social, economic, and cultural rights; the rights of women and children; and the rights of persons with disabilities and older persons. A key concern raised in relation to the implementation of recommendations on economic, social, and cultural rights was the absence of these rights in the current draft NHRAP and its implication on effective implementation and follow-up. It was agreed that it is important to incorporate these rights in sectorial and institutional plans, increase resource allocation, enhance collaboration, and scale up efforts to raise awareness.

Regarding the implementation of recommendations related to the rights of women and children, it was noted that lack of collaboration among relevant stakeholders was the main challenge, and the Meeting therefore agreed to improve coordination on reporting, follow- up, and implementation. Concerning the implementation of recommendations on the rights of older persons and persons with disabilities, some of the major barriers include budget limitations, limited engagement of CSOs and international non-governmental organisations, limited awareness, delays in State reporting, poor statistics, and failure to give equal attention to all types of disabilities. The Meeting agreed that these issues need to be addressed, and that several institutions should do accessibility audit and take necessary measures towards inclusion.

Commissioner Rigbe Gebrehawaria closed the meeting by thanking all stakeholders for their active participation, by calling on stakeholders “to follow through on their commitments” and reiterating “EHRC’s continued support to state bodies and civil society for the effective implementation and monitoring of treaty body and UPR recommendations”.