Over the past three years, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has been monitoring, investigating, and documenting grave human rights violations in the country, and presenting clear and actionable recommendations based on its findings. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Report on Tigray and the Afar and Amhara Report are notable investigation reports documenting serious international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law violations that could amount to international crimes, committed in the context of the conflict in Northern Ethiopia.
Chief Commissioner, Dr. Daniel Bekele, said that “Ethiopia is faced with multifaceted socio-economic challenges, identity-based violent conflicts which often result in grave violations, and historical grievances that remain unaddressed, necessitating the design and implementation of a genuine, human rights compliant, victim-centred, inclusive, and participatory transitional justice policy.” He added that “transitional justice is essential to address the root causes of systemic human rights violations, to heal wounds of past abuses, and to consolidate a viable path towards sustainable peace and reconciliation.”
In this regard, EHRC welcomes the launch of nationwide public consultations on transitional justice policy options in Ethiopia, which marks an essential step in the implementation of Article 10 (3) of the Agreement for Lasting Peace and Cessation of Hostilities signed by the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Peoples’ Liberation Front on November 02, 2022, regarding a comprehensive national transitional justice policy aimed at accountability, ascertaining the truth, redress for victims, reconciliation, and healing.
It also aligns with the recommendation of the EHRC/OHCHR Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Report on Tigray released on November 03, 2021 which called on “the country to embark on a human rights compliant, holistic, and victim-centred transitional justice mechanism for crimes committed during the Tigray conflict including accountability for past crimes.
EHRC is further encouraged by other positive measures being taken by the Government, including the establishment of a Working Group of Independent Experts on Transitional Justice to advise and coordinate the transitional justice process, the preparation of a green paper with transitional justice policy options for public feedback, and the roadmap which lays down the standards and principles to be followed in the public consultations. EHRC commends these initiatives and urges the federal and regional governments to continue this commitment and momentum.
EHRC calls on all Ethiopians, civil society organizations, the media, traditional and religious leaders, the United Nations, the African Union, sub-regional organizations, and the international community to support and coordinate efforts towards the proper designing and effective implementation of the transitional justice policy for Ethiopia.
Dr. Daniel stated that “EHRC will continue to work in partnership with the Government and all stakeholders to ensure that applicable principles—such as inclusiveness, meaningful participation, gender-sensitivity, victim-centeredness, transparency, and national ownership—are integrated into the consultation process, and the design and implementation of transitional justice policy.” The Commission will also continue to provide advisory and technical support to advance a genuine transitional justice process in Ethiopia.