The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) organized a half-day stakeholders’ consultation on access to justice for refugees and asylum seekers in Gambella region on April 19, 2024. The workshop brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in the region, including law enforcement bodies, prison administrations, justice bureaus, local and international non-governmental organizations. Additionally, federal institutions, such as Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), the Ethiopian Federal Police Commission along with UN agencies and International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) participated in the consultation.

The consultation aimed to share EHRC’s monitoring findings regarding access to justice for refugees and asylum seekers in Gambella region and discuss the implementation of recommendations forwarded by the Commission. Furthermore, the consultation intended to provide a platform to share experiences and activities of stakeholders working in this field.

Participants of the consultation

The monitoring findings revealed key concerns encountered by refugees and asylum seekers in exercising their right of access to justice and conditions of detention in prisons and other facilities in the region. The monitoring report also presented a list of recommendations aimed at addressing the challenges.

EHRC’s Deputy Chief Commissioner, Rakeb Messele

While acknowledging the identified challenges, participants emphasized that funding constraint and security situations remain the major barriers that prevent equitable access to justice for refugees and asylum seekers in the region.

Surafel Dinkalem, Human Rights Officer, DRIM, EHRC

The event showcased EHRC’s mandate and key activities in advocating for protection and promotion of refugees and asylum seekers’ rights. Enguday Meskele, Director of Refugees, IDPs and Migrants’ Rights Department at EHRC, emphasised the need for ensuring refugees’ and asylum seekers’ access to justice. She underscored the critical importance of implementing recommendations forwarded by the Commission and the need for strengthening collaboration among stakeholders to tackle the multifaceted challenges impeding their access to justice.