The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in collaboration with the Gambella Regional State organised a workshop on transitional justice for members of the Region’s State Council and higher officials from May 9 – 10, 2024 in Gambella city.

The workshop aimed to address the critical need for deepened knowledge and understanding about transitional justice concepts, principles and components. The event highlighted Ethiopia’s experience with transitional justice, showcasing both previous efforts and recent initiatives. EHRC presented its work on transitional justice, including the findings and recommendations of the joint EHRC and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights report on transitional justice.

The workshop also created the opportunity to unpack and sensitise participants on the recently adopted National Transitional Justice Policy, with a particular emphasis on the role of regional states. The workshop featured interactive sessions and discussions, allowing participants to delve deeper into the complexities of the transitional justice process. A representative of the Ministry of Justice highlighted the respective roles of federal and regional state actors, the policy’s scope and opportunities for engagement.

In her opening remarks, Banchiayehu Dingeta, Speaker of the Gambella Regional State Council, emphasised the transformative potential of transitional justice, stating that “when properly implemented, transitional justice lays the groundwork for long-term peace, allowing societies to focus on growth and development.” The Speaker emphasised the importance of collaboration among the political leadership, academia, media and society at large to ensure the success of transitional justice, adding that their shared commitment is critical to protecting human rights, upholding the rule of law and ensuring accountability.

In his closing remarks, Ojulu Odel, Gambella Regional State Council Office Head, expressed appreciation to the organisers of the workshop and reaffirmed the region’s commitment to promoting a culture of justice, healing and reconciliation.

Albab Tesfaye, the Director of the Office of the Chief Commissioner at EHRC, appreciated the commitment exhibited by the Gambella regional state, underlining that the constructive engagement and critical feedback by the region’s officials on the transitional justice policy and its implementation, is one that should be replicated by officials in the other regions. She stated that the effective implementation of transitional justice initiatives hinges on the unwavering commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders, including Ethiopia’s regional state actors.

The workshop concluded with a look ahead to the next steps in Ethiopia’s transitional justice process, including discussions on how EHRC can assist regional authorities in actively carrying out their roles as envisioned in the Transitional Justice Policy.