The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) participated in the public session of the 40th Ordinary Session of African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) held in Maseru, The Kingdom of Lesotho from November 23 -26, 2022. EHRC was represented by its Commissioner for Women’s and Children’s Rights, Meskerem Geset.

The ACERWC, established under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to promote and implement the rights of children in Africa, holds its ordinary sessions in the presence of State Parties, NHRIs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders.

The 40th session dedicated agenda items for NHRIs statements as well as for a discussion on NHRIs and Children’s Rights. It is the first time NHRIs have engaged formally with the Committee under Affiliate Status. EHRC is one of the two African NHRIs, together with the Human Rights Commission of Cameroon, that has affiliate status with ACERWC and in the forefront of engaging with the Committee during this particular session.

The ordinary session ’s agenda included presentations of various studies, draft general comments and guidelines, consideration of state reports and a Day of General Discussion with children on the digital world and a discussion on the theme of the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2023.

On November 23, Commissioner Meskerem Geset presented EHRC’s statement on the human rights situation of children in Ethiopia and shared recommendations to the Committee on how to support the protection of children’s rights in Ethiopia. EHRC also made interventions on thematic discussions on children with disabilities, children’s rights and climate change, digital environment and children’s rights, NHRIs and children’s rights held during 23 -26 November 2022.

EHRC also convened a side meeting with Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) and its members present at the session to discuss strengthening NHRIs engagement in ACERWC’s work and sessions. The meeting led by Commissioner Meskere Geset , included the President of Cameroon Human Rights Commission, James Mauangue Kobila, a representative of Malawi Human Rights Commission, Miko Mmprembe, NANHRI representative, Debora Nyokabi and Secretariat of ACERWC. Concrete action points on how to enhance the participation of African NHRIs in the work of the ACERWC, the possibility of holding a NHRIs Forum in the next session of the Committee and also activating the NANHRI Working Group on Rights and Welfare of the Child have been explored.

Moreover, EHRC’s delegation undertook bilateral engagements with Committee members including Hon. Robert Doya Nanima, Member of the Committee and Special Rapporteur on Children in Armed Conflict and Hon. Hermine Gatsing Kembo, member of the Committee and the Country Rapporteur for Ethiopia. The Committee members emphasized on the importance of closer engagement between the EHRC and the Committee. They also stressed on the need for a constructive dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia and other stakeholders on relevant child rights issues including the situation of children affected by armed conflict and justice for conflict related violence against children.