Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Press Release
April 21, 2022
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (‘the Committee’ or ’ACERWC’) announced that it has granted affiliate status to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) during the Committee’s 39th Ordinary Session, held virtually from March 21 to 1 April 1, 2022. The ACERWC is a regional human rights body mandated to promote and protect the rights and welfare of the child pursuant to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, which was adopted by the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) in 1990 and ratified by Ethiopia in 2002.
EHRC is the second African national human rights institution (NHRI) to be granted affiliate status by the ACERWC following its application for the status. Following a review of its application submitted in January 2022, including all required documentation, the Committee found that EHRC met all the necessary criteria to be granted affiliate status.
Affiliate status with the ACERWC entitles EHRC to participate in sessions of the Committee including by presenting statements on the human rights situation of children in Ethiopia, propose agenda items, provide expert advice or briefings, submit alternative or shadow reports. It will also allow EHRC to have standing to directly work with the Committee in the discharge of any aspect of its mandate.
Since 2019, EHRC has initiated a series of institutional reform processes that have improved its organizational and operational effectiveness. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission Establishment (Amended) Proclamation No. 1224/2020 has also guaranteed the operational and financial independence of EHRC, while expanding its mandate to include crucial powers such as monitoring the human rights situation during election periods and states of emergency, and, visiting and monitoring places of detention without prior notice. EHRC is also in the process of implementing its revised organizational structure which primarily reinforces the Commission’s thematic work and expertise, including in the area of promoting and protecting children’s rights.
Having affiliate status with the ACERWC will enhance EHRC’s engagement with the Committee and strengthen the Commission’s work on the rights of the child. ACERWC stated that it “would like to closely work and enhance its collaboration with [the] Commission and looks forward to increased involvement of [EHRC] in the activities and works of the Committee as provided under Section 6 of the Guidelines for Granting Affiliate Status.”
EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele welcomed the announcement as “yet another milestone in the Commission’s engagement with regional and international human rights mechanisms”. He added that “the Commission will continue to strengthen its work on the protection and promotion of children’s rights in Ethiopia by actively engaging with ACERWC”.
It will also be recalled that in December 2021 the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions re-accredited EHRC with “A” Status following an assessment that it was in full compliance with the Paris Principles, thereby allowing the Commission to strengthen its engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms. The EHRC already has affiliate status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), and regularly reports on the human rights situation in Ethiopia during the public sessions of the ACHPR.
EHRC will continue to enhance its engagement and cooperation with regional and international human rights mechanisms.