Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Press Release
March 24, 2022
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the East Africa Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-EARO) are jointly organizing a Consultation Meeting from March 24 to 25, 2022 with key government representatives, civil society organizations, United Nations agencies, Regional Organisations, academia, and continental experts on Transitional Justice in Ethiopia including the Right to Truth. The Meeting also marks the International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, which has been observed each year on March 24 since 2010.
The Consultation Meeting forms part of the support by EHRC and OHCHR towards the effective, coordinated, and timely implementation of the recommendations from their Joint Investigation Report on Tigray, particularly the recommendations related to transitional justice. The Joint Investigation Report, which was published on November 3, 2021, and forwarded a total of 59 tailored recommendations addressed to the warring parties, international community, and bilateral and multilateral partners, among which was the establishment of a “human right compliant, holistic and victim-centred transitional justice mechanism”.
The objective of the Consultation Meeting is to enhance stakeholders’ understanding of transitional justice components including the right to the truth, share experiences from other countries on transitional justice, and discuss the possible development of a transitional justice policy/framework in Ethiopia, among others.
In relation to the right to truth, EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele stated in his opening remarks that “during the course of the joint investigation, victims informed the investigation team that they wanted to know the truth about their loved ones and hear acknowledgment from all sides of the conflict for violations and abuses against them”. He also expressed “solidarity and support to all victims of human rights abuses and violations” and underscored the EHRC’s strong commitment to “continue documenting and exposing the truth and to work towards ensuring justice for victims of human rights violations everywhere in Ethiopia”.
Marcel Clement Akpovo, OHCHR-EARO Regional Representative also “recognized the thousands of women, men and children who have suffered and continue to suffer tremendously because of the conflict and those who are standing steadfast in the face of violence and promote tolerance, reconciliation and dialogue…”. He also emphasized that different countries have opted for various approaches to their vision of justice and that Ethiopia must take cognizance of its rich cultural, political and religious traditions while keeping the needs of victims in mind.
In a pre-recorded video message, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Fabián Salvioli, stated that transitional justice processes must adhere to international human rights standards, including the adoption a victim-centred approach and mainstreaming of gender perspectives. He also emphasized that any serious transitional justice process must ensure that all five pillars, namely, right to truth, right to justice, reparations, guarantees of non-recurrences and memorialization, must complement each other. Finally, the Special Rapporteur also expressed his willingness to provide technical assistance to facilitate transitional justice processes in Ethiopia.
The Consultation Meeting is expected to be one of a series of consultations on a possible transitional justice framework in Ethiopia as the country takes positive steps towards the restoration of peace through endeavours such as the National Dialogue Commission. In view of this, the EHRC calls on the full support of all stakeholders for the implementation of a genuinely inclusive reconciliation process.
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