The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) Commissioner for Women’s and Children’s Rights, Meskerem Geset met with Najat Maalla M’jid, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children (UNSRSG-VAC) on September 8, 2022 and discussed common areas of concerns on children’s rights in Ethiopia.

Commissioner Meskerem expressed her appreciation to UNSRSG Maalla M’jid for the visit and prioritizing engagement with EHRC on its children’s rights agenda. After a brief general overview of EHRC’s mandates, institutional context and current activities on the promotion and protection of children’s rights, Commissioner Meskerem highlighted positive developments and major areas of concern in the advancement of children’s rights in Ethiopia.

The discussion covered challenges in the administration of criminal justice for children, child protection gaps in conflict and disaster affected areas, the recurrence as well as the gendered continuum of conflict and violence and lack of effective redress and recovery response for survivors/victims of violence. The issue of weakening of oversight and coordinated efforts against harmful practices, child trafficking and the shortage of up-to-date, comprehensive and disaggregated data on violence against children was also discussed.

Moreover, noting the marginalization of children from public deliberations, Commissioner Meskerem said, ‘‘establishing robust frameworks for children’s participation and accountability to them is an area extra effort is needed’’. 

SRSG Maalla M’jid on her part shared relevant insights and good practices on addressing some of the concerns and sustaining the positive developments. Drawing attention to the key principles of child participation, ‘‘It is important to nurture children’s meaningful participation and diverse representation in relevant platforms as well as in the Commission’s internal work process’’ SRSG Maalla M’jid said. In addition, she expressed her commitment to work in collaboration with EHRC and her office remains available to EHRC in its efforts to advance the child rights agenda in Ethiopia and within the UN system.