The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria organized a workshop on strengthening civil society’s engagement with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and their role in State Reporting on August 25, 2022. 

The overall objective of the workshop was to enhance the understanding of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) registered in Ethiopia to effectively engage and cooperate with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), with a particular focus on CSOs role in the state reporting process. The Workshop brought together participants from several civil society organisations working in Ethiopia, as well as experts from EHRC, the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria and Addis Ababa University.

The Workshop highlighted CSOs distinct role in advocacy for the timely submission of state reports and in monitoring the implementation of treaty bodies recommendations. The workshop familiarised participants with the requirements for shadow reporting, followed by a practical exercise on shadow report preparation.

In her opening remarks, EHRC’s Commissioner for Women’s and Children’s Rights, Meskerem Geset, stated that “CSOs have a pivotal role in providing credible and evidence-based information on Ethiopia’s human rights situation to international and regional human rights bodies.” She emphasised the need for coordination among the state, CSOs and EHRC in the preparation of state reports, underscoring the indispensable role for CSOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to also submit shadow or alternative reports to treaty bodies. Commissioner Meskerem advised CSOs registered in Ethiopia to seek observer status with the African Commission to improve their engagement.

The Workshop concluded by emphasizing the need for CSOs to use the opportunities available to them to engage more with African human rights bodies, to participate in state report preparation and submit shadow or alternative reports, to support in the dissemination and translation of treaty body recommendations, and to monitor state compliance with recommendations.