Here you can find full document in PDF: AHRE Joint UPR Submission on Ethiopia

 

  1. Introduction

 

  • CIVICUS is a global alliance of civil society organisations (CSOs) and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. Founded in 1993, CIVICUS has members in more than 170 countries.

 

  • The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) is a non-governmental, non-partisan and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of human rights in Ethiopia. AHRE is registered and based in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is an independent, non-profit organisation that champions press freedom across the world. Founded in 1981, CPJ campaigns for the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.

 

  • DefendDefenders (The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) is a regional CSO which seeks to strengthen the work of human rights defenders throughout the East and Horn of Africa.

 

  • PEN International is an international NGO founded in 1921 with PEN centres in over 100 countries. PEN works to defend freedom of expression and writers at risk around the world.

 

  • Article 19 was founded in 1987 and defends freedom of expression and information worldwide, including in 14 Eastern African countries through a Kenya-based office.

 

  • Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organisations (CERO) is a consortium of five Ethiopian charities working on advocacy of human rights and democratic governance.

 

  • Access Now is an international organisation that works to defend and extend digital rights of users globally, including through its digital security helpline.

  • In this submission, the authors examine the Government of Ethiopia’s (GoE) compliance with its international human rights obligations to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society. Specifically, we analyse the GoE’s fulfilment of the rights to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, and unwarranted restrictions on HRDs since its previous UPR examination in 2014. To this end, we assess Ethiopia’s implementation of recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle relating to these issues and provide a number of specific, action-orientated follow-up recommendations.

 

  • In February 2018, Ethiopia underwent a political transition with the resignation of former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the appointment of Dr. Abiy Ahmed. This transition came with some positive changes, including the lifting of the February 2018 State of Emergency (SoE) and the release of thousands of political prisoners.[1] Prime Minister Abiy pledged various reforms, including amendments to restrictive legislation such as the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, Civil Society Proclamation and Mass Media Proclamation.[2]

 

  • During the 2nd UPR cycle, the GoE received 49 recommendations relating to the space for civil society (civic space). Of these recommendations, 26 were accepted and 23 were noted. An evaluation of a range of legal sources and human rights documentation addressed in subsequent sections of this submission demonstrate that the GoE has fully implemented only one recommendation relating to civic space, partially implemented 13 and failed to implement 35. While the government recently committed to amending the restrictive legislative framework alongside releasing large numbers of political prisoners, these recommendations were documented as ‘partially implemented’ because at the time of writing, the restrictive legal framework remains in place. Acute implementation gaps were found regarding civic space and issues relating to the rights to the freedoms of association and peaceful assembly.

 

  • Section 2 examines Ethiopia’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international standards concerning the freedom of association.
  • Section 3 examines Ethiopia’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international standards related to the protection of HRDs, civil society activists and journalists.
  • Section 4 examines Ethiopia’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international standards concerning the freedom of expression, independence of the media and access to information.
  • Section 5 examines Ethiopia’s implementation of UPR recommendations and compliance with international standards related to the freedom of peaceful assembly.
  • Section 6 contains recommendations to address the concerns raised and to advance implementation of recommendations under the 2nd
  • An annex on implementation of 2nd cycle UPR recommendations related to civic space can be found in Section 7.

 

 

 

 

[1] ‘Ethiopia lifts state of emergency imposed in February’, Al Jazeera, 5 June 2018, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/ethiopia-lifts-state-emergency-imposed-february-180605081810759.html.

[2] ‘Ethiopia PM pledges to reform security sector and revisit repressive laws’, Africa News, 15 April 2018 http://www.africanews.com/2018/04/15/ethiopia-pm-pledges-to-reform-security-sector-and-revisit-repressive-laws.

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