June 5, 2022
On June 2, 2022 the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) organized a Follow up Meeting on the Role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Promoting and Monitoring Implementation of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Recommendations.
The UPR is a State-driven, cooperative, and interactive process which provides an opportunity for all United Nations (UN) Member States to report on measures taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and comply with their human rights obligations. The review process is followed by the adoption of recommendations intended to address identified gaps or shortcomings. Ethiopia participated in three UPR cycles (2009, 2016, and 2019). During Ethiopia’s last review, 327 recommendations were issued from 132 States, of which Ethiopia accepted 270 and noted 57.
From 27 to 28 October 2021, EHRC and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a training for CSOs on monitoring implementation of the UPR recommendations and UN treaty body concluding observations. The objective of the Follow up Meeting was to further enhance the capacity of CSOs in monitoring the implementation of the UPR recommendations and hear from CSOs on the measures they have taken to monitor implementation.
In her opening remarks, the Commissioner for Women’s and Children’s Rights, Meskerem Geset, underscored that “while the State has the primary responsibility to report on the implementation of recommendations, CSOs are uniquely placed to report on their observations on implementation by the State.” She added that “CSOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) serve the purpose of bridging the gap between the State, and international and regional human rights mechanisms by providing credible information on the human rights situation in their countries.”
Reflecting on the engagement of Ethiopian CSOs with the UPR, it was noted that during the third cycle of review in 2019, there was a coordinated effort by the CSOs resulting in the submission of ten reports. Even though CSOs face multiple challenges, by exploiting the favorable conditions that exist for Ethiopian CSOs in recent years following the amendment of the CSOs Proclamation, it was stated CSOs should increase their contribution by engaging with international and regional human rights mechanisms.
In addition, it was recommended that Ethiopian CSOs utilize existing UPR databases and work closely with institutions that can provide support such as the EHRC, OHCHR, and the National Human Rights Action Plan Secretariat. The Meeting devised a raw plan for CSOs to report on the implementation of UPR recommendations with deliverables and timelines.
In her closing remarks, Albab Tesfaye, Director of the Office of the Chief Commissioner at EHRC said, “EHRC will continue to assist Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations to monitor the implementation of UPR recommendations and work with international and regional human rights organizations”.