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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Ethiopia
Represented by 23-member, delegation headed by H.E. Mr. Birhane GEBRE-KRISTOS, State Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Ethiopia page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Namibia.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Ethiopia page on the UPR Extranet **)

  • Ethiopia has made major strides in the promotion and protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and has registered double digit growth for the last ten years as a result of the development centred, pro-poor and inclusive national policies and strategies implemented;
  • The Government adopted the first National Human Rights Action Plan aimed at advancing the respect, protection and promotion human rights in the country and intended to develop a comprehensive structural mechanism to the fulfilment of human and democratic rights in Ethiopia;
  • The Government also established a Ministerial Steering Committee for the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan where the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission played a pivotal role in monitoring and evaluation the implementation of the Action Plan;
  • The Proclamation on Charities and Societies ensured the realization of the right to freedom of association in Ethiopia and provided a conducive environment for the growth and development of charities and societies in the country; there were 3,078 charities and societies operating in Ethiopia;
  • The Government had a zero tolerance against any form of torture and has put in place measures to provide protection of the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty, including through the adoption of Prison Administration Proclamation providing for the  humane treatment of prisoners;
  • The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission actively monitored prison conditions and has provided capacity building training to members of the police and prison officers;
  • Freedom of expression was guaranteed in Ethiopia through the Freedom of Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation;  
  • Ethiopia also took several measures to promote and protect the rights of women and ensure equal participation of women in political affairs, economic and social empowerment, ownership of property, inheritance and rights over resources including land;
  • Various measures have been taken to combat harmful traditional practices including female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriages through national strategies and action plans;
  • The Government was determined to ensure that the fifth national elections to be held in May 2015 were free, fair and democratic.  The National Election Board and the Judiciary have developed innovative systems in handling complaints during elections;
  • Ethiopia pursued rights based approaches to development with the aim of reducing poverty, transforming the economy through broad based, inclusive, accelerated and sustainable economic growth; about one million people have been lifted out of poverty in 2012/2013;  investments have also been made in expanding primary, secondary and tertiary education;
  • Since the first UPR, Ethiopia ratified the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the CRC OPs on children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution/pornography.

Participants

In total 113 States participated in the dialogue: 40 HRC members and 73 observers  (Statements available on Ethiopia page on the UPR Extranet **).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The adoption of the National Human Rights Action Plan;
  • Measures taken to improve health care and education in the country and to reduce poverty;
  • The ratification of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • The National Action Plan on Gender and Development;
  • Steps taken to address violence against women;
  • Ethiopia’s role in hosting of a large number of refugees.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Measures to ensure civil society was able to operate freely in the country and without restrictions;
  • Steps to guarantee civil and political rights and the freedom of opinion, expression and assembly;
  • Efforts to combat terrorism and the Anti-Terrorism proclamation;
  • Plans to improve conditions in detention facilities and allow for their international monitoring;
  • Measures taken to  combat female genital mutilation and other harmful, traditional practise;
  • Steps taken to provide quality health care, particularly for people living in rural areas.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Ethiopia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To amend the Charities and Societies Proclamation to facilitate the effective operation and financing of NGOs and ensure it was in line with international standards; To enhance engagement with civil society groups registered in the country;
  • To ensure a safe and enabling environment of human rights defenders; To protect members of opposition groups, political activists and journalists exercising their freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly;
  • To guarantee civil and political rights of all persons and the freedom of opinion, expression and assembly; To remove any restrictions that hindered the implementation of the Freedom of the Mass Media and Access to Information Proclamation;
  • To continue taking steps to combat terrorism; To revise and strengthen the Anti-Terrorism proclamation and the 2008 Mass Media Proclamation to bring them in line with international human rights standards;
  • To establish a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing it; To provide a clear definition of torture in the Penal Code; To improve conditions in detention facilities; To ensure complaint mechanisms were in place for individuals concerning mistreatment by security and law enforcement authorities; to allow international monitors access detention facilities;
  • To ensure effective human rights training of law enforcement personnel, including on cases of torture and investigations; To respect and protect the right of all persons to due process of law;
  • To take measures to enable citizens to fully participate in the democratic process in advance of the 2015 elections; To extend a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures;
  • To accelerate efforts to combat female genital mutilation; To follow up on measures to combat force or early marriage; To continue to strengthen mechanism to combat human trafficking; To eradicate all forms of corporal punishment against children;
  • To take additional steps to combat discrimination against women; To enhance access to labour, education, health services; To enhance the participation of women in politics;
  • To protect and promote the rights of Ethiopians to practice their religious faith or beliefs; To enhance dialogue between different faith communities;
  • To ensure the provision of adequate and quality health care, particularly for people living in rural areas; To strengthen strategies and programmes to reduce poverty; To continue to provide free and accessible education to all citizens;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: OPCAT, the OP to the CRC on communication procedure, the CERD, the Rome Statute on the ICC, the CED, the CRMW, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa, ILO Convention 189 on domestic workers and the UNESCO Convention against discrimination in education.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Ethiopia is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 8 May 2014.

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
                       Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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