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The OHCHR East Africa Regional Office (EARO) supports the African Union in strengthening its institutional capacity to deliver on the human rights dimension of its work. The Regional Office also monitors human rights developments in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Tanzania and supports governments, civil society, UN Country Teams and other stakeholders to strengthen human rights protection systems and mainstream human rights in programmes. In support to countries in the sub-region, the Regional Office provides advice on women's rights and gender equality and on human rights treaty body commitments.

Note: Other countries in the sub-region are covered by OHCHR components within peace missions (Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan), by OHCHR country offices (Sudan, Uganda), by a human rights adviser in the office of the UN Resident Coordinator (Kenya).

Type of engagement Regional Office
Year established 2002
Field offices Addis Ababa
Number of staff 23
Annual budget needs US$ 8,091,000


  • In April 2018, the first AU-UN High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights was held in Addis Ababa, co-chaired by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the African Union Commission Chairperson. The discussions focussed on deepening existing cooperation on human rights and resulted in commitment from the AU to hold a regular annual High-Level Dialogue on Human Rights. The principals committed to develop a joint AU-UN Framework on Human Rights, the adoption of which would complete the set of joint frameworks with the AU, on the UN's three pillars on peace and security, development and human rights.
  • In April 2018, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ethiopia's Minister of Foreign Affairs signed a Host Country Agreement formally establishing the OHCHR Regional Office for Eastern Africa. Since the agreement, the office has commenced monitoring of the human rights situation in areas affected by mass displacement or violence. Additionally, the office is providing support to the government of Ethiopia on judicial and legal review.
  • Through its UPR project, EARO has created a Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) forum in Ethiopia, comprising women groups, youth and CSOs working on persons with disabilities. The CSOs forum has helped to strengthen working relationships with the government.
  • EARO supported the development and drafting of the AU 10-Year Human Rights Action Plan, which guides the work of the AU in its Decade for Human Rights 2016-2026. The decade and the Action Plan were the result of extensive support to the AU in 2016 – the African Year of Human Rights, with a particular emphasis on women's rights. To support the AU in its work on human rights, OHCHR has seconded two staff members to the AU Department of Political Affairs.
  • In 2018, the office embarked on a joint project with the World Bank on inclusion of human rights in the AU continental early warning system. The project is expected to expand to other areas and will strengthen cooperation between OHCHR and the Bank.
  • EARO prepared two public reports on women's rights and gender equality: Developments in Laws in Africa and Women's Rights in Africa. Link to all reports.
  • In January 2017, EARO launched a photo series of youth on women's rights and gender equality in the context of the AU Agenda 2063. The office invited young people on the continent to share their thoughts on human rights on the continent under the theme, the "The Africa I want". This allowed the youths to be acquainted with human rights and explore what it means for the continent and their aspirations.
  • EARO and the UN Economic Commission for Africa are working on the impact of businesses and trade on human rights, including digital trade and human rights. This collaboration resulted in a side event on Africa Goes Digital, Leaving No One Behind at the 2018 World Trade Forum and an ongoing work on production of a book on Digital Trade, Inclusivity and Human Rights with a pool of experts from the continent. Link to some details of this work.

Partners and Donors

Partners: African Union Commission, UNECA and UN Agencies.

Donors: EU, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars
  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Participation: Enhancing and protecting civic space and people's participation
  • Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention & protection of human rights in situations of conflict & insecurity
  • Prevention
  • Global constituency
  • Civic space
  • Inequalities
  • Corruption
  • People on the move
Spotlight populations
  • Women
  • Young people

Last reviewed: June 2020