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EHRC carries out first national inquiry

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Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) conducts the first national inquiry in Ethiopia to investigate and monitor violation of human rights and rights of persons deprived of their liberty.
On February 17, 2022 the commission organized a consultative meeting with federal and regional stake holders, including police commissioners, representatives of the judiciary, and other pertinent guests. During the interactive meeting, the commission reached agreements to work in partnership with relevant stakeholders to conduct a national investigation.
“National inquiries address the situation of human rights violations that effects the entire country or a significant part of it. Thus, the national inquiry is a good means in handling historical partners of human rights violation including practices that have become embedded over many years or decades in the history and culture of the country. To this end, EHRC has gathered input from stakeholders to raise awareness on its potential role in conducting a national investigation into human rights abuse,” said Rakeb Melese, deputy commissioner of EHRC.
As she explained, national investigations are a complex way of discussing in depth, the issues of human rights abuses of many people (children, women, and people with disabilities), whether they are complex or repetitive, nationally or locally.
“In particular, it provides an opportunity to investigate serious human rights violations that are difficult to investigate in a single institution. National investigations also highlight low-level human and political recognition of human rights issues,” expounded the deputy commissioner.
During the national inquiry, stakeholders participated openly, whilst the media drew attention to complex and systematic discussions on complex human rights abuses. Experience in other countries were shown on the meeting which revealed that participation in the national inquiry helps to create the capacity for policy-making by attracting political attention.
It was stated at the meeting that the first round of national investigations, which will focus on people who have been deprived of their liberty, will be funded by the European Commission and are part of a program to reform the administration of criminal justice. The project is said to be implemented for three years through a grant of 15 million euros from the European Union (EU).
“National inquiry has various dimensions such as accountability, education on human rights and so on. Moreover, it draws political attention to issues and promotes pressure for adequate response and changes in public policy and practice,” highlighted Rakeb, adding, “the project will strengthen the commission’s capacity to play a significant role in promoting and protecting human rights for all by contributing to the creation and nurturing of a vibrant civic space conducive for exercise of democracy and civil freedoms.”
In addition to the commission, other relevant ministerial offices are also expected to start implementing the project in partnership with the EU.

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