Ethiopia reviewed at 6th session of UPR
Thursday, 10 December 2009 12:55


Ethiopia was reviewed by the UPR on the afternoon of 9 December 2009. Ambassador Fisseha Yimer, Special Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the national report. The statement in parts literally following the report. While the Ambassador did not respond in detail to advance written questions, he addressed most questions raised in the interactive dialogue. It was notable that Ethiopia did not refrain from touching on difficult issues, although the answers given dismissed most of the concerns expressed. The following main areas of concern where raised in the interactive dialogue:


  • Most concerns were expressed about the recently promulgated NGO law, which was feared to limit activities of civil society organisations working on human rights. It was recommended that the law be repealed or amended. While declaring to be open for reviewing the law at some point, Ambassador Fisseha Yimer felt that this would be premature, and that the recommendation to ‘repeal the law’ go too far.
  • Norway and Ireland, among others, expressed strong concern about attacks and harassments against human rights defenders, and recommended that the Government respond to all such allegations.
  • The new Ethiopian anti-terror legislation was criticised for infringing on freedom of expression and assembly. Ambassador Fisseha claimed that Ethiopia needs this legislation, which he said was in parts a ‘verbatim copies of highly developed countries’ anti-terrorist legislation’.
  • Significant attention was paid to the situation of children, particularly those most vulnerable. In this context, numerous recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child were reiterated by Germany and Slovenia. Sexual violence and female genital mutilation was of concern to many. While the efforts of Ethiopia in combating FGM was acknowledged, several States enquired about measures planned to build on this success. Austria made recommendations to adopt legislation against, prosecute those responsible for and provide remedies to victims of sexual violence.
  • Many comments and recommendations on the role of the international community in supporting Ethiopia focused on additional assistance the international community should provide. However, several States also encouraged Ethiopia to ensure access to all areas, in particular for humanitarian assistance. The USA recommended that the ICRC be given access to the Ogaden area.
  • Despite welcoming the current moratorium on the death penalty, several States recommended the formal abolition of the death penalty. Spain recommended the ratification the first optional protocol to the ICCPR.
  • Many States commented on the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, recommending that it be brought into compliance with the Paris Principles. Ghana recommended that Ethiopia strengthen its NHRI.
  • The Czech Republic recommended that Ethiopia decriminalise same sex conduct between consenting adults.
  • As usual, States also recommended that Ethiopia issue a standing invitation to special procedures and ratify outstanding human rights treaties.


On 11 December, the Working Group adopted the report on Ethiopia . Italy presented the draft report, saying that Ethiopia accepted 98 recommendations, and rejected 32. 12 recommendations were left pending until the adoption of the report by the Council in March 2010, when Ethiopia will provide additional answers. Italy introduced several amendments, including moving a recommendation to the list of accepted recommendations.


The rejected recommendations deal with the abolition of the death penalty, becoming party to the International Criminal Court, extending standing invitations to special procedures, decriminalising same-sex activity, and the contested ‘proclamation on charities and societies’ which restricts the work of human rights organisations. Click here for news items on previous reviews.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 10:15
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