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EHRC/OHCHR advisory note on the next steps towards the development of a human rights compliant Transitional Justice Policy for Ethiopia
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have continued to advocate and support efforts towards the adoption and implementation of a genuine, participatory, inclusive, contextualized, and in line with international human rights standards transitional justice (TJ) policy since the release of the EHRC/OHCHR Joint Investigation Team (JIT) Report in November 2021. The Agreement for Lasting Peace through a Permanent Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement) of November 2022 provides for the implementation of a comprehensive national TJ policy. The EHRC and OHCHR released an Advisory Note in December 2022 based on their community consultations on TJ to raise awareness on key human rights principles applicable to TJ processes and to highlight the views and aspirations of conflict-affected populations in the different regions of Ethiopia on accountability, truth-seeking, reparations, institutional reform, and reconciliation.
A TJ Working Group of Experts (the Working Group) set up by the Ministry of Justice to advise and lead the process of Ethiopia’s TJ policy development published a “green paper” in January 2023 to solicit public inputs from relevant stakeholders on different policy and institutional options for TJ in Ethiopia. In March 2023, the Government of Ethiopia launched nationwide public consultations on the content of the “green paper” led by the Working Group. The Working Group’s public consultations are expected to inform the initial phase of the TJ policy development work, and implementation of the TJ process will only start after the policy is adopted. EHRC and OHCHR provided technical and advisory support to the Working Group and to over 200 facilitators of the public consultations. Based on the checklist and tools prepared and in line with internationally recognized human rights standards, EHRC and OHCHR also observed 23 public consultations held in Oromia, Afar, Amhara, Benishangul- Gumuz, Harar, Gambella, Sidama, Somali, Tigray regions, and the former Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region, as well as in the Addis Ababa City Administration and Dire Dawa City Administration. Based on this monitoring, EHRC and OHCHR regularly communicated observations and advice to the Working Group on how to address identified gaps or any other relevant suggestions.