JUSTICE 2022-25: Protection of Human Rights, Strengthening Rule of Law and Peace Building Process in Ethiopia
Enhanced protection of human rights, the rule of law and the status of peace and an improved justice system by the end of 2025 through advocacy, quiet lobbying and capacity building trainings for the three branches of the government.
Outcome 1: Strengthened rule of law in Ethiopia through improved institutional capacity of the justice sector to enact laws, policies, and create better access to justice and improved leadership capacity of the justice sector.
Outcome 2: Strengthened promotion of human rights in Ethiopia through enhanced capacity of the legislative, executive, judiciary and the media to respect and protect fulfilment of rights.
Outcome 3: Peace building supported through enhanced capacity of stakeholders in peace building process, traditional peace building practices and inclusive dialogue in Ethiopia.
Beneficiaries: ca. 3 million people will benefit from cascading of trainings, behavioural change of officials, promulgation of new human rights sensitive laws, manuals and guidelines and other incident-based advocacy, improvement of women’s and children’s rights, prison improvement, printing and distribution of materials on various issues, peace building efforts, media improvements, etc.
Direct targets: Personnel of 9 federal institutions (federal courts, Ministry of Justice, federal police, federal prison administrations, Ministry of Peace, federal Justice Sector Professionals Training Institute, federal Police College and House of Representatives, Authority for Civil Society Organizations) and their regional counterparts in 11 regions and 2 city administrations (ca. 2.100 persons); traditional conflict resolution and reconciliation institutions (Elders’ Council, Abba Gedas etc.) (ca. 1.482 persons), selected civil society organizations and media companies (ca. 1.470 persons); and individuals whose human rights and access to justice are being upheld by the project: litigants affected by backlog in courts (ca. 74.000 persons) or lack of free legal aid, women and children accessing child friendly benches (ca. 584 persons), prisoners (esp. women prisoners, ca. 4.700 persons) benefiting from rehabilitation and re-integration activities or improved prison facilities, and convicts benefiting from pardoning (ca. 16.000 persons),– a total of 100.336 persons.
Location: Advocacy, capacity building and peace building activities are implemented at federal level and in all 11 regions; the sites for setting up model standard detention centres, legal aid centres and child friendly benches as well as for constructing women prison cells and for provision of machineries for prisoner trainings will be selected according to need and the sites specified in the annual work plans.
• Hold capacity building training of police officers, prosecutors, judges and militia
• Conduct forums on prisoners’ rights for leaders of prison institutions
• Conduct refresher trainings on human rights, case flow management and special rights such as pardon, bail and parole
• Organize international experience sharing on rehabilitation and reintegration for senior prison officials
• Provide material support and undertake construction activities in selected prisons
• Incidental and small group advocacy work on human rights, rule of law and peace building
• Organize Joined-up Justice Forum (advocacy workshop) for promoting rule of law
• Organize traditional conflict resolution and peace building dialogue forums for elders, religious leaders, public figures, elites and community leaders
• Facilitate participation of local elders in the national dialogue in collaboration with the ministry of peace, Elders’ Council, National Dialogue Commission and other relevant government structures
The Ethiopian Comprehensive Justice Reform Program, started in 2004 and still under way, is challenged from many corners. Access to justice for many citizens is restricted by the large number of backlog files, the absence of special laws and special tribunals or child friendly courts, and the lack of free legal aid services.
After decades of heavily restricted human and democratic rights, the current government revised several laws which had been criticized for curtailing human and democratic rights. However, numerous incidents of state abuse of human rights still exist. Women are particularly vulnerable within the long and complicated justice sector proceedings. Women offenders typically come from economically and socially disadvantaged parts of the society, and the stigma attached to women’s imprisonment tends to be greater than in the case of men. In practice, female prisoners require more treatment and facilities than their male counterparts. Recidivism remains a serious problem because former prisoners without entrepreneurship knowledge or income generating skills cannot find employment.
Recently, ethnically driven and charged conflicts have been flaring up in different parts of the country. Such conflicts leave an enduring impact on the relationship of people and affect the social fabric of the society. The formation of the dialogue commission has created high hopes among the society. In this context, customary (traditional) institutions have huge social capitals that could be capitalized on.