Dr. Benyam Dawit Mezmur, an Ethiopian Professor of Law was elected a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child at a meeting of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on December 18th.
Dr. Benyam was one of eight members elected to the committee, and the only successful candidate from Africa. Five others failed to win a place on the Committee. Dr. Benyam, 32, is currently an Assistant Professor at the Addis Ababa University, Faculty of Law.
He is also the Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child of the African Union. He holds a Doctorate in Law (LLD) and has specialized on the rights of children. Ethiopia, a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was the only country from Africa and one of only 15 countries in the world to have submitted its 3rd report by 2008.
It has also submitted its combined 4th and 5th Periodic Report and these are currently awaiting consideration by the Committee. In the last two decades, Ethiopia has made substantial progress in the promotion of child rights, including an astronomic increase in the primary education enrolment rate, a significant reduction in child mortality and malnutrition, and encouraging results in promoting the equal rights of female children. The election of Ethiopia's candidate, Dr. Benyam, demonstrated the confidence of the State parties to the Convention in Ethiopia and its candidate.