Ethiopia Taking Massive Reform to Protect Human Rights, Says HPR Speaker

Addis Ababa — The national reform that has been taking place in Ethiopia over the last few months is a testimony to the renewed commitment of the government to protect the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), House of People's Representatives Speaker Tagesse Chaffo said.

Addressing the 70th Anniversary Celebration of UDHR today, Tagesse said "the government has now fully recognized that the national justice and legal system is being built by correcting the structural and institutional setbacks to deliver justice and serve the people."

According to the speaker, measures are being taken towards a comprehensive and fundamental reform as opposed to the previous practices of piecemeal approach that only treat symptoms rather than curing the broader illness.

He noted that the government is hence undertaking consultative meetings with the relevant stakeholders to review a number of legal frameworks impacting on the exercise of fundamental human rights.

Among the laws under revision, Tagesse cited Charities and Societies Proclamation, Anti-terrorism Legislation, Media and Access to Information Proclamation.

The speaker further noted that the government also deeply recognizes that legal reform is not an end by itself. "That is why concrete steps are being taken to make the country's justice and democratic institutions advocate for the rights and freedoms of the people."

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' East Africa Regional Office (OHCHR-EARO) Representative, Nwanne Vwede-Obahor said millions of people on this planet do not stay free and equal. Their dignities are trampled with and their rights violated on daily basis.

In many countries, the fundamental recognition that all human have inherent rights is on the attack, Vwede-Obahor stated, adding that politicians are increasingly focused on narrow nationalist interest.

"No matter where we live or what our circumstances are, most of us who have power to make a difference, to make our homes, communities, countries and our world better; each of us needs to do our part to breathe life into the beautiful dream of the universal declaration," she underlined.

Drafted by representatives from diverse cultural and technical backgrounds, Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for peoples and all nations.

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