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Ethiopia - Human Rights Committee (List of Issues) - Civil and Political Rights - August 2020

Ethiopia’s Compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Suggested List of Issues, 130th Session of the Human Rights Committee (12 October 2020 - 6 November 2020)

The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a Suggested List of Issues on civil and political rights in Ethiopia for the 130th session of the Human Rights Committee.

Ethiopia has failed to uphold its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) regarding the right to life, liberty, and security of person, including protection against extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrest and detention, the freedom of opinion and expression, association, and assembly, and the protection against violence, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation. The information in this report is based on the firsthand experiences of The Advocates’ clients who have sought asylum from Ethiopia in the United States.

Ethiopia has not signed or ratified the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. Violence and discrimination against LGBTI individuals remain widespread in Ethiopia. The Criminal Code of Ethiopia continues to criminalize adult consensual same-sex conduct. There are no laws against discrimination or hate crimes against LGBTI individuals. Moreover, Ethiopia has not taken the necessary steps to end social stigmatization based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The government of Ethiopia reportedly continues to allow torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. In a July 2018 speech to Parliament, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged that the government used torture and that such practices “amounted to terrorism by the state.” In addition, Ethiopia fails to protect freedom of opinion, expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The Ethiopian government shut down the internet at least eight times in 2019.

The authors of the report of the list of issues suggest the following questions for the Government of Ethiopia:

  • What steps is the government of Ethiopia taking to mitigate social prejudices, stigmatization, harassment, discrimination, and violence against individuals due to their sexual orientation or gender identity?
  • What efforts has the government of Ethiopia made to collaborate with civil society organizations working on LGBTI issues and support their work by creating joint projects to prevent violations and build protections for LGBTI individuals?
  • What steps has the government of Ethiopia taken to consider the decriminalization of same-sex consensual adult sexual conduct?
  • What measures are in place to ensure that claims of torture are thoroughly investigated, and that inspections of detention centers and prisons meet international standards?
  • What measures are in place to hold accountable perpetrators of torture?
  • What steps has the government of Ethiopia taken to create specific legislation ensuring freedom of association, and preventing harassment and violence against government critics and members of opposition groups?
  • What measures has the government of Ethiopia taken to ensure the protection of freedom of assembly, and to hold accountable law enforcement and security personnel who use excessive and lethal force against protesters?