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Ethiopia - Committee on the Rights of the Child - Children's Rights - July 2014

The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with the International Oromo Youth Association submitted a report for the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The report identifies numerous violations of the rights of children in Ethiopia, particularly with respect to the rights of the child to equality, life, liberty, security, privacy, freedom of expression and association, family, basic health and welfare, education, and leisure and cultural activities. Unless otherwise noted in the report, these violations occur without distinction based on the ethnic group of the child. In some cases, however, children belonging to the Oromo ethnic group—the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia—face discrimination or other rights violations unique to their ethnicity.

The Advocates has worked extensively with members of the Ethiopian diaspora for purposes of documenting human rights conditions in Ethiopia. Since 2004, The Advocates has documented reports from members of the Oromo ethnic group living in diaspora in the United States of human rights abuses they and their friends and family experienced in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government has adopted strict constraints on civil society; government monitoring and intimidation, as well as fear of reprisals, impede human rights monitoring and journalism in the country. In spite of this, The Advocates has documented the continued discrimination against the Oromo and other ethnic groups. In recent months, the Ethiopian government has also violated the right to life of Oromo children and youth by using excessive force in response to peaceful protests, including violence, killing, mass detentions, and forced expulsions.

Further, the government fails to protect children from abuse in the family and from harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation. Perpetrators of physical and sexual violence against children enjoy impunity. The government also fails to promote and protect rights of many children with disabilities. The government’s “villagization” program places the health of children in rural areas at risk and impedes their right to an adequate standard of living. Children in Ethiopia continue to be denied access to primary education, especially in rural areas, and child domestic labor remains a serious concern.