UN High Commissioner for Human Rights encourages Ethiopian government to invest more in stable and open democratic space for all its people

Human Rights Commissioner May 4  pic2The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein (centre) in a press conference in Addis Ababa

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, encouraged the Ethiopian Government to ensure a greater investment in a far more substantive, stable and open democratic space for all its people.


“I am convinced the Ethiopian Government will find its most important and productive investment will be in the rights of the people, which build strong and safe societies,” the High Commissioner said at a press conference held in Addis Ababa on 4 May 2017.  


The High Commissioner, who made a three-day official visit to Ethiopia at the invitation of the Ethiopian government, said, “I strongly believe economic, social and cultural rights are inseparable from civil and political rights: if one set of rights advances, while another set of rights are not given the requisite attention, the social pressure which may result can be dramatic.”

 

Human Rights Commissioner with Ethiopian PM The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Mr. Zeid praised Ethiopia for its extensive contributions to peace and security across the African continent and its notable acceptance of millions of refugees. He also recognized Ethiopia’s impressive advances on people's right to education and health and its striking gains in the struggle to end extreme poverty.


The High Commissioner further hailed the country’s commitment to protect the human rights of its people, as it has acceded to seven out of the nine core human rights treaties.


“As with many other countries the central challenge lies in translating the commitment into action, and while some of the implementation has been very noteworthy, other commitments remain outstanding. We stand ready to assist in the progressive closing of the deficits,” he said.


During his visit, the High Commissioner signed with the Government a Memorandum of Intent that in due course will strengthen the Regional Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Addis Ababa, in terms of providing capacity to support stakeholders across the region, including Ethiopia.


During his mission, the High Commissioner held talks with H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, H.E Mr. Abadula Gemeda.


Mr. Zeid also met with H.E Commissioner Dr. Addisu Gebre-Egziabher, Chairperson of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and with members of civil society organizations and political parties.


Also, while in Ethiopia, the High Commissioner met with the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, and the UN Country Team and discussed the UN’s development and humanitarian interventions in the country.


At the African Union, Mr. Zeid met Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Smail Chergui, the AUC Commissioner for Peace and Security; Madam Cessouma Minata Samate, AUC Commissioner for Political Affairs; and other key policy-makers.


“It was a significant opportunity for me to discuss human rights priorities with the AU at the highest levels, as the new leadership develops its vision and frameworks for impact across the continent,” the High Commissioner said.

Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at a press conference during his mission to Ethiopia