Dear President of the Human Rights Council and Member States of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC),
We, the undersigned organizations across Europe, with members including Ethiopians and citizens of European countries, write to you during the 52nd regular session of the Council regarding the decommissioning of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE).
As independent and concerned citizens, we have previously sent messages to UNHRC member states on June 8th and September 26th, 2022, highlighting our concerns about human rights violations on our compatriots and close relatives. As such, our voices should be given due consideration on how Human Rights violations should be looked into in Ethiopia. In our letter dated June 8th, 2022, we emphasized the need for the Ethiopian government to hold accountable those who have committed human rights violations and bring them to justice. We also underlined the importance of preserving Ethiopia’s judicial sovereignty and strengthening its national institutions to promote and protect human rights.
We have explained why, from the outset, the establishment of a new mechanism is inappropriate and outlined the series of erroneous premises that led to the formation of the Commission enumerating the concrete measures taken by Ethiopian national institutions to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice. We have also called on UNHRC member states to disestablish the Commission and use such public funds to strengthen Ethiopia’s judicial institutional capacity to continue its work on investigating the atrocities committed in the affected areas, including Afar and Amhara regions.
We believe that the significant progress made on the implementation of the peace agreement signed on November 2nd, 2022, by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa, ending the two-year-long conflict in Northern Ethiopia, should be commended by the Human Rights Council Members. We urge the Council to be cautious in not recommending actions that may negatively affect or undermine the ongoing AU-led peace process.
We also call on member states of the UNHRC to consider the historic National Dialogue, set to begin in March 2023, as a way to help bring national consensus and refrain from untimely and inflammatory reports detrimental to these ongoing processes. We further urge member states to support the Ethiopian Government’s endeavors to ensure accountability for violations of human rights, including the on-going locally owned Transitional Justice in Ethiopia.
As Ethiopian Advocacy Groups, deeply concerned about human rights violations in the country, we reiterate our call to all member states of the UNHRC and relevant stakeholders to disestablish the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia (ICHREE). We urge all parties to collaborate harmoniously with the Ethiopian Government in strengthening Ethiopia’s judicial institutional capacity, supporting home-grown policy options for Transitional Justice, while respecting Ethiopia’s judicial sovereignty, and consolidating lasting peace.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
⦁ Network of Ethiopians in Geneva for Action Task Force (NEGAT)
⦁ Defend Ethiopia Task Force in Europe (DETF-EU) organized in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom
⦁ Colors of Unity (CoU)
⦁ Ethio-Czech Community z.s. (ECC)
⦁ Ethiopian Community in Spain (ECS)
⦁ Ethiopian Diaspora Associations in Belgium (EDAB)
⦁ Ethio-France Association for Development of Ethiopia (EFADE)
⦁ Ethiopian Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation in Germany (EFDCG)
To: Václav Bálek, President of the Human Rights Council
Cc: All Member States of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)