EHRC Issues “Human Rights Agenda for the 2021 Election”

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Addis Ababa February 23/2021 (ENA) The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has issued today a 6-point ‘Human Rights Agenda for the 2021 Election’ which calls for public pledge from all stakeholders participating in the election, and political parties, government bodies, civic society and media organizations in particular, to respect, protect and ensure their implementation.

According to a press release the commission sent to ENA, the Agenda calls on political parties and stakeholders to pledge for concrete human rights actions, firmly commit to human rights, ensure gender responsiveness of the entire election process, undertake a rigorous review of all legal, policy and administrative issues that cause human rights violations, respect freedom of movement, association, expression and the right to information and, in particular, to fully refrain from inciteful and/or hateful speech and acts of violence.

EHRC Chief Commissioner Daniel Bekele said it is important to make human rights a central agenda of the upcoming elections and urged all stakeholders to give urgent attention to the issues.

The 6-point Human Rights Agenda for Elections 2021 are:

       1. Pledge for concrete human rights actions

     Political parties should publicly pledge, in their manifestos, to tangible measures they will   take to respect, to ensure the protection of and to fulfill human rights, especially with regards to the protection of the rights of vulnerable persons such as women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities and internally displaced persons.

       2. Commitment for human rights

     Political parties including the incumbent, candidates and all opposition parties should commit to act peacefully and in a manner that respects human rights throughout the entire process of the elections; to publicly pledge that they shall not tolerate violations of human rights on the part of their members and/or their supporters, and set up transparent internal processes to ensure that any members who act in violation thereof are investigated and held accountable.

       3. Ensuring gender-responsiveness of the election process

     Recognizing that elections play an important role in increasing the political participation of women, all political parties should design and implement strategies to increase the participation of women within their own political party, and all stakeholders should make a particular effort to ensure that the entire electoral process is gender responsive.

       4. Pledge to legal and policy reform

     All political parties, whether or not they win the elections, should pledge to work together and along with other stakeholders to find a sustainable solution to the complex human rights crisis in Ethiopia; and publicly commit to undertake a rigorous review of all legal, policy and administrative issues that cause human rights violations and to make the necessary legislative and policy reforms.

       5. Protecting freedom of movement, association, expression, and access to information

Federal and regional authorities, and security forces in particular, should carry out their duties in a non-partisan and responsible manner and ensure that all political parties, candidates as well as media and civil society organizations are able to exercise their right to freely move and to express their opinion freely, to access information, to association and all other political rights without restriction, prohibition, discrimination, undue interference or retaliatory measures.

       6. Fully refrain from incitement, hate Speech and violence

All political parties, candidates, media and civil society organizations as well as community influencers should all commit to fully refrain from inciteful and hateful speech and other behavior and acts that provoke human rights violations, and refrain from any acts of violence.