Reports of States parties due in 2007: Ethiopia (CERD/C/ETH/7-16)

COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION

I. INTRODUCTION

1. Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic country, where diverse societies, cultures and languages co-exist. Despite this reality, accommodating diversity and protecting the rights of the different ethnic groups has been a daunting challenge for the country throughout its history. Both under the monarchies for hundreds of years and the military regime for over a decade and half, the country could not address the challenges of diversity. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination has been made part of the country's body of laws for more than three decades now. However, it was not until 1991 when the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power by overthrowing the military regime that laws that protect and promote the equality of the different ethnic groups in the country were adopted, and various administrative, judicial and other measures have been taken to ensure the implementation of those laws.

2. The present report, prepared in accordance with article 9, paragraph 1 of the Convention, shows the different measures taken by Ethiopia to eliminate racial discrimination in the country particularly since the country's last report in 1991. Significant political and social changes have taken place since the State made its initial report under the Convention. the present report, which follows The latest -specific guidelines of the Committee (CERD/C/2007/1), must be considered together with the common core document which the State party has prepared on the basis of harmonized guidelines on reporting to treaty bodies (HRI/MC/2006/3) and submitted to the Secretary-General. The report also addresses the concerns the Committee expressed in its concluding observations. The preparation of the present report was carried out simultaneously with the common core document. It has thus passed through similar stages preparation and public consultation, which could be referred to in the common core document.

3. Despite the Government's commitment to report under the Convention and engage in constructive dialogue with the Committee, the State party's reports were overdue. That was an unfortunate situation, which understandably led the Committee to issue concluding observations without the benefit of the State party's reports and dialogue with its representatives. The Government regrets this situation and would like to assure the Committee and others of its commitment to the protection of human rights in general and the elimination of racial discrimination in particular. The Government would like to inform the Committee and all concerned that the reasons for the delay of the reports rested on constellation of factors which technical limitations were the major ones. These difficulties have now been resolved with the technical assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights East Africa Regional Office (OHCHR). In the project developed and being implemented with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and OHCHR-East Africa Regional Office, the Government has been able to prepare the over-due reports and allow the Committee to understand the extent of the Convention's implementation in the State. The State would also like to express its satisfaction in making this report and hope for constructive dialogue with the Committee.