Ethiopian women, children bear brunt of pandemic, conflicts, drought induced basic rights violation: Rights Commission

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says due to man-made and natural disasters including Covid-19 pandemic, drought and conflicts in Ethiopia women and children in have been exposed to heightened violations of basic rights.

new report by the state’s rights watchdog assessed women and children rights conditions across the country from September to August 2022. The report says man made and natural disasters and consequent lack of protection from the government, society and family, exposed children to concurrent violations of basic rights.

Adding that women have also been subjected to sexual violence and discrimination which limited their freedom and undermine their human dignity.

EHRC says in Northern Ethiopia where an active war is going on for almost two years, large-scale attacks, in some cases “as a systematic means of war” have been committed against women and children.

Women and children in Somali, Afar, Oromia, Gambella, Benishangul Gumuz, and SNNP regional states have also experienced basic rights violations due to recurring conflicts, according to the report. Displacement of large numbers of women and children, interruption of education and health services and lack of humanitarian support have increased their vulnerability to rights violations and limited their access to education and health, the report added.

Women and children have also been exposed to illegal human trafficking and exploitation, including those who work in the industrial parks. “Various gaps have been observed in the national legal framework in providing adequate legal protection for the human rights of children and women”, the report said.

“The absence of a criminal and civil legal framework to effectively provide justice, lack of international standard criminal investigations and prosecutions are among the main concerns.”

Commissioner for Women and Children’s Rights at the EHRC, Meskerem Gest called on the government to scale up activities to better protect women and children’s rights.

“As it is the government’s main responsibility to respect and protect human rights, I call upon the government to improve legal frameworks, institutions and procedures to provide justice, rebuild education and health facilities and other infrastructures destroyed by conflicts, and rehabilitate victims to subsequently revamp protection of Women and children’s rights.”


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