Essential additions: An updated list of resources for human rights defenders in Ethiopia

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In past months, Ethiopia has experienced mass protests resulting from ethnic tensions, mass arrests, and a government-mandated internet shutdown. 

Following the surge in searches on our website relating to Ethiopia, we’ve revamped our library with updated resources. Below is a collection of human rights organizations working in Ethiopia, legal resources on strategic litigation for human rights defenders (HRDs), and activist toolkits to help build civil society and strengthen the work of human rights defenders in Ethiopia.

Our library is constantly growing with contributions from our team and other external supporters. Want to share a resource with us? Leave a comment in the blog post or reach out to us on social media.


Ethiopian Human Rights Council

The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) is a non-profit organization focused on the defense of human rights, and the promotion of democracy and rule of law in Ethiopia. Its work areas include: human rights monitoring and reporting, provision of legal aid services to victims of human rights violations, human rights education and training; and human rights related studies and research. 

Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association

The Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association (EWLA) works to promote the legal, economic, social, and political rights of Ethiopian women as provided in the Ethiopian Constitution and other relevant human rights conventions. EWLA aims to promote women’s empowerment and access to justice, while influencing policies, laws, and practices to realise equal rights for women. Its head office is in Addis Ababa, with branches in Bahir Dar, Assosa, Hawassa, Adama/Nazareth, Diredawa and Gambella. Next to this, EWLA has a helpline for victims of domestic violence.

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia 

Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the advancement of human rights protection in Ethiopia. It does this by providing support to the work of Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders, through advocacy and other related tasks that cannot be carried out effectively in Ethiopia, based on administrative and legal restrictions, security risks and resource constraints.

Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations

The Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO) is a local network of civil society organizations. CEHRO aims to ensure the existence of an enabling environment for human rights and democratic governance, and to create a platform for strong and vibrant human rights civil society organizations in Ethiopia.

Setaweet Ethiopia

Setaweet is a home grown grassroots feminist movement. It creates a space for dialogue, research and activism by Ethiopian women and men who are dedicated to empowerment and liberation. Setaweet focuses on gender issues and political reforms regarding it. It addresses matters relating to discrimination especially against women and girls. Setaweet also has a hotline to help victims of gender based violence.

Ethiopian Human Rights Commission 

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is an independent governmental institution that works to ensure the protection of constitutional human rights and fundamental freedoms. It does this through human rights advocacy; counseling; monitoring; research and investigation of human rights violations.

Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy

The Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) focuses on promoting conflict-sensitive dialogue through informed freedom of expression. CARD combats disinformation, hate and dangerous speech through the civic engagement of youths.

Ethiopian Initiative for Human Rights

EIHR is a non-governmental independent organization certified to monitor and report the situation of human rights, rule of law and good governance in Ethiopia.

Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) was established with the aim to monitor and promote the observance of nationally, regionally and internationally recognized human rights instruments in the Horn of Africa. HRLHA defends freedom of thought and expression, due process and equal protection of the law. It aims to promote the development of a vigorous civil society in Ethiopia. Among others, its work includes lobbying governments of the Horn of Africa to ratify human rights treaties; organizing trainings, workshops and seminars on the protection of human rights; and monitoring reports of human rights violations.

East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project  

This network of human rights defenders (HRDs) and human rights organisations in the East and Horn of Africa has the mission to maximize the protection of HRDs working in the subregion. EHAHRDN enhances the awareness of human rights work through strong linkages with like-minded local, national, regional, and international entities. The Network aims to protect and defend HRDs in the subregion and build their capacity to work safer and more effectively. It also seeks to strengthen the work of HRDs by reducing their vulnerability to the risks of persecution.


Digital Security Guideline for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders in Ethiopia

Compiled by the Network for Digital Rights in Ethiopia, this digital security guideline provides essential information on how human rights defenders and journalists in Ethiopia can use mobile phones, computers, email, and the internet in a safe and secure manner. It provides guidance on how to protect sensitive data and ensure the use of secure email connections. The guideline is available in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and English languages.

Navigating Justice: Lawyers as Human Rights Defenders in Ethiopia and Somalia/Somaliland

This report by DefendDefenders examines the work of lawyers in Ethiopia to identify their best practices, vulnerabilities and needs in rapidly changing environments. It analyzes the 

crucial role played by lawyers who exert social change, and outlines ways to effectively promote their work. 

Turning the Page: Rebuilding Civil Society in Ethiopia

Published in April 2019 by DefendDefenders, this report outlines ways to effectively rebuild civil society in Ethiopia. Next to this, it contains a detailed analysis of Ethiopia’s Civil Society Organisations Proclamation, with commentary on the provisions that mark an improvement as well as concerns. The report is a culmination of monitoring efforts, desk research, and in-depth interviews of human rights lawyers, journalists, civil society organisations, community-based organisations and regional government representatives within Ethiopia amongst others. 

What are your thoughts or concerns? Leave us a comment below, email us at [email protected], browse our organizations and initiatives in our online library, leave us a comment on Facebook, tweet us @rightsconnected and interact with us on Instagram @rightsconnected.

This blog post was written by African Regional Associate, Nnenna Mazi and edited by Education and Communications Associate, Sabrina Sanchez.

Featured image borrowed from Bhanadri Frever via flickr.

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