Basic Human Rights of UNDHR Incorporated in the Ethiopian Constitution. A Detail Blog with Both UNDHR & FDRE Constitution pdfs. Written by Lawyer Hasen Mh The Founder of Lawyer Hasen Site
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNDHR is a globally recognizable document that outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms to which all individuals are entitling. Many countries, including Ethiopia, have incorporated these rights into their own constitutional frameworks. In this blog post, I will explore how the basic human rights of the UNDHR are incorporating into the Ethiopian Constitution.
Right to Life, Liberty, and Security!
The Ethiopian Constitution places great importance on safeguarding the right to life, liberty, and security of every individual. It guarantees protection against arbitrary arrest or detention, emphasizing the preservation of physical and mental integrity.
In other word, the Ethiopian Constitution enshrines the fundamental right to life, liberty, and security of every individual, recognizing these as inalienable and inviolable (Article 14). It safeguards against arbitrary arrest or detention, ensuring that no one shall be deprived of their liberty except in accordance with established legal procedures (Article 17). Furthermore, it protects individuals from cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, upholding their physical and mental integrity (Article 18). These provisions underscore the Ethiopian Constitution’s commitment to fostering a society where the fundamental rights of every person are respected and protected.
Equality and Non-Discrimination. Basic Human Rights of UNDHR
Under the Ethiopian Constitution, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other grounds is strictly prohibited. Accordingly, UNDHR establishes the principle of equality before the law, ensuring that all individuals receive equal protection and benefit from the law.
The statement “Under the Ethiopian Constitution, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other grounds is strictly prohibited. Accordingly, UNDHR establishes the principle of equality before the law, ensuring that all individuals receive equal protection and benefit from the law” highlights the fundamental right to non-discrimination enshrined in both the Ethiopian Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR).
The Ethiopian Constitution, in Article 39, explicitly prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other grounds. It further stipulates that all individuals are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law.
Similarly, the UNDHR, in Article 7, proclaims the principle of equality before the law. It states that all are entitled to equal protection of the law and to equal treatment without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.
These provisions underscore the unwavering commitment to upholding the right to non-discrimination and ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their background or identity, are treated with dignity and respect. They serve as a powerful reminder that discrimination in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Freedom of Expression and Thought one of the Basic Human Rights of UNDHR!
Recognizing the value of freedom of expression, the Ethiopian Constitution safeguards the right to express oneself freely, including freedom of the press. It also upholds the right to hold opinions without interference, promoting an environment that fosters open dialogue and diverse perspectives.
In Ethiopia, the fundamental right to freedom of expression is enshrined in Article 29 of the. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE). Constitution, which guarantees the right to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of one’s choice. This right is further reinforced by Article 19 of the. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Which states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
The Ethiopian government has taken steps to protect and promote this fundamental right, including lifting bans on a number of websites and television networks. However, there have also been concerns about the government’s use of arbitrary arrests and detentions to silence critics. The government should ensure that all its actions are in line with its obligations under the FDRE Constitution and the UDHR to protect and promote freedom of expression.
Right to Privacy is Basic Human Rights of UNDHR!
The Ethiopian Constitution guarantees the right to privacy for its citizens. It protects individuals from arbitrary interference in their private lives, homes, families, and correspondence, providing a safeguard against unwarranted intrusion.
Freedom of Religion and Belief as Basic Human Rights of UNDHR!
According to the UNDHR, the Ethiopian Constitution acknowledges the freedom of religion and belief. It ensures that every individual has the right to practice their chosen religion, free from coercion or undue influence.
The Ethiopian Constitution firmly upholds the fundamental right to privacy, shielding individuals from unwarranted intrusion into their personal lives, homes, families, and correspondence. This right is enshrined in Article 26 of the Constitution, which explicitly states that “Everyone has the right to privacy.” This right serves as a crucial safeguard against arbitrary interference, ensuring that individuals can retain control over their personal information and live free from undue scrutiny.
The protection of privacy extends to various aspects of an individual’s life, including their personal space, communications, and property. Article 26(1) specifically prohibits searches of an individual’s home, person, or property without lawful justification. Similarly, Article 26(2) safeguards the inviolability of an individual’s notes, correspondence, and electronic communications. These provisions underscore the importance of individual autonomy and the need to protect personal information from unauthorized access.
The Ethiopian Constitution’s recognition of the right to privacy aligns with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which also guarantees this fundamental right. Article 12 of the UDHR states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference in his private life, his home, his family or his correspondence, nor to attacks on his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
In conclusion, the Ethiopian Constitution’s protection of the right to privacy aligns with international human rights standards and serves as a cornerstone of individual liberty. By safeguarding individuals from arbitrary interference, the Constitution ensures that citizens can maintain control over their personal lives and enjoy a sense of privacy and dignity.
Right to Education!
Education is seen as a fundamental right in the Ethiopian Constitution. It enshrines the right to education for all citizens and emphasizes equal access to quality education. By prioritizing education, Ethiopia strives to build an informed and educated society.
In other words, Education is recognized as a fundamental human right in Ethiopia, enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution and aligned with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Ethiopian Constitution, under Article 41, subsection 3, guarantees the right of every Ethiopian national to equal access to publicly funded social services, including education. This right extends to all citizens, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, social status, or any other distinguishing factor.
Ethiopia’s commitment to education is further reinforced by Article 42 of the Constitution, which specifically addresses the right to education. This article emphasizes the state’s obligation to provide primary education free of charge and to ensure that secondary and higher education are accessible to all capable citizens. The state also has the responsibility to allocate increasing resources to education and to promote the development of a national education system that is efficient, equitable, and relevant to the needs of the country.
In line with these constitutional provisions, Ethiopia has made significant strides in expanding access to education. The gross enrollment rate in primary education has increased from 60% in 1995 to 97% in 2020, and the literacy rate among adults aged 15 and above has risen from 29% in 1995 to 49% in 2020. These achievements reflect the Ethiopian government’s recognition of education as a cornerstone of national development and its commitment to providing equal opportunities for all citizens to learn and grow.
Right to Fair Trial.
The Ethiopian Constitution guarantees the right to a fair trial for all individuals. It ensures that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, grants the right to legal representation, and protects against torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.
Accordingly, the Ethiopian Constitution firmly upholds the right to a fair trial, a fundamental principle of justice that safeguards the rights of individuals accused of crimes. This right is enshrined in Article 20 of the Constitution, which guarantees that all persons have the right to a public trial by an ordinary court of law within a reasonable time.
Presumption of Innocence
The Constitution further reinforces the presumption of innocence, a cornerstone of a fair trial. Article 20(3) explicitly states that “accused persons have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law and not to be compelled to testify against themselves.” This provision ensures that individuals are not considered guilty until a court of law has reached a verdict based on evidence and due process.
The right to legal representation
The right to legal representation is another crucial element of a fair trial. Article 20(5) of the Ethiopian Constitution guarantees that “accused persons have the right to be represented by legal counsel of their choice.” This provision empowers individuals to seek legal assistance, ensuring that they are not left to navigate the complexities of the legal system alone.
prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
To further protect the rights of individuals, the Constitution prohibits torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Article 21(1) clearly states that “No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” This provision safeguards the dignity and integrity of all individuals, regardless of their status or circumstances.
In addition to the Ethiopian Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) also emphasizes the right to a fair trial. Article 10 of the UDHR states that “Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.” This provision aligns with the Ethiopian Constitution’s commitment to upholding the principles of fairness and impartiality in the administration of justice.
By enshrining these fundamental rights in its Constitution, Ethiopia demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that all individuals have access to a fair and impartial legal system, where their rights are respected and protected.
Right To Health.
Recognizing the importance of health, the Ethiopian Constitution grants its citizens the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It highlights the necessity of accessible healthcare services and facilities for all.
On this regard, Article 40 of FDRE Constitution, explicitly recognizes the right to health as a fundamental human right, emphasizing the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare services for all citizens. This right aligns with the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.”
The Ethiopian Constitution further elaborates on the right to health by outlining the responsibilities of the government in ensuring the provision of adequate healthcare services. It mandates the government to establish and maintain a national healthcare system, provide preventive healthcare services, and promote health education. These provisions underscore the government’s commitment to safeguarding the health and well-being of its citizens.
Protection of Women’s Rights is Basic Human Rights of UNDHR.
The Ethiopian Constitution explicitly protects and promotes the rights of women. It prohibits discrimination and violence against women and strives for gender equality in all spheres of life.
The Ethiopian Constitution provides comprehensive protection for women’s rights, including the right to equality, freedom from discrimination and violence, and participation in all aspects of political, economic, and social life. These provisions are aligned with the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which affirms that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
FDRE Constitution Provisions on Women’s Rights
- Article 39(7): “Women, regardless of their marital status, have equal rights in all social and political life.”
- Article 42(1): “No person shall be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
- Article 52(2): “The state shall ensure equality of women in political, social, economic, cultural and other spheres of life.”
UNDHR Law Provisions on Women’s Rights
- Article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
- Article 7: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination or against any incitement to such discrimination.”
- Article 16/1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They shall enjoy the same rights in matters of marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be based on the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”
- Article 2. “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this. Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
In addition to these constitutional and international legal protections, Ethiopia has also enacted a number of specific laws aimed at promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women. These include the Family Law, the National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Control of Violence Against Women, and the Criminal Code, which criminalizes rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence.
Despite these efforts, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equality in Ethiopia. Women continue to face discrimination in employment, education, and political participation. They are also disproportionately affected by poverty and violence. The government must continue to work to address these challenges and ensure that all Ethiopian women enjoy their full rights.
Children hold a special place in the Ethiopian Constitution. It places significant importance on their protection, education, and overall well-being, banning child labor and exploitation.
The Ethiopian Constitution reflects the government’s commitment to upholding the basic human rights outlined in the UNDHR. By incorporating these rights into their constitutional framework, Ethiopia demonstrates its dedication to fostering an environment of social justice, equality, and respect for the dignity and rights of all its citizens.
Reading material & Reference
- International Protection of Human Rights: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements
- Unearthing the Bedrock of Human Rights in Ethiopia’s Constitution: A Comprehensive Exploration
- Congressional Record
- HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
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