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  • 1. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia Notes on Gender-Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in EthiopiaContents1 Background and Context ........................................................................................................2 1.1 Basic Country Information ...............................................................................................2 1.2 Socio-Economic Context ................................................................................................. 3 1.2.1 Health ........................................................................................................................... 3 1.2.2 Education.................................................................................................................. 72 GBV and VAWC ....................................................................................................................... 10 2.1 Prevalence of GBV and VAWC ....................................................................................... 10 2.2 Response to GBV and VAWC ..........................................................................................11 2.2.1 The FDRE Constitution.............................................................................................11 2.2.2 Ratification of International Instruments.............................................................. 12 2.2.3 Policy Responses to GBV and VAWC ...................................................................... 12 2.2.4 Legislative Responses to GBV and VAWC .............................................................. 14 2.2.5 Institutional Framework ......................................................................................... 16 2.2.6 The Role of Non-State Actors................................................................................. 17(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 1
  • 2. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia1 Background and Context1.1 Basic Country InformationThe Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE), is a land-locked country in north-eastern Africa. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest inthe world.1 The country is also noted for its pioneering role in the establishment ofinternational and regional inter-governmental organizations. Ethiopia was a member of theLeague of Nations, a founding member of both the United Nations and the OAU. Theheadquarters of many regional organizations including the former OAU, current AU and theUNECA are located in the capital Addis Ababa.Geographically, the country covers a land area of 1,133,380 sq km (437,600 sq mi) of which0.7% is covered by water bodies. It shares international borders with Somalia and Djibouti inthe east, Eritrea on the north, Kenya on the south, and Sudan in the west.2 Ethiopia’s climaticconditions vary from cool temperate highlands over 2,500 meters above sea level, moderatewarm lands lying between 1500 to 2500 meters above sea level as well as hot lowlands lyingbelow 1500 meters.The recent political history of Ethiopia covers a turbulent transition from a feudal state to adecade and half of military rule finally culminating in an emerging democratic system in thelast fifteen years or so. Currently, the country has a federal system of government consistingof a federal government, nine ethnically-based regions, and two federal cities, Addis Ababaand Dire Dawa.3 It is further subdivided into 550 woredas and six special woredas. Recently,the Addis Ababa City Administration was re-organized in ten Sub-City Administrations.Ethiopia is a populous country with an estimated total population of around 77 million. It isthe second most populous country in Africa next to Nigeria.4 Among the total number62,895,000 (83.8%) are estimated to be living in rural areas while 12,172,000 (16.2%) live incities and towns. According to the latest official reports issued in 2006, an estimated 43.7%(male 16,373,718; female 16,280,766) of the population is believed to be between 0-14 years,53.6% (male 19,999,482; female 20,077,014) 15-64 years, and 2.7% (male 929,349; female1,117,652) 65 years and over. Current estimates put the proportion of children in the1 Pankhurst, Richard K.P. Addis Tribune, "Lets Look Across the Red Sea I", January 17, 2003.2 Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, Standard Edition, 20063 The status of Dire Dawa as a federal city administration is not confirmed in the Constitution.4 Central Statistical Authority, Statistical Abstract 2005, P. 20: The latest census for which figures are available was performed in 1994; this figure is the July 2006 official estimate. The CIA World Fact Book (2006) puts the population at 74,777,981 while UNICEF (mid-2005) estimates are 77,431,000.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 2
  • 3. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopiapopulation at a little more than half (more than 51%).5 The sex ratio at birth is 1.03male(s)/female, 1.01 male(s)/female under 15 years, 1 male(s)/female for 15-64 years, and 0.83male(s)/female for 65 years and over.The population is growing at an estimated rate of 2.31% with a birth rate of 37.98 births/1,000and a death rate of 14.86 deaths/1,000 population (2006). With this growth rate, Ethiopia’spopulation is expected to be 100 million by 2018 and 130 million by 2030. Life expectancy atbirth is 49.03 years for the total population, 47.86 years for male, and 50.24 years forfemale.6 The total fertility rate is 5.22 children born per woman.Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world today characterized by very low macro-economic, social and demographic indicators7. In 2003/2004 the country recorded anunprecedented GDP Growth of 11.6% mainly because agricultural production improvedsignificantly following two consecutive drought years (2001/02-2002/03).8 Official statisticsreleased by the government as well as international organizations show similarly high ratesof growth in subsequent years. The growth registered during the last three years averaged10.7 percent.9 The largest contributor to GDP growth was agriculture, which accounted forapproximately 42% of the total GDP.10However, despite improvements in the economic situation in the country, a recent reportindicated that 23% of the population of the country still lives on less than one US dollar aday.11 According to the same report, income per capita in Ethiopia is also one of the lowestin the world at around 160 dollars. The Human Development Index for 2006 ranked Ethiopia170 out of the 177 countries while the Human Poverty Index ranks the country 92 out of 95.121.2 Socio-Economic Context1.2.1 Health(i) Health Services Institution 2002 2003 2004 2005 20065 UNICEF, 2007: Around 39,792,000 of the estimated total population of 77,431,000 or around 51.4% are reported to be below 18 years.6 45.5 UNDP 2004 and 46 UNICIEF 20037 UNICEF ranked Ethiopia 169th among 192 countries on the basis of under-five mortality rates in 2005.8 Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED), Development Planning and Research Department (DPRD), Annual Progress Report (2003/04), Addis Ababa, March 2005.9 MOFED, Dec. 200610 OECD, 200611 UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children, 200712 Government of Ethiopia-UNICEF: Country Programme Action Plan, 2007-2011(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 3
  • 4. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in EthiopiaHospitals 115 119 126 131 138Health Centers 412 451 519 600 635Health Stations 2452 2396 1797 1662 1206Non-Profit Clinics 480Private Clinics 1235 1229 1299 1578 1761Health Posts 1311 1432 2899 4211 5881Pharmacies 311 302 275 276 246Drugstores 309 299 375 381 469Rural Drugstores 1856 1888 1783 1787 1754Source: Federal Ministry of Health, November 2007Professional Medical/Health Care Staff Qualifications 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006Medical Doctors 188 2032 1996 2453 2115Health Officers 484 631 683 776 715Nurses 12838 14160 15544 18809 17845Health Assistants 8149 6856 6628 6363 4800Paramedical 3824 4641 5215 6259 5431Health Extension 2737 8901Source: Federal Ministry of Health, November 2007(ii) HIV/AIDSHIV was first detected in Ethiopia in blood stored for transfusion collected in 1984 and thefirst two AIDS cases were reported in 1986.13 Since then, the prevalence rate hascontinuously increased until the year 2000 subsequently showing signs of decreasing. Thenational HIV prevalence in 2005 is estimated to be 3.5%, 3 % among males and 4% amongfemales. There were an estimated 1.32 million PLWHA.Ethiopia ranks among most heavily affected countries in terms of national adult prevalencerate and the number of people living with HIV/AIDS. According to current UNAIDS estimatesEthiopia hosts the fifth largest number of people living with the virus globally and it isexpected that this number will rise to 7 to 10 million by the year 2010.1413 Federal Ministry of Health/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, AIDS in Ethiopia: Sixth Report, HAPCO and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office in Ethiopia, June 200614 UNAIDS (2006), p.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 4
  • 5. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in EthiopiaWhile the estimated national prevalence rate has plateued and declined, the currentprevalence rate is still considered to be high. This is particularly true if we take into accountthe actual number of people living with the virus or dying of AIDS. It was estimated that in2005, a total of 137,500 new AIDS cases, 128, 900 new HIV infections (353 a day) and 134,500(368 a day) AIDS deaths (including 20,900 in children [<15 years]) occurred.15 Moreover, theHIV/AIDS pandemic has had substantial negative impact on the already vulnerable socio-economic condition of the country.(iii) Child Health and NutritionIn 2005, Infant mortality rate stood at 77 and under-five mortality rate was 123 per thousandlive births showing a decline of 20.6 percent and 25.9 percent respectively within five years. 16Routine immunization coverage has similarly increased from 52% to 69% in the three years.According to the DHS – 2005, the overall prenatal mortality rate is 37 still births per 1000 livebirths down from 52 still births per 1,000 live births in the 2000 DHS. Despite theseimprovements, one in thirteen children born in Ethiopia does not survive to celebrate its firstbirth day, and one in every eight children dies before its fifth birth day. Moreover, there aresignificant regional variations in infant and under five mortality that reflect regionaldisparities, urban rural differences and educational and wealth levels.At country level, the share of children that suffer from stunting (chronic malnutrition) andwasting (acute malnutrition) stood at 47% and 11% while 38% percent were under weight in2004 (DHS, 2005). Both DHS and WMS results show that rural children are consistently morestunted, underweight and wasted than their urban counterparts. Nutritional status alsovaries greatly by region.Child Health Indicators15 FMOH/HAPCO (2006), p. 616 CSA, ORC Macro: Ethiopia, Demographic and Health Survey (2005), August 2006(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 5
  • 6. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia Year Mortality Rates Rate of Malnutrition Infant Mortality Child Mortality Wasting Stunting Under weight2003 96.8 140.1 10.50% 51.50% 47.50%2004 96.8 140.1 10.50% 51.50% 47.50%2005 77 123 48.30% 46.90% 37.10%Source: Ethiopian Government Response to the CRC Committee August 2006WMS reports show a consistent decline in malnutrition over time; with a tremendousdecrease in stunting in both urban and rural areas. For instance, the rate of stunting in urbanareas fell from 58% in 1996 to 30% in 2004 and from 67% to 48% in rural areas. 17(iv) Maternal HealthThe total fertility rate for Ethiopia for the period 2003-2005 was 5.4 births per woman.However, there are significant disparities among regions (6.2 in Oromia and 1.4 in AddisAbaba.), by residence (2.4 in urban versus 6.0 for rural areas), and education (2.0 amongthose with at least secondary schooling versus 6.1 among those with no schooling).Fertility has fallen substantially among all age groups over the past two decades in part dueto increasing use of contraceptives. There has been a decline in fertility from 6.4 births perwoman in the 1990 National Family and Fertility Survey (NFFS) to 5.4 births in the 2005 DHS,a one-child drop in the past 15 years. According to FMoH data, contraceptive prevalence ratereached 36% in 2005/06 compared to 25% in 2004.In 2004, the majority of children under five (58%) had been born assisted by a traditionalbirth attendant (TBA). At country level; only 11% had been attended during delivery by eithera delivery nurse; trained traditional birth attendant (TTBA) or other health personnel (7% inrural and 53% in urban). The proportion of children born attended by trained personnel ishighest in Addis Ababa (76%); while in rural areas it ranges from 4% in Afar to 25% in Harari.One-fourth of rural women and roughly 10 percent of urban women were found to havebeen self-assisted during delivery meaning they had no one to assist them with delivery. TheMoH estimates that only about 15.1% of deliveries are attended by a skilled provider.According to DHS 2005, an overwhelming majority of births (94 percent) were delivered athome, compared to 95% in the DHS 2000. Five percent of births were delivered in a publicfacility and less than one percent of births were delivered in a private facility. In rural areas17 CSA: Welfare Monitoring Survey, 2004(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 6
  • 7. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia97 percent of deliveries are in the home, while in urban areas 57% of women gave birth athome.Maternal Health Indicators ANC Delivery FP2003 27.4 9.0 21.52004 40.8 9.5 232005 42.0 12.4Source: Ethiopian Government Response to the CRC Committee August 2006DHS 2005 estimates that the maternal mortality ratio for Ethiopia for the period 1998-2004was 673 deaths per 100,000 live births (or alternatively 7 deaths per 1000 live births). Thetrue MMR for 2005 ranges from 548 to 799.1.2.2 Education(i) Early Childhood Care and EducationIn 2005/06 out of the estimated 6,959,935 children of the appropriate age group (4-6) about186,728 children have been reported to have access to pre-primary education in 1,794kindergartens all over the country. Since these data do not cover all schools (data fromsome NGO schools are not captured) total enrolment could be a little higher than the abovefigure. The Gross Enrollment Rate (GER) for kindergarten level is 2.7% in 2005/06 which is alittle higher than the previous year’s 2.3%. This means, 97.3 % of the eligible children at theselevel do not have access to pre-primary education. The level of enrollment is therefore,negligible when compared to the appropriate age group.The highest and the lowest GER for this level are shared by Addis Ababa (40.3%) and Afar(0.5%) respectively. With the exception of Harari, Dire Dawa, Benishangul-Gumuz andSNNPR, all other regions have GER less than the National average (2.7%). This clearly showsnot only the regional disparity in access to this level of education, but also that a lot remainsto be done in this area in the future.Taking teacher qualification as one of the quality indicators, the 2004/05 data shows that21.2% of teachers are not trained to teach at this level. The share of untrained teachers was(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 7
  • 8. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia26% in 2003/04, which shows an increase of 4.8 percentage points in the share of trainedteachers in one year.(ii) Primary EducationThe number of primary schools has increased from 10,394 in 1996/97 to 16,078 in 2004/05,which is an increase of 54.7%. In 2005/06 the number has reached 19,412 and the averageannual growth rate is 12.6%. More than 85% of the new primary schools were constructed inthe rural areas. As a result of wider availability, the primary school enrollment reached 11.4million in 2004/05. Gross Enrollment at Primary (1-8) Year Male Female Both GG by GER2002/03 74.6 53.8 64.4 20.82003/04 77.4 59.1 68.4 18.32004/05 88.0 71.5 79.8 16.52005/06 92.9 (98.6)18 78.5 (93.9) 85.8 (91.3) 14.4 (4.7)2006/07 (98.1) (85.1) (91.7) (13.0)Source: MoE Statistics Annual Abstract (2007) and MoE, September 2007The GER at national level has been increasing continuously reaching 91.7% in 2006. On theother hand, the gender gap by GER has been decreasing except for the 2006/07 academicyear. Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at Primary (1-8) Year Male Female Both GG by NER 2002/03 60.6 47.2 54.0 13.4 2003/04 62.9 51.8 57.4 11.1 2004/05 73.2 63.6 68.5 9.6 2005/06 81.7 73.2 73.9 8.5Source: MoE Statistics Annual Abstract (2007)The five years data on primary enrollment rates shows an increasing trend for both boys andgirls. However, the regional gap in the GER and NER at primary level is still very wide,especially in terms of girls’ participation. Though the gender disparity of NER was lowered18 The figures for 2005/06 and 2006/07 include Alternative Basic Education(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 8
  • 9. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopiaevery year at national level it is still high in favor of boys in 2005/06. The gender gap was infavor of girls only in two regions, Addis Ababa and Tigray.(iii) Secondary EducationThe number of secondary schools has grown from 455 in 2001/02 to 835 in 2005/06 with anannual growth rate of 16.4%. In 2005/06, 1,066,423 students were enrolled in secondary 1stcycle (grades 9-10). Out of the total enrollment, 387,707 (36.4%) were girls. Gross Enrollment at Secondary Level 1st Cycle (9-10) 2nd Cycle (10-11) Year Male Female Both GG Male Female Both GG2004/05 34.6 19.8 27.3 14.8 3.3 1.3 2.3 2.02005/06 41.6 24.5 33.2 17.1 5.7 2.0 3.9 3.72006/07 44.7 27.4 36.2 17.3 7.0 3.5 5.3 3.6Source: MoE Statistics Annual Abstract (2007) and MoE, September 2007In 2006/07 the national GER at secondary level reached 36.2% for first cycle and 5.3% forsecond cycle following a trend of annual increases. In the past six years, the GER at the firstcycle of secondary (9-10) showed an increase of 16.3 percentage points (23.3 and 12.7percentage points for boys and girls respectively). Similar increase was observed in thesecond cycle though with more limited rate. However, the gender gap increased in favor ofboys through out except for a 0.1% decrease at the second cycle in 2006/07. Net Enrollment Rate (NER) at Secondary (9-10) Year Male Female Both GG by NER 2002/03 10.1 6.7 8.4 3.4 2003/04 12.0 7.5 9.8 4.5 2004/05 14.2 9.3 11.8 4.9 2005/06 15.5 10.7 13.2 4.8Source: MoE Statistics Annual Abstract (2007)The NER of the first cycle of secondary (9-10) reached 13.2% in 2005/06 showing a 5.8percentage point increase in five years. Despite these improvements, the gender gap hasshown a continuous increase except for 2005/06.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 9
  • 10. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia2 GBV and VAWC2.1 Prevalence of GBV and VAWCThough gender relations seem to have generally changed for the better in Ethiopia,conventional biased gender perception and attitudes have by no means disappeared. Thishas led to a high prevalence of gender based violence as well as violence against women andchildren. Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs), particularly FGM/FGC (73.0 per cent), earlymarriage (median age of marriage 17 years in rural Ethiopia) and the practice of abductionare widespread.19 A study covering four regional states found that nearly 27% of rural womenin Tigray, 48% in Amhara, 13% in Oromia and 7% in SNNPR were married before the age of 15while urban marriages before 15 years are fewer (19 percent in Tigray, 28 percent in Amhara,10 percent in Oromia, and 14 percent in SNNPR).20 The same study also indicated a highpercentage of women are married between 15 and 17 in all regions.Furthermore, due to the socio-economic condition in the country, attitudes about childhoodand the existence of numerous harmful traditional practices, Ethiopian women and childrenare vulnerable to all forms of physical, psychological and sexual violence including rape,abduction and trafficking in women and children.Official crime statistics released by federal and state police authorities show that sexualoutrage (child sexual abuse) and rape are the most prevalent offences as well as being onthe increase.21 Even these reports only account for a small proportion of the actualprevalence since incidents of sexual violence are not reported in many cases. There are alsoreports of trends showing increasing incidences of trafficking in women and children forsexual purposes, child prostitution and forced prostitution in and outside of the country.2219 UNFPA Ethiopia, 200720 Berhan Research and Development Consultancy, Ethiopia: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices in Family Planning, Pathfinder International and USAID, June 2005, p. 1321 Crime statistics is organized along the forms of crime rather than the profile of the victims. Yet, the nature of the crimes of sexual outrage and rape clearly indicate that at least the overwhelming majority of victims are women and girls (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, National Action Plan on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (2006 - 2010), December 2005, pp. 9 - 10)22 See: MoLSA, National Action Plan on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (2006 - 2010), December 2005; IOM, Assessment of the Magnitude of Trafficking in Women and Children Within and Outside Ethiopia, 2006; and WVE, Trafficking in Children from Chenca, 2006(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 10
  • 11. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in EthiopiaEthiopia also has a large number of orphans and vulnerable children. In 2005, it wasestimated that there were a total of 4,885,337 orphans aged 0-17 years; of these, 744,100were AIDS orphans23. In 1996, UNICEF estimated that there were about 150,000 children onthe street and that they were increasing by as many as 5,000 a year. More than 30% of girlsaged 10-14 in Addis Ababa are not living with their parents.Partly as a result of the high levels of prevalence of violence against women and girls,Ethiopian women and girls represent a disproportionately high share of PLWHA in thecountry. According to official reports, the rate of infection among females is one percenthigher than that among males.24 The picture becomes even grimmer if we consider the mostaffected age group. Women and girls account for more than three-fourth (76.45%) ofEthiopian PLWHA between the ages of 15 and 24.252.2 Response to GBV and VAWC2.2.1 The FDRE ConstitutionThe 1995 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia has an in-built mechanism ofincorporating international laws as it has provisions which makes all internationalagreements ratified by Ethiopia part of the law of the land. Accordingly, courts can and douse the texts of international human rights instruments ratified by Ethiopia as basis for theirdecisions. Article 13/2 of the constitution has a specific provision for international humanrights instruments such as the UNCRC, UNDHR, ICCPR, and ICESER which also providestandards for the interpretation of the Constitution in matters related to fundamentalhuman rights. In addition, Article 35 and 36 of the Constitution explicitly recognize the rightsof women and children.Article 35 of the Constitution is devoted to the rights of women and contains severalprovisions covering important rights of women. These include equal protection of the law,23 Ministry of Health/National HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (2006), Aids in Ethiopia, Sixth Report, Addis Ababa24 Federal Ministry of Health/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, AIDS in Ethiopia: Sixth Report, HAPCO and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office in Ethiopia, June 200625 The actual numbers are: of the 289,600 persons in this age group, 221,400 are female while 68,200 are male (Federal Ministry of Health/HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office, AIDS in Ethiopia: Sixth Report, HAPCO and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office in Ethiopia, June 2006)(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 11
  • 12. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopiaequality in marital affairs, entitlement to affirmative measures, protection from HTPs,maternity rights in employment, the right to consultation, property rights, employmentrights, and access to family planning information and services.Article 36 of the Constitution explicitly recognizes the rights of the child to life, name andnationality, to know and be cared for by parents or legal guardians, to be protected fromlabor exploitation and not to be forced to undertake work that may harm his or hereducation, health and well-being, to be free from harsh or inhuman punishment that may beinflicted on his body, in schools or child care institutions. Article 36(2) of the Constitutiongoes beyond recognition of specific child rights and incorporates the principle of bestinterest of the child. This provision provides that the best interest of the child shall be theprimary consideration in all actions concerning children by public institutions, courts of law,administrative authorities or legislative bodies.2.2.2 Ratification of International InstrumentsEthiopia has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on theElimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Other relevant humanrights instruments ratified by Ethiopia include the Convention for the Suppression of theTraffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, the InternationalCovenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights, the ILO Conventions No. 29 (Forced Labour), No. 182 (Prohibition andImmediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour), No.138 (MinimumAge Convention), No. 181 (The Private Employment Agencies Convention), No. 105 (TheAbolition of Forced Labour Convention), and No. 111 (Discrimination in Employment andOccupation).2.2.3 Policy Responses to GBV and VAWCThe most relevant policy response to violence against women and children in Ethiopia is theNational Policy on Ethiopian Women, which was adopted in 1993. The objectives of thepolicy are:  To facilitate conditions conducive to the speeding up of equality between men and women so that women can participate in the political, social, and economic life of their country on equal terms with men, ensuring that their right to own property as well as their other human rights are respected and that they are not excluded from(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 12
  • 13. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia the enjoyment of the fruits of their labour or from performing public functions and being decision makers;  To facilitate the necessary condition whereby rural women can have access to basic social services and to ways and means of lightening their workload; and  To eliminate, step by step, prejudices as well as customary and other practices, that are based on the idea of male supremacy and to enable women to hold public office and to participate in the decision-making process at all levels.The National Policy on Ethiopian Women has addressed the issue of HTPs, which representan important form of VAWC, in its preamble, objectives and implementation strategies. Italso refers to creating awareness about and access to basic health care and reproductivehealth information and services.Moreover, women’s rights and child rights concerns are addressed in the various policydocuments on related matters. One among these instruments is the Developmental andSocial Welfare Policy (1996) which, among other objectives, aims at implementinginternational standards relating to the welfare of children. The Cultural Policy of Ethiopiaalso addresses the issue of eradicating harmful traditional practices affecting women andchildren. Similarly, the National Youth Policy, National Education Policy, and the Policy onhave dealt with issues of direct relevance to women’s and children’s rights.In addition to these policy documents, a set of national action plans relevant to thepromotion and protection of women and children are in existence. These include theNational Plan of Action on Orphans and Vulnerable Children (2004 – 2006), the National Planof Action for Children (2003 – 2010) and the National Action Plan on Sexual Abuse andExploitation of Children (2006 - 2010). The development of national plans of action on childlabor and Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems is underway.The National Plan of Action for Children for the period 2003 – 2010 and beyond, which wasissued in June 2004, was preceded by a National Programme of Action for Children andWomen issued in 1995 and implemented between 1996 and 2000. Based on an assessmentof the implementation of the National Programme of Action for Children and Women (1996 -2000) and informed by the UN Special Session on Children, the National Plan of Action forChildren (2003 – 2010) focused on four areas: promoting healthy lives, providing qualityeducation, protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence, and combating HIV/AIDS.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 13
  • 14. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in EthiopiaThe National Plan of Action also identified specific and quantified targets, strategies andactivities in relation to each of the focal areas as well as assessing financial, institutional andother implementation issues. The assessment of the previous NPACW and development ofthe National Plan of Action involved a broad spectrum of stakeholders including federal,regional and local government structures, law enforcement, international and indigenousNGOs, community leaders, teachers, parents and children. Among children, street childrenand primary school students were given particular attention.In December 2005, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs issued a National Plan of Actionon Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (2006 - 2010). The Plan of Action has theoverall goal of improving the realization of the rights of all Ethiopian children to beprotected from sexual abuse and exploitation and to have access to legal, psychosocial andmedical services as well as information necessary for their protection and rehabilitation. Tothis end, the document has identified four areas of intervention: prevention, protection,rehabilitation and reintegration, and coordination and monitoring. The NPA was initiatedand prepared within the framework the National Steering Committee against Sexual Abuseand Exploitation of Children representing a diverse profile of child rights actors. Childrenwere also involved in the process through a series of group discussions and personalobservations involving various groups of children including children living and working onthe street, trafficked children and children living in prostitution.2.2.4 Legislative Responses to GBV and VAWCEthiopia has taken some major steps to harmonize its domestic laws with the provisions ofinternational human rights instruments including the CEDAW and the CRC. These effortsstarted with the adoption of the Federal Constitution. . The Constitution contains provisionsfor the domestication of international human rights agreements and specificallyincorporates women’s and children’s rights. Moreover, the rights of women and childrenincluding protection from GBV/VAWC are among the issues given much attention inlegislative reform since the adoption of the FDRE Constitution in 1995. The causes andmanifestations of various forms of violence against women have been extensivelyaddressed in many of the new laws among which the Revised Family Code (2000), theCriminal Code (2005), and the Labor Proclamation (Proclamation No. 377/2003) are goodexamples.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 14
  • 15. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia(i) The Revised Family CodeThe revised family code of July 2000, which replaces the provisions of the Civil Code of 1960relating to marriage and the family, contains provisions that are more consistent with theprovisions of the Constitution in relation to minimum marriageable age, freedom ofmarriage, and equal rights of the spouses before, during and after marriage.An important feature of the Revised Family Law is the prohibition of marriage by abduction,early marriage and bigamy. However, the most significant contribution of the revised FamilyCode is the setting of minimum marriageable age for girls at 18. This review of marriageableage for girls, besides being important by itself, has contributed to the extension of fullprotection from sexual outrage under the penal code to the same age levelThe revised Family Code has also incorporated the principles of the best interests of thechild and child participation. Article 113 of the Code directs the court to take into account theage and interests of the children in determining the custody and maintenance of childrenupon the dissolution of marriage. Similarly, the provisions of the Code on adoption and theappointment and removal of guardians and tutors direct the Court to consult the child andseriously consider the childs opinions. In addition, the Code imposes an obligation on thefederal government to establish the institutional structure for birth (or vital) registration.(ii) The Criminal CodeThe Penal Code is another important legislation that has been revised to harmonizedomestic laws with international human rights agreements with important implications forthe response to violence against women and children. The new Criminal Code, which cameinto force in May 2005, criminalizes most forms of violence against women and childrenincluding rape (article 620-628), trafficking in women and children (article 597 and 635),prostitution of another for gain (article 634) and physical violence within marriage or in anirregular union (article 564). The prohibitions also extend to HTPs in general with specificprovisions on abduction (article 587-590), female genital mutilation (article 565 and 566),early marriage (article 649), bigamy (article 650) and endangering the lives of or causingbodily injury to pregnant women and children (article 561-563).In addition to criminalizing forms of VAW hereto not covered by the criminal law, theCriminal Code has also redefined the elements of some existing offences, added aggravating(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 15
  • 16. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopiacircumstances and revised the penalties applicable in cases of violation. New provisions onconcurrence of offences and the liability of institutions have also been included.(iii) Employment LawsThe Labor Law Proclamation number 377/2003 explicitly prohibits the employment ofchildren below the age of 14 years and provides for special protections for children between14 and 18 years. The proclamation has prohibited the employment of young workers forwork which on account of its nature or due to the conditions in which it is carried outendangers the life or health of the young workers performing it. The proclamation alsoprovides for normal, night and overtime work by young workers. Article 90 provides that thenormal hours of work for young workers shall not exceed seven hours a day. Theemployment of young workers for night work, overtime work, work on weekly rest days andon public holidays is prohibited under article 91 of the proclamation. Furthermore this lawrequires the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to prescribe the schedules of dangerousoperations that are harmful to the health of working children.Though more limited in scope, the private employment agency proclamation issued asproclamation number 104/1998 also has direct contributions to the national response toviolence against women. The proclamation, which regulates the activities of privateemployment agencies for local as well as foreign employment, puts in place a mandatorylicensing arrangement enforced with serious imprisonment and fines. Through this licensingarrangement as well as provisions for monitoring and supervision, the proclamation seeks toprotect employees who are mostly woman or girl victims of trafficking and other forms ofviolence against women.2.2.5 Institutional FrameworkThe Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and Ombudsman institution were established bylaw in 2000 and the Human Rights Commissioner and Ombudsman have been appointed in2004. Both offices have special sections focusing on the rights of women and children. Sincecommencing operations in 2005, the offices have been conducting various activities to raiseawareness on human rights, build institutional capacity, monitor detention centers, andgenerally ensure compliance with constitutional and international human rights instruments.Since taking over the responsibility to coordinate and oversee the implementation of thisframework in 2005, the newly established Ministry of Womens Affairs (MoWA) has been(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 16
  • 17. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopiaengaged in institutional formation and capacity building activities with a view to developingthe organizational resources necessary to undertake its duties. The past year has seen theincreasingly active involvement of the Ministry of Womens Affairs in more practical action ininitiating, coordinating and monitoring gender responsive development parallel to capacitybuilding efforts. The Ministry of Womens Affairs has become a more active actor in bringingkey stakeholders/actors on board.The institutional capacity building activities of the Ministry as well as its increased practicalcommitment have brought about manifest progress in addressing remaining challenges toending gender violence. As part of its efforts to establish and strengthen women’s affairsstructures at the regional and local levels, women’s affairs structures became members ofWoreda26 cabinets in many regions. The results have been particularly encouraging inenhancing the representation of women in a key decision making structure and creatingopportunities to prioritize GBV, VAWC and other gender issues.2.2.6 The Role of Non-State ActorsA large number of non-state actors representing a broad profile of organizations areworking to improve the situation of the rights of women and children in Ethiopia at variouslevels in collaboration with the government and government agencies. These include UNagencies, Inter-Governmental Organizations, international NGOs, indigenous NGOs,community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) women’sassociations, childrens organizations and youth associations. These organizations usedifferent approaches including awareness raising, conducting researches and surveys,advocacy and lobbying, and community based development initiatives. Important areas ofengagement for non-state actors are: awareness raising and advocacy initiatives that aim at change of laws and practices at the formal and non-formal level; capacity building support to judicial, law enforcement and other structures involved in prevention and protection; and26 Woredas are local government structures responsible for allocating and administering block budget grants. The Woreda cabinet is the executive body appointed by the elective Woreda Council. In Addis Ababa, the comparable structure is the Sub-City.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 17
  • 18. Notes on Gender Based Violence and Violence against Women/Children in Ethiopia providing support to vulnerable groups of women and children as well as victims of gender based violence and violence against women and children.The support provided by non-government organizations has been instrumental in thesuccessful revision of the family law and criminal law and the creation of child and victimfriendly justice structures.(January 2008)Ghetnet Metiku WoldegiorgisSocio-Legal ResearcherE-mail: gmgiorgis@gmail.com Page 18