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Ethiopia - Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under Article 44 of the Convention: Second periodic report of States parties due in 1998: Addendum [2000] UNCRCSPR 4; CRC/C/70/Add.7 (23 March 2000)




Convention on the
Rights of the Child


23 March 2000

Original: ENGLISH



Second periodic report of Ethiopia to States parties due in 1998* **

[28 September 1998]


* For the initial report of the Government of Ethiopia, see document CRC/C/8/Add.27; for its consideration by the Committee, see documents CRC/C/SR.349-351. The concluding observations of the Committee on the initial report are contained in document CRC/C/15/Add.67.

** The annexes referred to in the document may be consulted in the Secretariat’s files.

GE.00-41179 (E)


Paragraphs Page

List of acronyms 3

Introduction 1 - 6 4


A. Measures taken to harmonize national law and policy
with the provisions of the Convention 7 - 10 5

B. Existing or planned mechanisms at national or local level
for coordinating policies relating to children and for
monitoring the implementation of the Convention 11 - 14 6

C. Measures taken to publicize the Convention 15 - 26 9








A. Children in especially difficult circumstances 64 - 69 24

B. Services for displaced children 70 - 74 26

C. Children in conflict with the law 75 - 83 27

D. Children in situations of exploitation 84 - 95 29

IX. CONCLUSION 96 - 98 31

Statistical annex 33

List of acronyms

ANPPCAN-Ethiopia African Network for the Prevention of and Protection Against
Child Abuse and Neglect-Ethiopia
CRDA Christian Relief and Development Association
CSA Central Statistical Authority
CYFAD Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department
EPC Ethiopian Penal Code
FDRE Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
FGM Female genital mutilation
FSCE Forum on Street Children - Ethiopia
HTP Harmful traditional practices
IEC Information, education and communication
IMR Infant Mortality Rate
MMR Maternal Mortality Rate
MOA Ministry of Agriculture
MOE Ministry of Education
MOH Ministry of Health
MOIC Ministry of Information and Culture
MOJ Ministry of Justice
MOLSA Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
NCTPE National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia
NPA National Programme of Action
PHC Primary Health Care
SNNPR Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region
TBA Traditional birth attendant
TT2 Tetanus Toxoid


1. The present periodic report for the period 1994-1998 was prepared pursuant to the provisions of article 44.1 (b) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department (CYFAD) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs with the collaboration of the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice, Information and Culture and the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation and with the participation of key nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working on child rights.

2. As stipulated in article 44.3, this report does not deal with basic information provided earlier but focuses on the implementation of the Convention and difficulties encountered therein. As suggested by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child at its fourteenth session, information on the suggestions and recommendations of the Committee are incorporated in the relevant sections of this report.

3. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has implemented a five-year development programme which is based on the gains made during the transition period in the economic and social sectors. Owing to the implementation of the macroeconomic and social policies formulated during the transition period, the economy has shown marked improvement.

4. The declining economic growth rate has been halted and in spite of the occurrence of drought and other natural disasters (flood) within the period under consideration, the rate of inflation has gone down from 10 per cent (1992/93) to -6.9 per cent in 1996/97 (Ethiopian Herald - speech of the Prime Minister, 1997). This is cited in order to indicate the level of change in policy implementation and its results and not to mask or belittle the deep-seated socioeconomic and cultural problems which are still widely prevalent and not amenable to rapid changes despite all the good intentions and correct policy orientations of the Government.

5. One of the principal subjects of concern (CRC/C/15/Add.67, para. 12) of the Committee as well as the Government is the question of poverty and its negative effects on the situation of children. In this respect, within available resources and to the extent possible, the Government has made and still continues to make maximum efforts to implement poverty alleviation measures. Some of the salient features of these measures incorporated in the five-year development programme include the following: rapid development of the rural areas and attainment of self-sufficiency in food; provision of better inputs for agriculture; expansion of small-scale irrigation schemes; development of animal husbandry; conservation and protection of the natural environment; expansion of education and health care in rural areas; expansion of economic infrastructure, etc.

6. However, despite the adoption and implementation of relevant economic and social policy measures during the past five years, the challenges faced by the Government are still enormous. Nonetheless, through the actions it has taken so far the Government has amply demonstrated its commitment to the realization of the provisions of the Convention. The main factors hampering the implementation of the Convention are economic underdevelopment, scarcity of resources, limited administrative structures and certain traditional practices and customs. In this effort, it as had the continued support and assistance of international agencies and non-governmental organizations during the past years. Since the magnitude of some of the economic problems hampering implementation of the Convention is enormous, it welcomes the recommendation made by the Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning the organization of a meeting of international organizations working in the country, including agencies and organizations of the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations and competent national authorities, with the aim of assessing the needs for further international assistance with regard to the protection of the rights of the child.


A. Measures taken to harmonize national law and policy

with the provisions of the Convention

7. It was noted in the initial report to the Committee that with certain minor changes, the major Ethiopian laws and other policy instruments are by and large sufficient to implement the Convention, and that the necessary amendments would be worked out at a later stage. Accordingly a committee was established within the Ministry of Justice and is engaged in the revision of some provisions of the Civil and Penal Codes which run counter to the provisions of the Convention. Some of these are related to provisions for a different minimum age of marriage between girls and boys, corporal punishment of children, “light bodily punishment” as an educational measure, etc.

8. The minimum age of marriage for girls at 15 years has already been contested by regional women’s organizations at a conference held at Mekele with the explicit purpose of recommending the revision of legal provisions which negate the rights of women and children enshrined in the Constitution of the FDRE, the Convention and other relevant United Nations conventions adopted by the Government of the FDRE. Some of the major issues discussed at this conference were related to property rights of women, early marriage of female children and rape. The conference participants unanimously recommended that the minimum marriageable age of young females, set at 15 years by article 581 (1) of the Civil Code, should be raised, and that it should be the same for both young males and females. It was strongly recommended that the punishment for persons who commit rape, which is a serious offence, should be made more severe and the relevant articles in the Penal Code amended accordingly. Furthermore, the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association has conducted awareness-raising campaigns on such issues several times.

9. In short, there has been willingness on the part of the Government to amend such provisions and the recommendation of the Committee (para. 27) are being addressed. Finalization will obviously follow existing procedures of presenting the draft amendments to the legal committee and later to the House of People’s Representatives. Meanwhile, corporal punishment has been forbidden in schools by a directive issued by the MOE. This is an interim measure which vividly shows the positive attitude of the Government towards the amendment of some provisions that are incompatible with the Convention and the Constitution of the FDRE.

10. During the period under review, the Developmental Social Welfare Policy prepared by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has been adopted by the House of People’s Representatives. The policy gives utmost priority to the welfare of children and indicates broad policy directions and strategies such as communitybased approaches, planned and integrated methods of work and participation of the whole society in the implementation of developmental, preventive and rehabilitative social welfare programmes within the country. The strategy for implementing the policy has been elaborated and is being finalized.

B. Existing or planned mechanisms at national or local level for coordinating policies

relating to children and for monitoring the implementation of the Convention

11. Coordination between government institutions and NGOs is being strengthened through the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department and the National Inter-Ministerial Committee at the federal level and through the Child Rights Committees at the regional, zonal and woreda levels. With regard to combating child prostitution, coordination among NGOs is being promoted through the establishment of a National Steering Committee chaired by MOLSA and composed of relevant government institutions (MOH, MOE, MOJ, MOIC, Police Commission, Women’s Affairs Office in the Prime Minister’s Office), UNICEF, Save the Children Alliance, ANPPCAN and FSCE. The mandate of NGOs represented in the Steering Committee has been expanded recently to focus on further networking activities among government and non-government institutions.

12. The House of People’s Representatives organized a symposium at Debre Zeit (1997) with the aim of establishing a Human Rights Commission. The Commission, when established, is expected to be entrusted with the task of ensuring the observance of children’s rights. The action of the House of People’s Representatives, which is the highest legislative organ of the Government, is a positive development in favour of child rights and reinforces the recommendation of the Committee detailed in paragraph 25 of the concluding observations of the Committee.

13. After the Debre Zeit symposium a workshop was organized by the House of People’s Representatives. This workshop took place in Addis Ababa from 18 to 22 May 1998. At the workshop parliamentarians, representatives of the federal and regional governments, NGOs and international organizations presented preliminary papers on relevant topics such as:

(a) Children and other vulnerable groups (by MOLSA);

(b) Women and the benefits of the judicial system (by the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association);

(c) Human rights in Africa (by the Inter-Africa Group); and

(d) The role of a Human Rights Commission in the Ethiopian context (by Addis Ababa University).

During the following week (25-29 May 1998), an international conference on the “Establishment of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Institution of Ombudsman’s Office” took place. Relevant papers on various topics were presented, including “The place of child rights in

the human rights and ombudsman system” presented by Peter Newell, co-author of UNICEF’s implementation handbook for the Convention and Chairman of the Council of the Children’s Rights Development Unit in the United Kingdom.

14. The establishment of appropriate mechanisms for the regular and timely collection of data required for monitoring progress toward the goals of the World Summit for Children is duly considered within the implementation framework of the NPA. For this purpose, as well as for the purposes of assessing progress achieved in the implementation of the provisions of the Convention, baseline surveys incorporated within the NPA are being undertaken. For instance, the following studies have been conducted:

(a) A National Study on Child Abuse and Neglect was undertaken by MOLSA and Italian cooperation in 1995;

(b) A study on street children and dislocated families covering 25 major urban centres of the country conducted by MOLSA. The study report has been distributed to all regions that are engaged, both on their own and with technical assistance from the central Government, in implementing small-scale projects aimed at improving the welfare and livelihood of children in especially difficult circumstances;

(c) A local NGO has finalized a study on “Child Sexual Exploitation in Ethiopia: Law and Practice” (FSCE) and finalized a study on “Health and Psychosocial Aspects of Children Involved in Prostitution” in the Merkato area of Addis Ababa;

(d) Another local NGO (ANPPCAN-Ethiopia) undertook in 1994 a survey on the situation of child rights in Ethiopia, and in 1996, the same NGO conducted two studies, namely, “A Study on Child Labour in the Informal Sector of Three Selected Urban Areas” and “A Study on Child Abuse and Neglect in Addis Ababa Elementary Schools”;

(e) In 1994, a study on the complications of female genital mutilation (FGM) during labour was conducted in six hospitals and four health centres in Addis Ababa and four hospitals in Harer and Dire Dawa by the National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia (NCTPE). A group discussion on harmful traditional practices (HTPs) in general and FGM in particular was conducted and the results of the analysis have been compiled;

(f) A KAP (knowledge, attitude and practices) study on female circumcision covering all circumcisors and other persons in 40 kebeles (lowest administrative unit) in Addis Ababa was undertaken by the NCTPE in 1995. A study on the negative effects of childhood marriage and pregnancy covering 2,000 households in North Shewa, Wollo, Gojam and Gondar was undertaken in 1996. NCTPE also undertook a study, “Towards the development of community-defined strategies and intervention on the eradication of FGM and HTPs”, in four regions of eastern Ethiopia (Afar, Harari, Somali and Eastern Oromia) using participatory Rural Appraisal methods which is one of the components of a UNICEF-assisted project. The preliminary report was completed and the final report is under preparation;

(g) FSCE has collected information on programmes and services provided for disadvantaged children with the aim of providing adequate information that will help to improve interventions. Some of the research undertakings of FSCE were the following.

Topic Status

  1. Parental perspectives on mentally retarded children: improving Final stage
    the social environment of mentally retarded children

  1. The situation and trends of female street children: the case of Initial stage
    Addis Ababa

  1. Some correlates of drug abuse behaviour among street children: Initial stage
    the case of four urban centres

  1. Parenting style differences among selected ethnic groups Initial stage

  1. Child sexual abuse: a focus on causative factors and Final stage

  1. Female-headed households in Addis Ababa: survey on their Final stage
    socio-economic situation, and streetism and prostitution completed
    among their children (Jan. 1998)

Further studies are also planned by CYFAD and NGOs. All surveys provide baseline data which are needed for planning interventions as well as for monitoring and follow-up of programmes under implementation. This does not mean, however, that all areas covered by the Convention are treated nor that comprehensive adequate desegregated data for all groups of children are available. Hence the recommendation of the Committee (para. 26) is quite relevant and shall be taken up by the National Child Rights Committee monitoring the implementation of the Convention, which will have to review the data needs and request technical assistance from UNICEF and other sources for undertaking further studies and follow-up surveys on vulnerable groups of children;

(h) Action Research Training. FSCE has undertaken research training for grass-roots staff members of organizations engaged in child-focused activities. The training programme lasted two years, and was designed to equip project staff members assisting children with skills in problem identification, data-gathering, consolidation of information, analysis and recommendation implementation to effect improved performance of services being rendered for children. The data collection was done using participatory methods where the children, the families and the communities are active participants in matters affecting their lives so that programmes can be designed on the real and expressed needs of the children themselves. A total of 17 trainees drawn from 9 organizations participated in the training programme, which has helped the participants immensely in initiating, changing, monitoring and evaluating the programmes and services designed for children. Various training sessions have also been

conducted by CRDA and Participating Agencies Collaborating Together (PACT). For example, every year CRDA organizes about 30-35 training sessions and workshops that have direct and indirect impacts on children;

(i) An assessment of the training, research and information needs of both governmental and non-governmental child-oriented organizations was conducted by FSCE with the aim of finding out the priorities of the more than 50 organizations concerning their training, research and information needs. The findings of the assessment are being compiled and on this basis FSCE will prepare plans for the years to come in the area of training, research and documents and information related to children and family policies, programmes, proposals and success stories worth replicating. Currently, FSCE has over 500 copies of documents on children and child-related issues which are being used by staff members of child-oriented organizations with the aim of bringing about marked improvements in the living conditions of children in difficult circumstances;

(j) Training of social Development Agents is being undertaken by regional governments where subjects related to child welfare are part and parcel of the curriculum. The trainees are grass-roots workers in Amhara, Oromia and Tigrai regions.

C. Measures taken to publicize the Convention

15. Awareness-creating workshops, seminars and drama shows on the Conventions were arranged by government institutions, mainly CYFAD, for teachers, members of the police, students, youth, women, elected leaders of kebele administrations, religious leaders and community leaders. Various sensitization programmes were undertaken for the society at large through the mass media, mainly radio, television and daily papers.

16. The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs produces and disseminates monthly newsletters and a biannual publication entitled Yenegew Sew (The Future Generation). These two publications focus on child welfare. Another biannual newsletter, “Children’s voice”, is published by ANPPCAN-Ethiopia.

17. A number of sensitization workshops were conducted for judicial personnel, law enforcement officials, childcare personnel, social workers, medical personnel (e.g. the Association of Paediatricians) and the university community.

18. Although not yet formally included in the curriculum, the Convention has been widely disseminated to the school community. The school has been one of the priority areas for popularizing the Convention and over the years both government institutions and NGOs have given training on child rights to a large number of teachers and students in Addis Ababa and other regions. Workshops on the Convention were also conducted through the Regional Committees on the Convention on the Rights of the Child by sending teams to different places.

19. The Convention has been translated into 11 languages and into the official language (Amharic) and distributed to the regions.

20. The Ministry of Information and Culture has undertaken several activities aimed at publicizing the Convention. Some of these activities are summarized below.

1. The Press

21. The daily Amharic paper Addis Zemen gives one full page in its Sunday issue to popularizing the Convention and addresses other issues related to children and mothers. It also devotes half a column to population issues and covers child-related meetings, conferences, etc. through articles and news columns.

22. The Ethiopian Herald (English) and Beressa (Oromiffa) present half-page articles once weekly and Alalem (Arabic) twice weekly, on issues related to children and mothers.

2. Television

23. A biweekly 30-minute programme for children is screened in Amharic. The shows deal with topics addressed in the Convention such as child health, early marriage, exploitation, disability, etc. Drama and plays for children are screened occasionally at present, but the Television Enterprise plans to publicize each article of the Convention through drama and dialogue in the future. The Enterprise also screens educational programmes for youth once a week in three languages, i.e. Amharic (35 minutes), Oromiffa (25 minutes) and Tigrigna (20 minutes).

24. The police have a special TV programme every Sunday mainly on child abuse and neglect including child labour, trafficking, child prostitution and related topics.

3. Radio

25. Radio Ethiopia continues to air separate radio programmes for children, youth and women in collaboration with government institutions and NGOs. In addition, Radio Fana has weekly programmes for children in Amharic (20 minutes) and Oromiffa (20 minutes) and programmes for youth in Amharic (90 minutes) and Oromiffa (90 minutes). Thus it uses 220 minutes of air time weekly for its programmes for children and youth. These programmes are primarily educational with the Convention as a major component.

4. Formal educational radio programmes

No. programmes
In 12 national/nationality languages
Social Studies

1 122

Distance Education Radio Programmes: 320 programmes x 20 minutes = 106.6 hrs.

26. With respect to non-governmental organizations, several NGOs have carried out various activities aimed at promotion and dissemination of the principles and provisions of the Convention. NGOs have played a principal role in publicizing the Convention through workshops, publications, exhibitions, bazaars and direct approaches to lower administration units and the community at large. An overview of the major activities undertaken by selected NGOs in collaboration with government institutions is presented as follows:

(a) International NGOs, in particular Radda Barnen, Redd Barna and Save the Children (UK) work closely with MOLSA in publicizing the Convention through the mass media and various other means. In some regions, Radda Barnen is involved in intensive awareness-raising activities in elementary and high schools for the students and the school community;

(b) Workshops to raise the awareness of the public about the contents of the Convention were conducted by MOLSA, and Radda Barnen and Redd Barna-Ethiopia for members of relevant government institutions and local community organizations such as health workers, teachers, religious leaders, youth, women, etc.;

(c) As stipulated in its Constitution, ANPPCAN-Ethiopia has carried out in collaboration with MOLSA several awareness-raising activities that supplemented the efforts of concerned government organizations in the area of child rights and protection of children against abuse, neglect and exploitation. During the period 1994-1998, it has conducted a series of workshops for members of Child Rights Committees, school principals and teachers, health professionals, social workers, judges, prosecutors, policemen, journalists, religious leaders and representatives of organizations providing services for children in many parts of the country. Workshops were conducted for 572 participants - in four regional and four zonal towns in Region 14, Amhara State, SNNPR Oromia and Harari State and in North Shoa Zone, North and South Omo Zones, Dire Dawa Council, Eastern Harerghe Zone of Oromia and in North and South Gondar Zones. The promotion of child rights and prevention of child abuse and neglect require continuous dissemination of information and sensitization by all available means. ANPPCAN-Ethiopia has tried to explain the main principles and provisions of the Convention using simple and clear language with illustrations, through the following publications:

Publications issued by ANPPCAN-Ethiopia, 1994-1998

Published material
No. copies
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
Sept. 1994
Child-centred organizations and members of ANPPCAN
2 000
Three types of posters on corporal punishment, nutrition and the opinion of the child
July 1994
General public
9 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
July 1995
General public
2 000
Pictorial booklet on the main principles of the Convention
Nov. 1995
Child-centred organizations and schools
3 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
Nov. 1995
Child-centred organizations and members of ANPPCAN
2 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
June 1996
2 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
Dec. 1996
2 000
Republished pictorial booklet on the main principles of the Convention
Feb. 1997
3 000
Pamphlet on corporal punishment
June 1997
General public
2 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
June 1997
Child-centred organizations and members of ANPPCAN
2 000
Three types of posters in three different languages
Oct. 1997
General public
9 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
Dec. 1997
Child-centred organizations and members of ANPPCAN
3 000
Newsletter “Children’s Voice”
June 1998
3 000
Pictorial booklet
(a) English version
(b) the same booklet reprinted

March 1996
April 1998

NGOs and Gos

1 000
Pictorial booklet, Oromiffa version
June 1998
Oromiffa speakers
3 000

(d) In 1996 ANPPCAN-Ethiopia organized essay and drawing competitions on child rights. A total of 884 and 159 children respectively participated in the competition which was announced through radio and newspapers. The winners of the essay contest were awarded prizes on the occasion of the Day of the African Child (16 June 1996), whereas the winners of the drawing competition were awarded prizes in a special ceremony and selected drawings were displayed in an exhibition at CYFAD which was open to the public for five days. The best drawings were also used as illustrations in a calendar printed in 500 copies. A drawing competition on child rights, and child abuse was organized in June 1998 in which 528 children participated and the winners were awarded prizes. The best drawings were displayed for three days;

(e) A drama on child rights and child abuse and neglect was organized by ANPPCAN-Ethiopia in 1996, in cooperation with an amateur drama group. The drama was videotaped and the film televised to the public twice by Ethiopian Television;

(f) To meet its objectives of eradicating FGM and other HTPs, which are deep-rooted and widely prevalent in the country, the NCTPE undertook the following awarenesscreating workshops and seminars during 1994-1996:

− Awareness-creation seminars for 18,002 students in 14 high schools and 2 junior high schools outside Addis Ababa;

− Sensitization programme for the school community where 27,233 students in 12 high schools and 3 junior high schools in four regions (Region 4, SNNPR, Region 14 and Region 3) were sensitized. Participants were provided with posters, leaflets, brochures, booklets and NCTPE newsletters;

− The production of a documentary film on infibulation by ZDF of Munich - a known television agency - with the assistance and close collaboration of the NCTPE;

− Intensive seminars on HTPs for Red Cross Youth and extension agents in the MOA;

− Concerning HTPs, 28 different educational radio spots for schools and 4 weekend educational radio programmes for the general public were broadcast in nine local languages which is expected to cover 96 per cent of the school communities in the country. These programmes were aired by the 10 educational radio stations;

− A radio quiz programme for high school students sponsored by NCTPE was organized by the National Radio Enterprise. The programme was of great importance in sensitizing approximately 1,000 students on the spot and 56 million listeners of the programme;

− NCTPE produced different educational materials such as a video film on HTPs from the stage drama, a video film on early marriage, a montage video film, sound and slide show booklets in Amharic, Tigrigna and English, monographs I and II, several leaflets, newsletters, a brochure, poster, and sound and slide show in Amharic, Tigrigna and English;

− The “Child to Child” programme was introduced by NCTPE in two high schools in Addis Ababa;

(g) With regard to training on child rights during 1997 and 1998, ANPPCANEthiopia in collaboration with government institutions undertook training for 233 children and 290 teachers in 83 schools in Addis Ababa, and Child Rights clubs were established in 73 schools and 5 counselling committees were also formed. The clubs are engaged in sensitization of the rest of the school community using various methods;

(h) NCTPE has conducted Training Information campaigns aimed at socially influential target groups including religious leaders, community leaders, health workers, youth, women representatives, traditional birth attendants (TBAs), poets and artists at regional, zonal and woreda levels. Training of Trainers (TOT) was conducted for regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 14 and SNNPR. TOT covering 2,000 students in six teacher training institutes located in four regions (3, 4, 14 and SNNPR) was conducted in 1996. Follow-up, monitoring and evaluation of previous participants in training programmes were conducted in 7 zones (4 in Oromia region and 3 in Addis Ababa). NCTPE has established 10 regional branch offices that coordinate and undertake educational and sensitization programmes in their respective region. Thus, the suggestion of the Committee (para. 24) concerning training on the principles and rights enshrined in the Convention is being addressed by NGOs in collaboration with government institutions;

(i) In 1996, in order to participate actively in the implementation of the Convention, alongside the Government, an advocacy programme was started by HOPE (an indigenous NGO founded in 1971). The programme was designed to highlight the rights of children. Accordingly, in 1996 HOPE has taken the issue of child rights to the newspapers with nationwide distribution. In a featured article in the Reporter, the Amharic and English paper, HOPE addressed various concerns affecting various types of victimized children. A research-oriented quarterly publication, entitled “The Best Interest of the Ethiopian Child”, was launched in April 1997. The first issue focused on the development of child rights and the Convention in Ethiopia. It was reprinted by the Ethiopian Herald, the nation’s daily. In August the second issue, which focused on child prostitution in Ethiopia, was printed. The publication was circulated among 2,000 influential individuals in the country. The Ethiopian Herald again reprinted the article verbatim in series. The third issue, which discusses AIDS orphans, is ready for publication. Also in 1996 HOPE developed a lesson plan on the Convention for its schools from nursery to grade 8. In this exercise, care was taken to select what was appropriate for each grade and to design the implementation accordingly. After one year of experimentation, HOPE decided to include topics on child rights and present the same in social studies courses;

(j) The Convention has been incorporated in the curriculum of training centres for policemen and non-commissioned officers, and at the Police College for police officers. A training manual has been prepared and is being used by the training centers and the Police College;

(k) Efforts are being made by the Ministry of Education to include the Convention in the curricula of elementary schools, secondary schools and teacher training institutes.


27. The Civil Code of 1960 defines the word “child” as a “minor of either sex who has not attained the full age of 18 years”. This definition is compatible with that provided in the Convention. There are also other laws such as the Penal Code, Labour Law, etc. which fix various age levels for specific purposes defined by such laws. However, these laws do not affect the principle of attainment of majority established by the Civil Code.

28. For purposes of criminal liability, the Penal Code of 1957 classifies child offenders into three distinct age groups and prescribes distinct measures for their reform and rehabilitation. The first group, called “infants”, is totally exonerated from application of the penal law on ground of responsibility. According to article 52 of the Penal Code infants not having attained the age of 9 years are not criminally responsible for their acts and where an offence is committed by an infant appropriate steps may be taken by the family, school or guardianship authority to ensure their proper upbringing. The second group, addressed as “young persons” in the Penal Code, are children between the ages of 9 and 15 inclusive. For them, the Penal Code provides special punishments and measures upon conviction. They are not subject to the ordinary penalties applicable to adults nor shall they be kept in custody with adult offenders (art. 53). The third group is comprised of young persons between the ages of 15 and 18 and is treated under the ordinary provisions of the Penal Code as having the full prima facie liability of persons aged 18 and above (art. 56 (4)). However, the Penal Code provides that mitigation of the penalty is always permitted, the death penalty may never be imposed and, under certain conditions, the measures of the penalty scheme for young offenders be applied in toto (arts. 56 (2), 118 and 182);

29. There are several circumstances in which a child may be deprived of his liberty. According to the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code the following circumstances warrant deprivation of liberty of child offenders:

(a) Where the condition of the child offender involves a mental health problem, the court is bound to order his admission to a suitable institution (art. 162, Penal Code), where he is deprived of his liberty;

(b) School or home arrest where the offence is of small gravity;

(c) If the court finds that the character and disposition of the child offender is bad, it may exercise its discretion in ordering such child offender admitted to a special institution designed for the correction and rehabilitation of child offenders. According to article 167 of the Penal Code, the duration of the confinement cannot exceed five years and in no case be less than one year. The offender in a corrective institution should be provided with general, moral and vocational education;

(d) Supervised education where he is morally abandoned or is exposed to the danger of corruption;

(e) Where the application of curative, educational and corrective measures fail to bring about the reform and rehabilitation desired for the child offender, article 170 of the Penal Code authorizes the court to sentence the child offender. The sentence could be a fine, corporal punishment or imprisonment. Imprisonment as a penalty will not be ordered unless one of the special measures has been tried and has failed and it is also not mandatory and the court may impose merely a measure of one of the lesser penalties even where the conviction is for an offence defined as “serious”.

30. The penalty of imprisonment may be imposed when a young offender has committed a serious offence which is normally punishable with a term of rigorous imprisonment of 10 years or more or with capital punishment. In such a case, the court may order him to be sent:

(a) Either to a corrective institution where special measures for safety, segregation or discipline can be applied to him in the general interest; or

(b) To a penitentiary detention institution, by which is meant an ordinary prison, if the court finds the youth incorrigible and is likely to be a cause of trouble, insecurity, or corruption to others (art. 173 (1) EPC).

31. In imposing the imprisonment penalty, the court is expected to determine the period of detention to be undergone according to the gravity of the act committed and having regard to the age of the offender at the time of the offence. It shall not be for less than 3 years and may extend to a period of 10 years (art. 173 (2)). The principle of segregation is applied when the youth is sent to a penitentiary detention institution. However, owing to a lack of premises juvenile offenders are in practice not kept separated from adult prisoners.

32. A youth sent to a corrective institution may subsequently be transferred to a penitentiary institution, where his conduct or the danger he constitutes render such a measure necessary, or when he has attained the age of 18 years and the sentence passed on him is for a term extending beyond his majority. In such a case the court shall, without restriction, take into account, in determining the duration of the detention to be undergone, the time spent in the corrective institution and the results, favourable or otherwise, thereby obtained (art. 173 (2) EPC).

33. With regard to the administration of juvenile justice, the Penal Code incorporates basic principles on administration of criminal justice such as the rule of no crime and no punishment without the law, non-retroactivity, presumption of innocence, right to confrontation, right against self-incrimination, right to counsel, and right to review. In Ethiopia, cases of child offenders are heard both in regular courts and in a juvenile court that was established in Addis Ababa in 1959, prior to the issuance of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1961. This court was empowered to hear and decide cases of child offenders. Juvenile cases outside the capital city are handled by woreda courts.

34. In the Ethiopian penal system, there is a special section of the penal law containing both substantive and procedural rules exclusively designed for juvenile offenders; and there are special sections of the procedural law likewise designed for juveniles.

35. The Criminal Procedure Code of Ethiopia, article 172 (1), provides that in cases where a young person is involved in commission of crime he shall be taken immediately before the nearest woreda court (first instance court) by the police, the public prosecutor, the parent or guardian or the complainant. An arrest (“taking”) warrant must be obtained in the manner prescribed for adult cases. The police shall also make every possible use of summons in order to avoid the publicity and the adverse psychological effects on the juvenile which are inherent in the use of arrest. Provisions related to hearings, the juvenile’s right to counsel, treatment measures in case the juvenile is convicted, etc. were elaborated in detail in the initial report on the implementation of the Convention. Hence the spirit of the Penal Code pertaining to juvenile offenders, except those provisions relating to corporal punishment, are on the whole in conformity with articles 37, 39 and 40 of the Convention. So the problem lies not in the lack of appropriate provisions, but rather in the inadequacy of administrative and judicial infrastructure.


36. In matters pertaining to the child’s welfare “the best interests of the child” as a general principle is incorporated in the Civil Code. Articles 681 (1) and 304 of the Civil Code are good examples for the incorporation of these basic principles and rights in the Civil Code.

37. The Civil Code of 1960 incorporates a number of provisions that make up the principle of “the best interests of the child”. It is particularly mentioned in relation to the appointment of guardians and tutors to the child, placing him in custody in the event of dissolution of marriage, choice of type of education, income, conditions for approval of adoption and other similar issues pertaining to the child’s welfare. For instance, according to article 681 (1) of the Civil Code, “the custody and maintenance of children born of the marriage shall be regulated having regard solely to the interest of such children”.

38. The right to life, survival and development, respect for the views of the child and nondiscrimination in the exercise of civil, political or property rights are guaranteed by the Constitution, the Civil Code and the Penal Code as described in the initial report on the implementation of the Convention. However ensuring the right to survival and development, though guaranteed by the Constitution and other laws, is in practice hampered by economic underdevelopment, widespread poverty and inadequacy of basic social infrastructure. The Government of the FDRE is doing its best to change the living conditions of the population, of whom children and women constitute the majority, through adoption and implementation of relevant macroeconomic and social policies.

39. Another aspect of the commitment of the Government to the right to survival and development of Ethiopian children is the increased budgetary allocation for primary health care (PHC) and basic education.


40. According to article 37 of the Civil Code the birth of a child has to be declared and registered with the commune where the child is born within 90 days following his/her birth. This provision is not yet implemented, especially in rural areas, owing to the lack of adequate infrastructure. The need for birth registration is, however, well understood by the Government and paragraph 29 of the recommendations of the Committee is compatible with the perspectives of the Government. Accordingly, mechanisms for introducing birth registration are being studied.
41. The right of the child to freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom of association and of peaceful assembly are ensured by the Constitution of the FDRE in articles 27-31. The participation of children in the family, school and social life is being promoted by MOLSA in cooperation with child-centred NGOs and concerned government institutions. This is especially manifested in the participation of children in drawing, poem and essay competitions at the national and international levels and in their participation in the regular weekly radio programmes for children.

42. Awareness-raising programmes promoting the participation of children are also conducted regularly through the mass media. A notable example in this regard was the presence of representatives of children from all regions at a joint session of both Houses of People’s Representatives in 1996, and the discussion they held with the Prime Minister during the same period.

43. This was not a one-time event. On 16 May 1998, the Day of the African Child was celebrated, once again in the House of People’s Representatives with the direct participation of representatives of children from all regions, parliamentarians, ministers, commissioners, and representatives of NGOs. The theme of the meeting was “Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect”. Discussions between children and parliamentarians took place and several questions concerning the Convention were raised by the child participants to which responses were given by ministers representing the social sector. A declaration was issued by the representatives of children who condemned strongly the massacre of innocent schoolchildren and civilians at Mekele and Adigrat by the air attack of Eritrea and called for the rehabilitation of children and families displaced by the war and the immediate cessation of hostilities between the two countries.

44. As noted by the Committee, however, (para. 30), a lot of effort has still to be exerted by all concerned parties in Ethiopia to expand and promote the level and scope of participation, especially of children in rural areas.


45. The provision of the Civil Code regarding consent of parents to adoption and the advantages of adoption for the adopted child, the conditions for approval of adoption by the court in the best interests of the child, etc. are in conformity with article 21 of the Convention. Furthermore, the Government has issued a guideline on adoption which ensures the appropriate implementation of the provisions contained in the Convention and national law. In addition, MOLSA has already presented its views to the appropriate bodies concerning consideration and ratification of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption of 1993.


46. In accordance with the main principles and strategies elaborated in the Health Policy (1993) and the Health Sector Strategy (1994), the Government has given due attention to the development of a primary healthcare system. Accordingly, the former six-tiered health system infrastructure is being restructured into a four-tier system with the primary healthcare unit (a health centre with five satellite community health posts) envisaged to serve a population of 25,000. The role of the district hospital will be changed to support the primary healthcare units.

47. To staff the primary healthcare units a new cadre of health workers, namely health officers, are being trained in five new schools located in five regions. Health posts under the new scheme will be built on a large scale, and many of the former “health stations” are being upgraded to health centres.

48. During the past five years, the main effort of the MOH was directed at developing a number of health sector policy and strategy documents which are under various stages of implementation. Decentralization of the health system to the regional, zonal and district (woreda) levels, restructuring of the health system, development of the relevant mid-level health personnel, strengthening the policy guidance on private sector involvement in health care, formulation policy guidelines on population strategy, essential drugs and other related pharmaceutical issues, etc. have been and in some cases, are still ongoing activities of the MOH. But in spite of these developments, the current health service system is inadequate to meet the health needs of the population and the effects of the new policies have yet to be realized.

49. As a result there are still no marked improvements in some of the major indicators of children’s health status, and in health service coverage. For example, PHC service coverage is still around 45 per cent, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is currently estimated to be between 105 and 128 per 1,000, and the maternal mortality rate (MMR) is between 500-750/100,000 live births. However, immunization coverage has improved. For instance, the percentage of oneyear-old children fully immunized against polio was 28 per cent in 1993, whereas it was 67 per cent in 1997. The coverage for the other vaccine-preventable infections has also greatly improved (please see annex). It has to be noted that in line with the aim of eradicating polio from the globe by the year 2000, the MOH conducted a massive campaign for polio immunization in 1997 with the active participation of community-based organizations in 28,975 static and outreach sites.

50. The campaign was undertaken in all regional states and had the objective of vaccinating 8.5 million children in two rounds of three consecutive days each. Vitamin A was also distributed. This is an important measure since the regular conduct of National Immunization Days for polio vaccination, as well as the distribution of Vitamin A, can contribute to a reduction of 30 per cent in morbidity and mortality among children under five years of age.

51. In order to translate the Health Policy (1993) into practice various activities have been undertaken. The MOH has prepared a 20-year long-term Health Development Plan framework. The first five-year phase of the Health Sector Investment programme for the period 1998-2002 has been finalized and is ready for implementation with the assistance of the international community. The main objective of this first phase of the programme is to develop a financially and managerially sustainable health system which will provide comprehensive and integrated primary care services based on community-level facilities. The services provided by these facilities will emphasize preventive and promotive aspects of health care while not neglecting essential curative services. The focus will be on communicable diseases, common nutritional disorders and on environmental health and hygiene. Improving the quality of reproductive health care, immunization, the treatment and control of basic infectious diseases like upper respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis, the control of epidemic diseases like malaria and diarrhoea, and the control of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, will receive special attention.

52. The Health Sector Development Programme (a 20-year programme) provides proposals for health service improvement and the initial expansion of health facilities and programmes to achieve universal access to essential primary health-care services within the next two decades.

53. Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS are currently the leading causes of death in Ethiopia. HIV/AIDS in particular is a major threat to the welfare of children. Current MOH data show that the adult prevalence has increased from 3.2 per cent (1993) to 7.4 per cent (1997). This means that in 1997, there were 2.4 million adults and 150,000 children under the age of five infected with HIV (AIDS in Ethiopia, Epidemiology and AIDS Departments, MOH, Second Edition, 1998). Adult HIV prevalence is projected to increase to 9 per cent by 2006 and then stabilize at that level. AIDS will increase the death rate at all ages. However, the impact will be most severe among young adults and children under the age of five whose mortality rate may double by 2009 due to HIV-related deaths.

54. One of the worst impacts of AIDS deaths on young adults is an increase in the number of orphans. The number of AIDS orphans could increase to 620,000 by 2000 and to 1.8 million by 2009. Such a large number of orphans will create serious strain and will be an increased burden for the extended family, the community and the society at large.

55. The Government of the FDRE has developed a national policy on HIV/AIDS, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers in August 1998. The policy is designed to guide the implementation of successful programmes to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, to care for those with AIDS and to reduce the adverse socio-economic consequences of the disease. It calls for the participation of all sectors of society including Government, NGOs, private sector organizations, religious groups, trade unions, professional organizations, etc. in the prevention and control programme. In light of these developments it could be stated that the recommendations of the Committee concerning the development of a primary healthcare system (para. 28) is being implemented by the Government.

Children with disabilities

56. There are over 11,000 children with disabilities (mainly polio victims) registered with Cheshire Home in the past 10 years. The type of services provided and the number of beneficiaries is summarized in the following table.

Services provided by Cheshire Home for children with disabilities,

Average length of stay
5 months
5.8 months
4.6 months
4.1 months
4.1 months
POP treatments/patients
Operation (ESCH/Balcha
Addis Ababa

ESCH + Kazanches
ESCH new polio cases
ESCH new nonpolio cases
Developmental Clinic
ESCH province polio cases

Mobile trips

Old polio

Old non-polio

New polio
New non-polio
Follow-ups polio cases

Follow-ups non-polio cases

Advice given
Total patients seen
4 307
3 514
3 187
2 387
2 236

Source: Cheshire Home.

Notes: ESCH - Ethio-Swedish Children’s Hospital
TDH - Terre des Hommes
POP - Plaster of Paris.



57. The New Education Policy and Strategy which focus on the expansion of pre-school and primary education are being implemented by the Government. As part of the implementation of the policy, the primary school curriculum and instructional materials have been revised and made more relevant to the needs of the pupils. The planning and management of primary and secondary education has been decentralized to the regional level. A five-year Education Sector Development Programme has been finalized and is ready for implementation with the assistance of the international community.

58. The participation rate at pre-school level is still low as shown in the following table:

Data on pre-school education (1994-1997)

66 086
70 255
73 888
78 889
1 638
1 890
1 903
1 981
Pupil/teacher ratio
Participation rate (%)

Source: Ministry of Education.

59. The percentage of boys and girls enrolled in primary schools during 1996/97 was 37.1 per cent and 22.8 per cent respectively whereas the proportion of both sexes enrolled in primary schools was 30.1 per cent. The curriculum at this level has been changed and since 1995/96 a relevant curriculum has been implemented. The participation rate has also increased as shown in the following table.

Data on primary education (1994-1996)

2 283 634
2 722 192
3 380 680
75 736
83 113
89 189
8 674
9 184
9 704
Participation rate (%)
Pupil/teacher ratio

Source: Ministry of Education.

Basic data on secondary education (1994-1996)


Junior secondary
357 428
376 230
407 851
Senior secondary
357 194
370 916
402 753

Junior secondary
10 611
11 544
12 938
Senior secondary
10 987
11 235
12 143

Junior secondary
1 167
1 219
1 304
Senior secondary
Pupil/teacher ratio

Junior secondary
Senior secondary

Source: Ministry of Education.

60. Owing to several socio-cultural factors the proportion of girls enrolled in primary schools is still lower than that of boys. However, several strategies have been initiated by the MOE to promote the education of girls, to increase enrolment at lower levels, and to decrease the dropout rate among girls. Such measures include sensitization campaigns through the mass media, provision of counselling services, adapting the school calendar to peak periods of demand for child labour in rural areas, introduction of labour-saving technologies such as grinding mills close to the schools, construction of separate toilet facilities for boys and girls in schools and sensitization campaigns at the community level on the importance of sending girls to school. At the tertiary level, the Ministry of Education has issued a directive which provides for 20 per cent of university entrants to be girls. The cumulative grade point for joining the university has been made lower for girls compared to boys.

Leisure, recreation and cultural activities

61. The activities of the former Ministry of Culture and Sports have been merged with those of the Ministry of Information and Culture. The reorganized Ministry of Information and Culture, in pursuance of the provisions of the social policy of the Government, still continues to undertake activities related to sports, recreation and culture as elaborated in the initial report submitted to the Committee. Other than these regular activities of the Ministry of Information, entertainment programmes are also conducted through the educational radio stations run by the Ministry of Education.

62. The number of hours of weekend entertainment/educational radio programmes directed at students of grades 1-9 by each regional educational radio station was set at 5 hours/week, 20 hours/month and 240 hours/year. For the five stations this amounts to an annual transmission of 1,200 hours of such programming. Furthermore, the Child and Youth Recreation Centre, the Marshall Arts Centre School Clubs at grass-roots level and children’s corners in hotels have been established by NGOs. As mentioned earlier, the NCTPE has undertaken various activities aimed at combating and eventually eliminating harmful traditional practices in the country which are detrimental to the health and welfare of children.


63. Special protection measures in line with the provisions of the Convention and other Ethiopian laws are being provided to children in especially difficult circumstances, children in conflict with the law and children in situations of exploitation. For children deprived of their family environment the Government and concerned NGOs provide special protection and assistance in the form of community-based support programmes, family support, sponsorship, institutional care, family reunification and adoption services. For instance, out of 147 members of the CRDA, about 45 per cent are directly or indirectly involved in childcare/welfare programmes. In 1997 alone over 1,700 beneficiaries were supported through CRDA funding of projects and programmes undertaken by its member organizations.

A. Children in especially difficult circumstances

Programmes for street children

64. The rehabilitation and prevention project for street children, which is a joint project of MOLSA, Italian Cooperation and Radda Barnen, provides both preventive and rehabilitative services for about 1,100 children in especially difficult circumstances in Addis Ababa. The programme components of this joint project include: Education, Recreation, Health Counselling, Vocational Training, Temporary Shelter and Credit Scheme for destitute parents.

65. A total of US$ 13 million has been pledged by UNICEF and the Italian Government in a tripartite agreement with MOLSA for the expansion of preventive and rehabilitative services for street children in the country. Currently, projects worth US$ 3 million are being implemented in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Mekele, Nazareth and Shashemene.

66. Redd Barna continues to rehabilitate street children and to reunite those at risk of streetism with their families through provision of counselling, job training and credit schemes for parents. It also gives support for the establishment of the specialized financial and promotional institution (SFPI), which gives credit to low-income families.

Institutional care

67. MOLSA, and 49 NGOs still provide institutional care as described in the initial report. NGOs such as Missionaries of Charity, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekaneyesus, the Catholic Secretariat and muslim organizations provide

services for children in especially difficult circumstances. The Missionaries of Charity and OSSA (Organization for Social Services for AIDS) in particular provide services for AIDS orphans.

Child-family reunification

68. For over a decade, governmental and nongovernmental organizations have been reunifying unaccompanied and abandoned children. The need for harmonizing the procedures and processes of all reunification programmes has therefore resulted in the issuance of “ChildFamily Reunification Guidelines” by the Children and Youth Affairs Organization in May 1997. The objectives of the Guidelines are:

(a) To provide comprehensive operational strategies and procedures for the implementation of child-family reunification (CFR) programmes in accordance with the principle of “the best interests of the child”;

(b) To encourage those agencies that are engaged in institutional childcare programmes to redirect their priority towards preventing the separation of children from their family environment and to promoting family or communitybased childcare programmes;

(c) To standardize procedures and implementation strategies at the national level so as to minimize diversified approaches that are being used by various governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Towards this end, the Guidelines incorporate an implementation strategy using CFR standing committees, guiding principles and the steps to be followed in the reunification programme. In 19971998, MOLSA reunified over 1,200 children with their families.

Communitybased child support programmes

69. The social reintegration of child victims of the war between the Derg and the Liberation Fronts was conducted in the past through the application of communitybased approaches. Many NGOs, including FSCE, currently run communitybased integrated childfocused projects in all regions. For example, the projects run by FSCE provide the children the opportunity to express their feelings in project activities. They are given the chance, as equal members of the community, to participate in programme development, implementation and project activities. The components of the FSCE programmes at the various sites are as follows:

(a) In Addis Ababa, 300 children and their lowincome families are supported by the project through provision of: counselling (group and individual); school support in the form of fees and school materials; play and recreation activities; tutorial and study programme; savings and credit scheme for the families. A communitybased organization that will take over the programme when the project terminates is being initiated by FSCE;

(b) In Nazareth:

− 150 poor children who are out of school are involved in a nonformal education programme at the centre established by FSCE, and are provided with educational materials;

− 150 lowincome women with children are involved in a “trickleup” conditional grant programme, of whom 145 have paid and saved the required amount and will be provided with a matching fund to initiate a savings and credit programme;

(c) In Dessie:

− 300 children are involved in nonformal education;

− 200 children participate in a study and tutorial programme;

− 300 low-income women are involved in a savings and credit programme;

− More than 5,000 children have been registered for immunization;

(d) In Dire Dawa:

− 300 children are included in the nonformal education programme;

− 100 women are involved in the savings and credit programme;

− 150 street children are supported with school fees and educational materials and provided with recreational services.

B. Services for displaced children

Refugee children

70. During the period under discussion, Ethiopia has sheltered and cared for 300,000400,000 refugees from neighbouring Sudan and Somalia and still continues to do so. The Administration for RefugeeReturnee Affairs in collaboration with UNHCR provides essential services to refugees such as food, shelter and health services. In the case of schoolage child and youth refugees, the Administration has arranged for their education at various levels including attendance at higher educational institutions and vocational training centres. Accordingly, for the period 1993/94-1997/98 a total of 16,150 refugee children attended school, i.e. 2,800 at kindergarten, 13,000 at elementary and 350 at secondary level.

71. In 1995 the NCTPE through its IEC project at Jijiga conducted refresher courses for previous TBA trainees in the refugee camps and undertook followup, monitoring and evaluation of previous activities.

72. A pilot study was conducted in Hartshiek refugee camp in 1996 within the NCTPE/UNHCR IEC Jijiga project. The study has developed and tested experimental programmes including workshops and production of educational materials in which the experimental programmes and materials, after being evaluated, will be shared with other refugee camps.

73. For the past nine years, Radda Barnen has provided support to thousands of Sudanese refugee children. In the three camps in Gambella region, Radda Barnen is providing support to the most vulnerable groups of children, in particular unaccompanied minors, children with disabilities and girls. The major programme components are education, specifically training of teachers and provision of resource centres, including pedagogical materials, and psychosocial support. The latter includes providing care arrangements for unaccompanied minors and facilitating the rehabilitation of children with disabilities along with various awarenessraising activities.

Displaced children

74. In 1996-1997 a substantial number of children in droughtaffected areas of northern, eastern and southern Ethiopia were provided with supplementary food. The ongoing war with Eritrea since May 1998 has resulted in the death of innocent schoolchildren and civilians in two major urban centres of Tigrai Regional State, the death and injury of hundreds of civilians at the three border sites invaded or attacked by the Eritrean Government Armed Forces, and the displacement of thousands of families along the long border between the two countries. The Government of the FDRE, international and local NGOs and the whole society at large are mobilized and have continued to offer muchneeded assistance in the form of food, shelter and medical services to the displaced and injured children and their families. A national committee has been formed to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the contributions of the general public for the assistance and rehabilitation of those displaced by the war.

C. Children in conflict with the law

Juvenile offenders

75. The cases of juvenile offenders are heard in a special court in Addis Ababa. One additional remand home for juvenile offenders is being built at Bahir dar in accordance with the work plan elaborated in the NPA which envisaged the establishment of two more remand homes for boys and girls in two towns by the year 2000.

76. Police officers and policemen have been sent twice to South Africa in 1997 to attend an experiencesharing and training workshop on handling juvenile offenders.

77. A team composed of the VicePresident of the Supreme Court, the Registrar of the Court, the Deputy Commissioner of the Addis Ababa Police, and representatives of the MOJ, MOLSA and FSCE visited the Netherlands, Scotland and England in 1998 for experiencesharing on criminal justice and the handling of young offenders. This visit was sponsored by Radda Barnen, Redd Barna and the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Ethiopia.

78. Another notable measure in connection with the protection of juvenile offenders detained at police stations is the establishment of childcare and protection units in 10 police stations in Addis Ababa undertaken by the Addis Ababa Police Commission in collaboration with Radda Barnen and FSCE, and the training of police officers and other members of the police in the proper handling of juvenile offenders. Radda Barnen has funded this project for the past three years and has been involved in its implementation together with FSCE.

79. The objectives of the child protection programme are:

(a) To improve the treatment of children by the police in police stations as well as on the street;

(b) To ensure the protection of children from various types of abuse;

(c) To involve the police in prevention programmes aimed at reducing juvenile delinquency and child abuse.

80. Towards these ends, a number of activities have been accomplished including:

(a) Establishment of a coordinating office in Region 14 Police Commission;

(b) Preparation and use of a working guideline or procedure manual for staff working in the child protection units, and training of the staff on the application of the guideline.

81. A total of 411 child offenders and 270 abused children were handled by the child protection units in 1997, of whom:

246 were reunified with their families

123 were released from custody

45 were sent to regions

54 were sent to dropin centres

24 were admitted to the remand home

and 189 remained in police custody

up to December 1997 but have by now been released by signing bail bonds or through other means.

82. The number of children benefiting from such measures is still small compared with the total number who need special protection measures. This situation calls for intensification of efforts and the expansion of more preventive activities by government institutions in collaboration with international organizations and NGOs.

83. As mentioned earlier the Convention has become part of the legal system of the country. The Civil Code and Penal Code have ample provisions that are compatible with articles 27, 39 and 40 of the Convention. Without any bias for the need for some amendments in the national laws, it appears that the critical problem affecting the implementation of the Convention and other Ethiopian laws is the poor socioeconomic condition of the country and the absence of adequate and effective implementation mechanisms. This is not an apology for inaction but rather to focus on the priority measures needed for better implementation of the Convention. Some of the measures needed pertain to massive education of the existing law enforcement personnel and all those involved in the administration of juvenile justice, capacitybuilding, and establishment of the necessary administrative infrastructure at all levels. With this in view, the recommendation of the Committee that the Government avail itself of technical assistance programmes of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme is well taken.

D. Children in situations of exploitation

1. Child labour

84. Child labour in traditional societies is a multifaceted issue that ought to be considered from the legal, social, economic and cultural perspectives. The Labour Proclamation No. 42/1993 and the Civil and Penal Codes of 1960 and 1957 respectively have provisions that are fully compatible with article 32 of the Convention. The Labour Proclamation prohibits the employment of a child under 14 years of age (art. 82 (2)). Children between 14 and 18 years of age are categorized as young workers and the Proclamation provides that this category of children can work under strict conditions, such as working not more than seven hours per day, prohibition of overtime and night work and provision of weekly rest and rest on public holidays. The Proclamation requires MOLSA to legally prescribe lists of dangerous operations that are detrimental to the health of working youth.

85. From the economic standpoint, the problem of child labour in both rural and urban areas is primarily a result of poverty and unemployment. From the sociocultural perspective the work of children for their families is not seen as an exploitative relationship or as detrimental to their growth and development but is accepted as one of the principal means to impart basic family skills and responsibilities at an early stage. It is considered as a necessary element of the upbringing, training and socializing process towards adulthood. Thus, “child work” should be strictly separated from “child labour”.

86. This distinction and the legal instruments in place are consistent with the ILO Minimum Age Convention, 1973. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended the ratification of ILO Convention No. 138 by the Government of Ethiopia. In line with the suggestions of the Committee, the issue is currently under review at the Office of the Prime Minister before its submission to Parliament for ratification.

87. The problem of child labour should be treated in the context of the local resources, capacities and peculiarities of each country. The following are some of the measures taken by the Government in the last four years:

− Two national workshops were conducted. The second workshop was organized in order to deliberate on the draft national policy on child labour. Out of 16 action programmes proposed by the workshop participants, 3 were selected by ILO/IPEC and are now under implementation as national child labour programmes;

− The Government has given considerable attention to the issue of children for which it has made the necessary consultation with ILO so that Ethiopia can be one of the ILO/IPEC participating countries. Furthermore the Government had petitioned ILO/IPEC for the necessary assistance to undertake a national child labour survey.

2. Sexual exploitation and abuse

88. In recent years, owing to the sensitization campaigns undertaken by government institutions and NGOs, some cases of child abuse are being reported to the police, to MOLSA, to ANPPCAN and to the Ethiopian Women Lawyers’ Association. In addition, courts are now giving priority attention to such cases and gave speedy decisions and quite stiff penalties compared to previous years and satisfactory coverage was given to such crimes by the mass media, especially by the police newspaper and radio programme as well as through Radio Ethiopia and the Television Enterprise.

89. As mentioned earlier, child protection units have been set up in 10 police stations in Addis Ababa. Such units are now serving as focal points for delivery of services to juvenile offenders and abused children. ANPPCAN-Ethiopia provides counselling services for these children. Recently, the number of cases of child abuse referred to ANPPCAN has increased. For example, in Addis Ababa, in the month of January 1998 alone, the number of cases of child abuse referred to ANPPCANEthiopia had reached 10.

90. The public information campaigns on child rights were discussed in chapter I, section C. The National Steering Committee on Child Prostitution is one mechanism that has proved useful in coordinating the activities of several NGOs and government institutions.

91. Radda Barnen has been operating a dropin centre for street girls in Addis Ababa since 1995. It also runs a support programme for girls in prostitution in woreda 2, kebele 17. The capacity of the programme is limited to 30 girls. The services offered include shelter, food, health care, recreation, education, family reunification and counselling.

92. A preventive and support programme for young girls in prostitution was also undertaken by FSCE in woreda 6, kebele 4, in Addis Ababa. The objective of the programme is to enable the target girls to support and protect themselves from different forms of abuse and diseases and lead a productive life and to create awareness among community leaders, schools, policy makers, government and public organizations and the community at large on sexual exploitation of children. The support programme covers 100 sexually exploited girls at a dropin centre in kebele 4. The services rendered comprise:

Non-formal education;

Sanitation, washing and laundry services;

Medical support;

Health and sex education in collaboration with the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia;

Dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS to help them develop the practice of riskreducing behaviour;

Skills training such as embroidery, drama and hairdressing;

Incomegeneration programme;

Outreach programme;

Family reunification; and

Recreational facilities.

The preventive programme consisted of public education at grassroots level in Addis Ababa, twice in woreda 5, twice in woreda 6 and once in woreda 7.

93. In two high schools girls clubs were formed which provide tutorial classes and support young girl dropouts through skills training. Similar programmes are run by other NGOs in other locations.

94. It would have been desirable if a system of complaints aimed at child victims of any form of violence, abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation existed in the country. Since no traditional mechanism exists, such a system has to be designed from scratch.

95. The type and availability of communication channels, focal points for lodging complaints, the level of awareness and effectiveness of law enforcement bodies etc., the feasibility and sustainability of the scheme, and cultural factors to be overcome have to be studied in depth if a viable system is to be instituted under prevailing conditions of illiteracy, poor communication, inadequate infrastructure, etc.


96. During the past five years a number of positive developments in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child have taken place in Ethiopia. Some of these developments pertain to:

(a) The undertaking of surveys by government institutions and NGOs on categories of children in especially difficult circumstances and on HTPs. Such studies not only fill the existing gap in availability of relevant data but are useful inputs for designing effective interventions and for monitoring and evaluation purposes;

(b) In 1994 the Convention was available in 8 different nationality languages whereas currently it is available in 12 nationality languages;

(c) In cooperation with UNICEF, the initial report and the concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child have been distributed to all regions. The Beijing Rules and the Riyadh Guidelines have also been distributed to regions and to other relevant offices at the central level;

(d) There has been a much more intensified effort on the part of MOLSA, NGOs and the mass media to publicize the Convention. Similarly, the extent of training on child rights provided by government institutions and NGOs has increased substantially. This is manifested in the increased awareness of the public. For instance, to mention one of the changes, the issue of female genital mutilation and sexual abuse, which were taboos in the recent past, are now openly discussed in different forums and public gatherings. This, however, is the first step and has to be intensified and conducted regularly until the general public reaches a stage where changes in attitude are transformed into practice or lasting behavioural changes;

(e) Mechanisms for coordinating the activities of government institutions and NGOs and among NGOs are being tried. The National Steering Committee on Child Prostitution is a case in point;

(f) The move taken by the House of People’s Representatives with the aim of establishing a Human Rights Commission or an Ombudsperson on the Rights of the Child is the most significant and important development directly related to the implementation of the Convention.

97. At the macro level, in past years as well as currently, the most critical factors impeding the full implementation of the Convention are not problems related to lack of relevant legal provisions or the existence of some provisions that are incompatible with the Convention; but rather the lack of adequate trained manpower, the necessary institutional infrastructure and appropriate implementation mechanisms and extreme shortage of financial and material resources for the establishment and operation of effective and sustainable intervention programmes on a national scale.

98. The Government of the FDRE therefore welcomes the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its concluding observations about the need for further international assistance with regard to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. The Government is fully committed to ensuring the right of Ethiopian children to life, survival and development, and will continue to exert maximum efforts with the resources at its disposal for the materialization of this right. However, the implementation of the economic, social and cultural rights of the child cannot be attained with the limited available resources and in the face of other serious constraints to development. So, in the spirit of article 4 of the Convention, we are confident that concerned United Nations agencies, international NGOs and bilateral donors will continue to provide allround assistance and support to the Government of the FDRE in favour of Ethiopian children.

Statistical annex

Surface area (in million km2)
1 251 282
Density (inhabitants per km2)
Total population (in millions)
Population under 15 years of age (in millions)
Population 0-4 years of age (in millions)
Population 5-9 years of age (in millions)
Population 10-14 years of age (in millions)
Population annual growth rate (%)
Life expectancy at birth, males
% of population urbanized
Adult literacy rate in %

Health Service coverage
Infant mortality rate
Under 5 mortality rate
Stunting of under-fives
Wasting of under-fives
Iodine deficiency
Low birth weight
Nutritional Anaemia
DPT 3 coverage for under-one children
BCG coverage for under-one children
Polio coverage for under-one children
Measles coverage for under-one children
Pregnant mothers of TT2+
Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000 live births)
Antenatal care coverage
Institutional delivery
Contraceptive prevalence rate
Ratio of health workers to population

Physicians (all types)
1:39 000
1:14 900
Health assistants
1: 5 000
Ratio of facilities to population

Health station
1:20 313
Health centre
1:295 630
Hospital bed
1:651 510

% of age group enrolled in primary school – 1996/97


% of population with access to safe water


% of population using latrine


% of population with access to adequate refuse

Disposal system

Source: Central Statistical Authority, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

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