Ethiopia has ratified the following documents:
  • African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People's Rights
  • Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • International Covenant Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The following documents further define the obligations of Ethiopia:
  • Beijing +5: Further Actions and Initiatives to Implement the Beijing Platform for Action
  • Beijing Platform for Action
  • Cairo Programme of Action
  • UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The documents listed above require Ethiopia to protect and promote the following rights:

Right to development
Right to education
Right to equal protection of the law
Right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment
Right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
Right to housing
Right to just and favorable work conditions
Right to liberty and security of the person
Right to life and survival
Right to marry and found a family
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of age
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of disability (i.e. HIV positive)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of marital status
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnicity
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex and gender
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
Right to private and family life
Right to receive and impart information
Right to the benefits of scientific progress

Constitutional Protection of Rights

The Constitution of Ethiopia can be viewed at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Hornet/Ethiopian_Constitution.html

The Constitution of Ethiopia is an important tool for the protection and promotion of human rights, as it explicitly commits Ethiopia to respect human rights (art. 13). The Constitution enables Ethiopia to translate international agreements into domestic law, and obliges all branches of government to respect and ensure the rights it enunciates.

The Constitution provides for the protection of the following rights, among others. This empowers individuals in making reproductive health decisions, and helps create the economic and social conditions conducive to good sexual and reproductive health.

Right to an adequate standard of living (art. 90)
Right to a clean and healthy environment (art. 44)
Right to development (art. 43)
Right to education (art. 89.7, art. 90)
Right to the equal protection of the laws (art. 25)
Right to equal access to social services run with State funds (art. 41.3)
Right to dignity (art. 24)
Right to freedom from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 18)
Right to freedom of association (art. 31)
Right to freedom of expression (art. 29.2)
Right to freedom of movement (art. 32)
Right to freely consent to marriage (art. 34.2)
Right to health (art. 89.7, art. 90)
Right to just and favorable work conditions (art. 42.2)
Right to liberty and security (art. 14, art. 16, art. 17)
Right to life (art. 14, art. 15)
Right to marry and found a family (art. 34)
Right to non-discrimination on ground of health status (art. 25)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of race (art. 25)
Right to non-discrimination on grounds of sex (art. 25)
Right to own private property (art. 40)
Right to participate in public affairs (art. 38.1(a))
Right to privacy (art. 26)
Right to receive and impart information (art. 29.2)
Right to seek and obtain redress for violations of rights (art. 37.1)
Right to work (art. 41)

The Constitution includes other provisions that promote and protect rights relevant for good sexual and reproductive health.

Some principles in the Constitution can be usefully applied to the health care system:

  • accountability and transparency of the activities of government (art. 12)
    Why is that important? It is the value added of human rights to public health to make public authorities accountable for failing to ensure rights. Accountability is also a mechanism to ensure implementation of policies and laws, including those adopted to further individual rights. For further information or research please contact the Human Rights Working Group.

     
  • progressive increase of funds to promote people's access to health, education, and social services (art. 41.4). The Constitution grants individuals a specific right to access social services (art. 41.3)
The Constitution specifically protects the rights of women. These empower women in their economic and social status, fostering conditions favorable to good sexual and reproductive health:
  • right to benefit from measures specifically targeting women for their advancement (art. 35.3)
  • right to equal pay for equal work (art. 42.1(d))
  • right to equality within marriage (art. 35), which includes the right to freely consent to marriage (art. 34.2) and the right to equality at the formation, duration and dissolution of marriage (art. 34)
  • right to be protected against harmful traditional practices (art. 35.4)
  • right to paid maternity leave (art. 35.5)
  • right to participate in the formulation of policies and on matters affecting their interests (art. 35.6). The Constitution also mandates the State to "promote the equal participation of women with men in all economic and social development activities" (art. 89.6).
  • right to acquire, administer, control, enjoy and dispose of property on an equal basis with men (art. 35.7)
  • right to access education and information about family planning (art. 35.8)
  • right to safe motherhood (art. 35.8)
The Constitution prohibits trafficking in human beings (art. 18.2).

The Constitution specifically protects the rights of children (art. 36), including the rights to life; to protection against exploitative practices and employment prejudicial to a child's health, education or well-being; and the right to equality for children born out of wedlock.