Updated on 2009.12.09  
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The East Africa Regional Office in Addis Ababa
The office was established in 2002.
Total number of staff: 12.

Responsibilities and mandate

• Liaising with the relevant regional (AU and ECA) and national actors and UNCTs (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Tanzania) and engage them in the development and implementation of human rights;
• Communicate on a regular basis with HQs and OHCHR field presences in East Africa;
• Monitor major developments in regards to human rights in East Africa and flag opportunities for engagement, emerging trends or requests for action from HQs;
• Provide support to OHCHR field presences in East Africa upon request;
• Network with relevant OHCHR divisions and branches to prepare/implement activities;
• Evaluate effectiveness of activities and Regional Office’s impact in the sub-region and adjust based on the outcome of the assessment;
• Provide inputs for UN reports and submit internal periodic reports.


African Union

EARO adopted a two-dimensional approach to its regional engagement aiming at strengthening the capacity of AU organs with a human rights mandate and to reinforce ECA’s efforts in mainstreaming human rights and the right to development in regional programs.

EARO was able to start engaging AU organs with a human rights mandate and a wide range of CSOs towards the development of a human rights strategy for Africa. It also liaise with both the AU and the UN agencies by facilitating the sub-cluster on human rights, justice and reconciliation and providing technical and financial support to the African NGO Forum held regularly at the fringe of the African commission on human and people’s rights’ sessions.


EARO’s country strategy for Ethiopia has been developed in the context of the 5-year multi-donor Democratic Institutions Program (DIP). EARO’s participation in the DIP is aimed at building the capacity of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to be in compliance with the Paris Principles. Activities designed to build the Government’s capacity in the area of treaty reporting and awareness raising activities on human rights both led in cooperation with the EHRC yielded concrete results such as the submission of Ethiopia’s 19 overdue reports to the TBs, its report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and its report to the Human Rights Council in the context of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).


EARO was successful in institutionalizing the treaty reporting process by advocating for the creation of an inter-ministerial committee to coordinate the reporting process to treaty bodies and to the HRC. EARO also successfully lobbied for the creation of a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) in Djibouti.

Using the UPR and CRC’s recommendations as a framework, EARO developed a two-year UN joint program on technical assistance on human rights with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).


EARO is operating under the UN Delivering as One framework and its joint UN programs and programming. EARO was able to assert its position as lead agency for all matters pertaining human rights within the UNCT. The office conducted a mapping of human rights activities let by UN agencies in the country as well as an evaluation of joint programs from a human rights based approach. EARO is assisting the Government in establishing a coordination mechanism in charge of the reporting to TBs and following up the implementation of the TBs recommendations and in the development of a National Plan of Action for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. Tanzania’s NHRI and CSOs also benefited from EARO’s technical assistance to strengthen their capacities to interact with UN and regional human rights mechanisms.


For its upcoming biennium, EARO has selected the following thematic priorities:

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

In the context of EARO’s priority countries, the victims of the economic and financial crisis and their impact on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights are the inhabitants of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Tanzania have all ratified or acceded to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which requires that State Parties achieve the progressive realization of economic, social and cultural rights. Lack of financial resources is the argument put forward for not fully meeting their obligation to monitor the level of enjoyment of those rights. Moreover, although the national human rights institutions in Tanzania, Djibouti and Ethiopia have a mandate to promote and protect all human rights, they have taken a very limited role in the monitoring of the realization of ESCR in those countries.

The UN system in these three countries has been engaged in promoting ESCR and supporting national efforts to realize and protect these rights in the context of the national poverty reduction strategy and the implementation of the MDGs.

Rule of law, accountability/combating impunity, strengthening administration of justice/democratic institutions

The underlying causes of poverty are often deep-rooted and worsened by poor administration, weak democratic institutions and an overall lack of accountability.

Strengthening mechanisms/ Progressive development of international human rights law

The challenge lies in realizing the implementation of the human rights framework through ensuring that the AU’s human rights mechanisms are operational and effecting. The ultimate beneficiaries of a strengthened human rights agenda in the AU are the populations of the AU member States. The AU, along with its institutions mandated to promote and protect human rights, are the potential key actors in influencing the duty bearers to improve their state policies, encourage them to ratify international/regional human rights treaties as well as to carry out their obligations under these treaties and expedite their realization through their supervisory and monitoring mandates.

Budget 2008-2009

East Africa Regional Office Budget 2008-2009