Mandate & programme
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Mandate & Programme

The East Africa Regional Office holds its mandate from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) mandate as defined in the Resolution 48/141 of the General Assembly. Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the UNECA compound, the Regional Office covers countries in the East and Horn of Africa, and focuses primarily on Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Tanzania since there is no OHCHR presence in those countries.

Since its establishment in 2002, the Regional Office has been engaging with the African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in order to strengthen the human rights relationship between OHCHR and Africa’s two main regional entities.

EARO is part of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in all three countries (Ethiopia, Djibouti and Tanzania) and has been appointed lead agency on issues pertaining to human rights on the basis of an official distribution of tasks within the respective UNCTs.

OHCHR’s credibility and proven experience works towards strengthening governments’ capacity to interact with the UN and African human rights mechanisms, NIs to promote and protect human rights at the national level and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) ability to hold governments’ accountable and to monitor public policies.

In partnership with UN Agencies and AU, the Office facilitates information-sharing, capacity-building initiatives and actions to promote human rights in the region. The Office emphasizes on mainstreaming human rights within regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations, such as the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UN Country Teams and UN agencies in the region.
Annual Work Plan for OHCHR/East African Regional Office – 2009

Goal: To protect people and empower them to realize their rights.
Objective: To help bridge gaps in human rights implementation (knowledge, capacity, commitment and security) at the national level.
Download the Annual Work Plan

OHCHR's 2008-2009 programme comprises four complementary components aimed at bridging the implementation gaps at national and regional levels.

1. Cooperation between the UN And AU: The 10-year capacity building framework signed between the two institution focuses on strengthening the capacities of the AU and ensuring that the AU Commission and all AU human rights institutions (Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, the Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Africa Court Human and peoples Rights) as well as African NGOs, are aware and equipped to respond human rights situations on the continent.

2. Mainstreaming of human rights standards in the work of ECA using specific event such as the Speak Africa Initiative, the year of Africa Youth (2008), and the conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, the Africa Development Forum and major initiative s such as the publication of the Africa Governance Report.

3. Building capacity of United Nation Country Teams to mainstream human rights in their daily work. Through the application of Human Rights approach, OHCHR seeks the increased integration of human rights standards and principles into the policies and programmes of the United Nations Country Team in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Eritrea, Kenya and Djibouti, particularly in the area of Development, humanitarian action, peace and security and economic and social issues.

4. Building the capacity of national actors to and protect human rights: OHCHR seeks to strengthen the of national actors such as Government organs, national human right institutions and civil society organization to monitor, promote and protect human rights in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Djibouti. OHCHR also seeks to increase these countries’ compliance with human rights standards and cooperation with international human rights mechanisms and bodies. Medium term programs aimed at enabling Ethiopia, Tanzania and Djibouti to submit their overdue reports to the relevant treaty Bodies in 2008-2009 have been developed. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission benefits from activaties in the framework of the Democratic institution Programme.