Call for Application for the Preparation of a Training Manual on States of Emergency and Human Rights.

Due to the nation wide Internet shutdown we have extended the deadline for seven constitutive days.

  1. Background

The Center for Human Rights at Addis Ababa University is engaged in multidisciplinary human rights teaching, research, and community services. In its activities, the Center pays particular attention to the rights of vulnerable communities such as women, children, migrants, workers, and persons with disabilities (PWDs). The Center is currently implementing a project to support Teaching, Research, and Community Engagement in human rights (Project STRACE-CHR) with financial support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Under this Project, the Center aims to offer short-term trainings on human rights, the short term-trainings target high and mid-level government and civil society leaders and officials. The trainings aim to create greater awareness and knowledge about human rights as well as to provide the target audience of the trainings with the necessary skills to address specific human rights issues. By doing this, the trainings aim to strengthen the implementation of the existing human rights protection mechanisms as well as to identify the gaps so that necessary steps towards fulfilling the discussed human rights can be taken. The trainings are designed as specialized postgraduate trainings which will entitle the participants, upon successful completion, to a certificate. The Center aims to institutionalize these trainings so that their sustainability is guaranteed even after the expiry of the project.

One of these specialized trainings will be on ‘States of Emergency and Human Rights’ with a focus on the Ethiopian experience. This topic is not only timely – in the past few years the Ethiopian government has declared a state of emergency on three occasions – it is also highly relevant for the protection of human rights in general and the protection of the rights of vulnerable communities in particular.  

The Ethiopian Constitution (in Article 93) incorporates the scenarios in which a state of emergency can be declared legitimately (these scenarios range from an external invasion, a breakdown of law and order, to a natural disaster and an epidemic). Article 93 also provides the scenarios for regional states of emergency. It furthermore prescribes the procedure for the declaration of a federal state of emergency and the modalities of its implementation.

In the context of a state of emergency, the executive has far-reaching powers such as the limitation or even suspension of most constitutionally entrenched human rights. Yet, the executive has to ensure that its measures are necessary and proportionate, that they are not ‘inhumane’ and do not have a discriminatory impact. As such, the Ethiopian Constitution includes basic provisions related to the different components of the state of emergency; these are the process for its declaration and renewal, the substance of emergency measures, and their implementation. All three components may have serious human rights implications and are therefore to be discussed in the training. Yet, the training should particularly focus on the implementation stage where human rights violations are most likely to occur.

Using the constitutional provisions as a point of reference, the training manual should pay attention to the practical experience with states of emergency in Ethiopia. In this regard, the current pandemic-induced state of emergency should be included as a case study, which implies that regional states of emergency should also be assessed. The training must furthermore evaluate to what extent the Ethiopian constitutional provisions and practical experiences comply with international legal provisions (such as Article 4 of the ICCPR) and international best practices concerning states of emergency. International best practices are driven by considerations of rule of law, separation of powers, checks and balances, and human rights.

With regard to the process, issues such as separation of powers and checks and balances (for instance in the relation between the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary), both important procedural safeguards for constitutionalism and human rights, can be addressed in the training. As to the substance of the emergency measures, human rights that are often limited by them (in scenarios of pandemic as well as constitutional crisis) are freedom of movement, freedom of speech, other democratic rights (such as the right to vote), and the right to privacy. Again, the Ethiopian experience in this regard (both constitutional provisions related to and practical examples of emergency measures) can be compared with international legal prescriptions and best practices. Even in case human rights restrictive measures are justified, their implementation may still include human rights violations (such as excessive force, discriminatory and politically motivated enforcement of the measures). That is why the implementation of the emergency measures is the third component that should be addressed and prioritized in the training both from a theoretical and practical example.

In this regard, the training will discuss actors responsible for implementation and enforcement. The availability of supervisory (for instance, by the parliament, the courts, and Civil Society Organizations) and remedial mechanisms against state of emergency measures (for instance, by institutions such as Ombudsman, Human Rights Commission, and Courts) also needs to be investigated. The manual should furthermore discuss real cases of human rights violations, which have already occurred (during the current and past states of emergency). A last issue that the training should focus on is the ramifications of a state of emergency on the rights of the most vulnerable communities in society such as women, children, persons with disabilities, refugees, and internally displaced persons. The rights of these groups are often disproportionally affected by the state of emergency measures and they therefore need to be given specific attention in the training.

The target audience for this training is employees of different ministries (and their regional counterparts) such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, and the security services staff members of various civil society organizations would also be interested.

Accordingly, the Center wants to recruit a highly qualified and motivated academic to prepare a training manual on ‘states of emergency and human rights’.

      2. Qualification of the Author

  • The author should have an educational qualification of at least Master’s / PhD degree in law, human rights, political science, or related fields.
  • The author should have a solid background in human rights issues.
  • The author should have a good publication record in English. Experience with preparing training manuals and teaching materials will be given particular consideration.
  • The author should have a commitment and demonstrated ability to work in a collaborative environment.

      3. Fees and Payment

The author will be paid Birr 60,000.00 (sixty thousand), subject to taxation

Interested and qualified applicants should mail their application letter including CV on or before  21 July 2020 to lewzchr@gmail.com.