The Center plans to work in collaboration with academic/research institutes, national human rights institutions, legislative organs, courts, various administrations, and civil society organizations, which are believed to play crucial roles in enhancing the situation of human rights and good governance in Ethiopia.
- Recently (July 2011), the Center has had high level consultations on programs of cooperation and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), one of the national human rights institutions recognized in the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The memorandum recognizes shared responsibilities in the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights of both institutions and the necessity of coordinating, integrating and harmonizing their common initiatives to achieve their mutual objectives of enhancing the situation of human rights in Ethiopia. Retaining the generality of areas of cooperation, two programs were specifically identified in the Memorandum. These were the “parties’ mutual interest in improving access to justice for the disadvantaged members of the society through the provision of free legal aid “and the “publication of scholarly articles on various aspects of human rights.”
- Following the Memorandum of Understanding, a Joint Project Agreement on Legal Aid Services has been signed between the EHRC and the CHR. As stated in the Agreement, the overall objective of the project is protection of human rights contributing to poverty reduction by enabling marginalized people such as poor women, people living with disability and HIV/AIDS to access their legal rights. Specific objective identified in the Agreement is ensuring that marginalized people in Addis Ababa and surrounding areas have knowledge of their rights, access to information, advice and the means to redress. The project, which has a Project Supervisory Board composed of representatives from the EHRC, CHR, Addis Ababa Justice Bureau, Addis Ababa Police Commission and others, will last for one year from commencement. The EHRC has generously provided the financial assistance of around half a million birr for implementation of the Project.
- The CHR has also signed another project agreement for the publication of the Ethiopian Journal of Human Rights (EJHR) with EHRC. Noting the importance of permanent cooperation for this particular project, the EHRC has agreed to finance the first four issues of the EHRJ for two years initially. Stressing the mutuality of interest in the dissemination of the theory and practice of human rights in national context, the Agreement provides for specific objectives of identification of contemporary issues of human rights having national relevance and encouraging informed national dialogue on the promotion and protection of human rights in Ethiopia. The EJHR is agreed to be published twice a year. The Commission has allocated more than half a million birr to be used for printing and administrative costs, and honorarium to those contributing to the EHRJ.
- The Center had partnership agreements with Ambo University, School of Law; Adama Science and Technology University Department of Law and Hawassa University, School of Law through the life span of Access to Justice Project. The objectives of the partnership were to establish effective networking and coordinated response for promotion and protection of rights of citizens, especially the vulnerable or otherwise disadvantaged sections of the society and to establish a working relationship to ensure the provision of a coordinated and effective free legal service, legal advocacy and facilitate the sharing of best practices. In line with this, the Access to Justice Project engaged senior law students of these partner universities as paralegals in a free legal aid service mainly by engaging 4th and 5th year law students as paralegals.
- The Center had a partnership agreement with Federal First Instance Court to establish partnership for provision of legal advice, information, representation, and related services to parties coming before Court who cannot afford to pay for such services and eligibility criteria was set by the Access to Justice Project of Center for Human Rights.
- The Center also had a partnership agreement with Ethiopian Lawyers Association. The objective of the understanding is to establish collaboration and cooperation in the protection of rights particularly of the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups through the establishment of high quality and integrated legal aid services ranging from basic information to representation in court.