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Ethiopia passes law to encourage an all inclusive national dialogue

House of People’s Representative (HoPR)

ADDIS ABABA, DECEMBER 29, 2021 – Ethiopia’s House of People’s Representative (HoPR) approved the draft Proclamation 1265/2014 for the establishment of the National Dialogue Commission today during its second special session held with Legal, Justice and Democracy Permanent Committee.

The draft proclamation received a majority vote with 13 votes against it and one abstention. 

Parliament member Dr. Desalegn Chanie, National Movement of Amhara Party, objected the rush to establish the commission at a time Ethiopians in the north are in difficult situation to express their opinions.

The draft proclamation was approved following the decision of the Council of Ministers to establish a National Dialogue Commission, on December 10, and after the HoPR conducted two rounds of discussions, on December 20 and 25, with stakeholders and the public aiming to form a Commission which will genuinely resolve problems.

During the discussions concerns were raised as to the independence of the Commission if the leadership is appointed by the Prime Minister and if it receives funding from the Ministry of Finance. It was also recommended that the Commission directly answer and receive budget approvals from the HoPR in the same manner as the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

After the discussions, changes were made to draft proclamation. The National Dialogue Commission will now report directly to the HoPR and the Prime Minister will not be the one to appoint Commissioners instead the HoPR will receive nominations from the public, political parties and civil societies. 

After the public nominations, the HoPR will identify and make public 14 names which will undergo another round of discussions with political parties, civic societies and religious institution council to finally select 11 people who will serve as the Commissioners of the National Dialogue Commission.

The rationale behind the establishment of the National Dialogue Commission is due to the presence of differences of opinions and disagreements among various opinion leaders and segments of society in Ethiopia on the most fundamental national issues and hence the Commission serves to alleviate and resolve the differences and disagreements through broad based inclusive public dialogue that engenders national consensus.

All in all, this national dialogue will not include the TPLF or OLA, groups designated as a terrorist organizations by the Ethiopian parliament in May, rather will only be composed of Ethiopians who wish to peacefully express their ideas instead of violent means.

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