Among the many human rights conventions adopted by the UN, seven are known — together with their additional protocols — as the core international human rights instruments:
- The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
- The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
- The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women;
- The Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
The main international control mechanism under these conventions is what may be considered the standard mechanism in international human rights protection: state reporting before an international committee. An initial report is due usually one year after joining the treaty and afterwards, reports are due periodically (every four or five years). The international committees examine the reports submitted by the state parties. In the course of this examination they include information from other sources, such as the press, other United Nations materials or NGO information. They also hold a meeting with representatives of the state submitting the report. At the end of this process the committee issues 'concluding observations' or 'concluding comments'. This paper focuses on the experience of one state — Ethiopia - with the seven core human rights treaties. This should allow the reader to gain insights both into the human rights situation in Ethiopia and in the functioning of the United Nations human rights protection system.
Key Words: United Nations, Human Rights Conventions, State Reporting, Human Rights Situation in Ethiopia