Government proposes creation of Reconciliation, Administrative Boundaries commission
Amid the multifaceted instability and identity-based conflict, the Government of Ethiopia has presented two separate draft proclamations before the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) to aid the establishment of an Independent Commission on Reconciliation and another one on Administrative Boundaries and identity Issues with a mandate to conduct research and present recommendations for the government.
The two draft proclamations were presented by Challa Lemi, deputy government Whip, before the House where MPs discussed the content of both draft proclamations.
After the hearing session, several MPs raised critical questions with regards to the prevailing demands of administrative boundaries and identity issues in the lower administrations of various regions. Similarly, the reconciliation and national consensus issue was also top of the agenda on Thursday’s regular session.
According to the draft proclamation, the would-be Reconciliation Commission will have a mandate to contribute in restoring peace while resolving clashes, promoting peaceful coexistence and ensuring justice and rule of law.
Stated in the preamble of the proposed drat bill, the establishment of the Commission is believed to be necessary in order to provide victims of gross human rights abuses the platform to be heard and perpetrators to confess their action by a way of reconciliation and achieving lasting peace.
Established as a free and independent institution, the Commission will have the responsibility to inquire and disclose the truth with regards to the source, causes and extent of conflicts and take appropriate measures and initiate recommendations that enable lasting peace and prevent future occurrence of such conflicts.
The Commission will get its own members but the number of these members will be determined by the government, the draft states. Meanwhile, a Chairperson, a Deputy Chairperson and the members of the Commission will be appointed by the HPR upon the recommendation of the PM.
According to the draft bill, the Commission will also have a maximum tenure of three-years, while its term may be extended by the legislative if found necessary.
MPs welcomed the establishment of the Commission but noted that it came too late since vast human rights abuses battered the nation over the past two decades. Furthermore, they raised various critical questions in relation to the possibility of bringing forth a legislature that would ensure victims get proper compensation for the suffered atrocities.
Similarly, the House heard and conducted discussions on the second draft proclamation which proposes the necessary legal framework regarding the establishing of a commission on administrative boundaries and identity issues.
According to Challa, the commission’s establishment is aimed at mainly bringing about lasting remedies to the growing number of administrative boundary issues.
This draft bill also states that “unless research-based remedies are put in place, the growing number of identity and administrative questions will jeopardize the federal system,” members of the parliament said adding, “These necessitate the establishment of a commission.”
Accountable to the Prime Minister, the second Commission will address administrative boundary claims among nations and nationalities and regions of Ethiopia with the support of neutral and professional individuals.
As stated in the draft bill, any administrative boundaries and identity issues should be studied by the Commission and resolved by the House of Federation (HoF).
According to the proposed provision that states its Power and responsibility, the commission provides alternative recommendations to HoF and the Prime Minister by studying any problems and conflicts that are related to the administrative boundaries demarcation and issues of identity. It further provides recommendation on amendments of actions that has to be taken to promote and consolidate unity of people based on their mutual interest.
The Commission is also required to provide a recommendation to HPR to expand appropriate constitutional principles, transparency and efficient system or legal amendments.
With the exact size to be determined by the government, the Commission will have members that have community commendation, good reputation for their ethical conduct, educational background and work experience.
Similarly, the Chairperson, deputy chairperson and the members of the Commission, upon the recommendation of the PM will be appointed by the HPR.
After deliberating on both draft proclamations, the House has referred the drafts to the Foreign Relations and Peace Affairs Standing Committee for further scrutiny.