Peace and justice: the Netherlands and Ethiopia

The Netherlands is your partner in peace and justice.

International legal order

International law creates a level playing field, and lays down clear, predictable rules that apply equally to all. A functioning international legal order is in the interests of all countries.

Legal capital of the world

The Hague is known as the legal capital of the world. The Peace Palace is a symbol of this role.

Some 160 international organisations have offices in and around The Hague, including:

  • the International Court of Justice
  • the Permanent Court of Arbitration
  • the International Criminal Court
  • the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • the Special Court for Sierra Leone
  • the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Peace and justice: the Netherlands and your country or region


Security and Rule of Law Program

Given the socio-political disarray in most of its neighbouring countries, Ethiopia has for a long time been seen as a remarkably stable and secure constitutional state with a relatively well-functioning judicial system. the violent protests in 2015 and 2016, culminating in the announcement of the State of Emergency on 9th October 2016, have laid bare the deep discontent among large groups within the population, especially in the regional states of Oromia and Amhara. Protesters demand a more equal share in the economic growth. Especially young people feel they lack employment opportunities. Furthermore they seek improvements in terms of democratic space, legal order and administrative transparency. For the Netherlands building capacity and legitimacy in relation to the rule of law is not only crucial for the sustained stability of Ethiopia, but also vital for achieving the objectives of the other priority themes; Food Security and SRHR.

The Embassy supports the Criminal Justice and Integrity program for Ethiopia of the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime). Through the NGO Justice for All – Prison Fellowship Ethiopia, the Embassy focuses on human rights in the Ethiopian justice system. The Justice Capacity Building project, implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the University of Amsterdam, is strengthening the capacity of several players within the sector in order to facilitate the implementation of current reform programs. In addition, the Embassy encourages synergy between these three activities.

Regarding regional stability, the Embassy seeks the promotion of sustainable security through ZOA’s program along the Ethiopia-South Sudan border. The program builds cohesion, which can be regarded a precondition for rebuilding people’s lives and strengthening their livelihoods.

In cooperation with the Embassy the Netherlands Institute for Multi Party Democracy (NIMD) and AWEPA support a number of political actors, among which the Federal Parliament House of Representatives, the Caffee Oromia and opposition parties with capacity building. This support is meant to enhance a more inclusive political dialogue in Ethiopia.

An improved business climate in Ethiopia requires adequate trade licensing, clear policy support, smooth customs clearance etc. Although there is progress in these areas, it has not met the pace of demand in the economy. Recent experiences in the Food Security sector have shown that the lack of inter-agency communication and non-transparent bureaucratic procedures hinder the investment and operations of foreign companies. The Embassy is in the process of identifying how it can best contribute to streamlining procedures and removing bureaucratic hurdles faced by foreign businesses. Support to the new Commercial Law will be provided. The collaboration between the Dutch ‘Belastingdienst’ and the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs authority (ERCA) will be continued, strengthened and broadened.

The Human Rights Protection and Justice Service Delivery Project of Justice for All is an important element of our support to improving the Rule of Law in Ethiopia.  A part of this project of Justice for All focuses on a holistic support to prisoners and improving their livelihood. Within this context a legal aid center has been established in the Hawassa prison in March 2017 where legal aid services will be provided to the prisoners.

Within the context of the Dutch supported JFA-PFE project also Human Rights training is provided to police and militia. Moreover, with support of the Netherlands the case clearance rate improved of the Federal Court as well of regional courts in the Amhara and Oromia regions.