UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Delivers Lecture @ AAU

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussien (Ph.D.), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Under Secretary- General, delivered a public lecture on Human Rights at Mekonnen Hall of the AAU Main Campus on 24th April, 2018.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that sustainable peace could only be realized by upholding every individual’s human rights.

He further explained that the UDHR promotes justice, the impartial rule of law, a system free from arbitrary decisions and torture, and end to the tyranny and fear which had ruled so many people’s lives for generations.

He went on to note that, over the past seven decades, governments failed to uphold their commitments to protect and promote human rights. Today, he remarked, the Universal Declaration faces enormous challenges.

The High commissioner said “Ethiopia is a country with an ancient and remarkable history, which has brought inspiration to many people across Africa and the world. It has experienced turmoil, oppression, hunger and deprivation. But throughout this history, women and men, young people and old, from every part of the country have kept fundamental values and principles alive.”


He concluded that every country builds human rights in its own way; but in taking genuine steps to uphold human rights, all countries must move in the same direction – towards greater equality, greater participation by the people, stronger justice, greater social harmony and more inclusive development.

In his welcoming speech, President of the AAU, Prof. Tassew Woldehanna expressed his delight that the AAU hosted an important public lecture by the High Commissioner and Under Secretary-General.

He further explained that the current constitution of Ethiopia, which entered into force in 1995, represents a major breakthrough in terms of fundamental human rights as it devotes more than one third of its content to provisions on fundamental human and people’s rights.

He added that the constitution imposes responsibility and duty to the respect and enforcement of fundamental rights and freedoms at all levels of the federal and state legislative, executive and judicial bodies.


The Office of High commissioner for Human Rights East Africa Regional Office in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and Office of External Relations, Partnerships and Communications of the Addis Ababa University jointly organized the public lecture.