Dear All,

Hope all is well with you at this difficult time of Covid and multiple challenges to peace in the country. My name is Ameha Mekonnen. I am the director of Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), you host organization to this training session. As you all know, prior-to the reform we have been in a very difficult situation where freedom of expression was suppressed, descent opinions were punishable, peaceful protests were life-taking. Thanks to the relentless struggle mainly by the young and internal pressure within the ruling party, the latter surrendered and publicly confessed that it was undemocratic and repressive. Following the victory, the reformist group promised a comprehensive reform in the field of political, economical, and legal spheres. Political prisoners were released, close to three hundred online platforms were re-activated, restrictive legislations were reviewed. It was within this situation that the idea of Lawyers for Human Rights was first conceived. Lawyers for Human Rights from this onwards I would mention as LHR. Before it was officially registered on Sep 12, 2017, an informal group of practicing lawyers has been organized under AMALO (Ameha Mekonnen and Associates Law Office) mainly to defend persons criminally charged for their descent. Multiple training on Human Rights has been delivered to the practicing lawyers themselves, to police, to prison officials, and the judges.

After registration, LHR aimed among other things to lawyerize human rights and promoting strategic litigations within the legal community. By lawyerizing human rights, we mean we want to regularly build the capacity of legal practitioners on human rights and assists them to apply human rights standards in their day to day litigation. The content of the training of this system covers a range of human rights issues from the conceptual frameworks onto the national human rights situations. The training was initially designed on face to face basis but due to Covid and the restriction followed to prevent the spread of Covid, we resorted to this online system.

This system is the first of its kind in the country and I congratulate you all to be the first beneficiary of the system. The system itself will guide you on how to use it. In the event of unlikely difficulty, we have our own IT support to provide you the necessary technical support. The convener, Dr. Wondemagegn Taddesse will be at your disposal to answer your questions and any issue related to the content of the training. I should conclude my remark with thanks to all parties who have contributed for this system to work. In particular I am grateful to Askiibez (the IT developer), our IT support, all the trainers, and last but not least, the convener.

Welcome again to this system, and I wish you all an enjoyable exercise.