Ameha Mekonnen Asfaw

Judicial Reform Initiatives in Ethiopia (2018–2021): A Human Rights Perspective

Mr. Ameha Mekonnen Asfaw is the founding director of Lawyers for Human Rights, an Ethiopian civil society organization focused on building lawyers’ capacity to apply human rights in their work and promote strategic human rights litigation. A practicing human rights lawyer who founded the CSO Network of Digital Rights for Ethiopia and previously served in a prosecutorial role for the government, Mr. Asfaw has defended journalists, bloggers, and members of the opposition criminally charged under Ethiopia’s anti-terrorism proclamation. In addition, he has taken part in efforts to reform anti-terrorism laws in his country. He currently chairs the board of the Ethiopian Civil Society Resource Center, a resource hub for emerging Ethiopian civil society organizations. In recognition of his work to advance human rights and ensure justice in Ethiopia, he was awarded the Franco-German Human Rights and Rule of Law Prize in 2019 and a Sakharov Fellowship  by the European Union in 2017. During his fellowship, Mr. Asfaw authored a report aimed at key stakeholders that documents the role of courts in enforcing human rights in Ethiopia and identified ways in which the judiciary can uphold democratic values and human rights for citizens.