Public Participation and Deliberation
It is the belief of the Advisory Council that the deployment of experts in drafting laws is but a small step towards attaining the rule of law, democracy and human rights. In order to be truly democratic, laws ought to be enriched by public input, not just through the parliamentary representatives, but also by engaging the public directly. In addition to a wide range of ongoing efforts to ensure public participation, deliberation and engagement, the Council has been relatively successful in garnering the input of stakeholders that are directly affected by specific legislation either by inputting them in the law-making process itself or by engaging with them in public consultations instead of just publishing the law and notifying the public post facto.
While striving to engage panels of subject area experts in the law-making process, the Council does not take it for granted that they know what the public wants or needs. The Council, therefore, does its level best to engage the public, opposition parties, civil society organizations, and stakeholders, thus opening up the opportunity to participate in the law-making process through different meetings. These meetings are not only intended to involve the public in the process but also give a chance to all parties involved in the law making process, to gather additional input and to actually match the objective of a particular law to the needs of the public.
Beyond these engagements, the Council is also committed to using other mediums of communication such as traditional and new media to both collect input on its work and to publicize its work from the point of view of public legal education. This website itself is an extension of this effort, intended to allow the Council to supplement its public consultations and its presence in the media. The prime purpose of the Council’s social media accounts is also connected with extending the Council’s ability to collect public input on its work in general and on diagnostic studies and draft laws in particular. It is our hope that these platforms would spark and ignite public debate, could be used as a means of collecting feedback from the public and for conducting public legal education regarding upcoming legislations.
One of the essential goals of the Council, and the legal reform in general, is to democratize Ethiopia including by doing everything possible to guarantee broad-based public participation and deliberation in the law-making process. We hope that our work, will add one more layer of improvement to the law-making experience of Ethiopia, thereby contributing some value towards building a more inclusive, just and democratic society in Ethiopia.