Selamawit Girmay Birhane

Judge Selamawit Girmay Birhane

Regional Director, Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Youth/Government Reform

I am a graduate of the prestigious Addis Ababa University Law Faculty with more than 20 years of experience as a legal researcher, an assistant judge, a project head/coordinator, an appellate judge, a senior adviser on children Rights and Regional Director for Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation. I have done a post-graduate training on leadership having been selected as the first-ever Ethiopian recipient of the 2018 – 2019 Next Generation Leaders Traini; ,ng of the McCain Institute in Arizona State University, USA.   

I spent more than 20 years of my professional life in the judiciary serving. Under my leadership between 2008 and 2016, the Child Justice Project Office accomplished a number of impactful deeds that improved the child justice administration, including the establishment of 79 child-friendly courts, social work units for family, victim and juvenile cases at federal and regional level, children legal protection centres in seven district of courts at federal and regional level, and a referral system that brought together 34 governmental and non-governmental organizations to provide comprehensive services to children involved in the justice system and ensure child justice in Ethiopia.

In addition, I headed the National Court Reform Program for more than two years which helped me to further address meaningfully the improvement of the court system. Further, I served as the vice-chair of the Technical Committee for the National Coordinating Body for Multi-Sectoral and Integrated Response to Violence against Women and Children, and a member of the Ethiopian Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child for almost a decade.

I also served as a judge for a labor division judge and a special bench for cases involving children and women and criminal bench at Federal High Court. Following my return from a post-graduate training, I served as a Federal High Court appellate judge while coordinating the work of the team that handled the Reform Program on Case flow Management the Federal Supreme Court undertook. In January 2021, I joined the Ethiopian Human Right Commission as a Senior Advisor for Child Rights, a place I believe has offered me a suitable setting to contribute further to the overall wellbeing of children in Ethiopia. As of April 2022, I have assumed my current position as Regional Director, Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation for North and Central Ethiopia (Tigray, Afar, and Addis Ababa).

The first-rate education and training I received in the fields of law and leadership and the nearly twenty years’ experience on children’s rights, justice system administration and human rights have enabled me to have a deeper knowledge and understanding of the national and international legal framework and to build strong leadership skills that I have used to great effect.