Ethiopians in Limbo: from statelessness to being a refugee in one’s own country

Published: 14/Feb/2014
Source: ECAD Forum

Amsale Getnet Aberra is LL.M student at the University of Washington

The Ethio-Eritrea conflict has been portrayed as a war without a justifiable cause serving the interest of those in power, a war between brothers that has led thousands to perish in a desert and yet, another thousands to be displaced and evicted from what they once called their country. It is part of a recent history that the TPLF government had expelled close to 70,000 people of Eritrean origin from Ethiopia on the assumption that they were security threats to Ethiopia. In a matter of days, the government declared that those who were expelled and those who remained in Ethiopia have been deprived of their Ethiopian citizenship on the ground that they have acquired an Eritrean nationality due to their mere participation in a referendum that resulted in Eritrean independence.

The action of the of the TPLF government materialized although the 1995 EPRDF constitution, clearly guarantees that “[n]o Ethiopian national shall be deprived of his or her Ethiopian nationality against his or her will.” The action of the TPLF also came at the time after the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments reached an agreement that “Eritreans who have so far been enjoying Ethiopian citizenship should be made to choose and abide by their choice.”

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Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, Statelessness
Regions: Ethiopia
Year: 2014