The Enduring Problem of Statelessness in the Horn of Africa: How Nation-States and Western Courts (Re)Define Nationality

Published: 14/Sep/2011
Source: International Journal of Refugee Law

By John Campbell

International Journal of Refugee Law Vol. 23 No. 4 pp. 656–679

Across Africa, citizenship is being manipulated and restricted to deny rights to those whom a state wishes to marginalize or exclude. This occurred on a large scale between 1998–2000 when Ethiopia and Eritrea, using war as an excuse, arrested and forcibly expelled an estimated 150,000 people. These individuals were stripped of their civil and legal rights, their property and, for many, their nationality. While much was made of the expulsions at the time, the wider issues raised by these actions – in particular the continued vulnerability of the deportees to further abuses and the failure of the courts to address their situation – has not been examined. This article begins by looking at events in the Horn before examining evidence regarding the inability of those who were expelled to obtain asylum.

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Themes: Loss and Deprivation of Nationality, Statelessness
Regions: Eritrea, Ethiopia
Year: 2011