The Eritrean practice of the issuance of identity-proving documents with particular focus on the case of returnees from Ethiopia

Published: 1/Mar/2022
Source: Refugee Law Clinic (University of London)

By Daniel Mekonnen and Sara Palacios Arapiles

RLC Briefing Paper No. 1


Difficulties in proving Eritrean nationality are commonly experienced by asylum applicants who have a background of expulsion from Ethiopia. Most of them were expelled from Ethiopia during or after the 1998-2000 border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia and may also have left Eritrea without relevant documentary evidence that proves their identity and nationality. By examining the relevant nationality laws of both countries and the prevailing practice in this regard, this briefing paper explores the likelihood for certain asylum applicants to be recognised as Eritrean  nationals, and, if so, whether they would be subject to the fulfilment of the National Military Service Programme (NMSP). The paper also offers a comparative discussion of the nationality laws of Eritrea and Ethiopia, with a view to ascertaining whether there is a group of people who may be entitled to one or both nationalities but in practice can obtain neither.


Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Birth Registration, ID Documents and Passports, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: Eritrea
Year: 2022