Ethiopia: Information on whether since 1991 the Ethiopian government has issued passports or travel documents, to assist Somalis who had fled Somalia and then wished to leave Ethiopia, and if so, on whether these were "passports of convenience," and on how they can be distinguished from authentic Ethiopian passports
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 September 1995|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ETH21511.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: Information on whether since 1991 the Ethiopian government has issued passports or travel documents, to assist Somalis who had fled Somalia and then wished to leave Ethiopia, and if so, on whether these were "passports of convenience," and on how they can be distinguished from authentic Ethiopian passports, 1 September 1995, ETH21511.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad0e20.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
In a telephone interview on 14 September 1995, an official at the Ethiopian embassy in Ottawa stated that Ethiopian passports can only be obtained by citizens of Ethiopia. Although, the official did not know if the Ethiopian government issued travel documents for refugees from Somalia, the source added that it may be possible for refugees from camps operated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to obtain travel documents (ibid.).
In a 18 September 1995 telephone interview, an official at the Ottawa office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that the UNHCR is permitted to authorize a convention refugee to receive what is called a "Convention Travel Document" (CTD). In Ethiopia, these are issued by the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for "justifiable travel outside of Ethiopia" (ibid.). The CTD usually includes the right to return, although the issuing government may determine otherwise (ibid.). The UNHCR provides the Ethiopian authorities with the CTD and it is the latter who determine the conditions of its use, and issue it to the refugee (ibid.). For example, an exit visa is required to leave Ethiopia (ibid.). According to the official, CTDs carry the words "Convention Travel Document" on them, however, the official did not know if they resembled an Ethiopian passport (ibid.). The official also indicated that CTDs have been in use in Ethiopia since 1991 (ibid.).
For general information on CTDs, please consult Article 28 on Travel Documents on page 68 of the English-language version of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status, and the Schedule on page 75 of the same book, which also includes a general description of a CTD. The Handbook is available at Regional Documentation Centres and in the HCRViews database RefWorld/RefMonde.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Embassy of Ethiopia, Ottawa. 14 September 1995. Telephone interview with official.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ottawa. 18 September 1995. Telephone interview with official.