Last Updated: Monday, 14 July 2014, 13:12 GMT

Ethiopia: Whether Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia during the war with Eritrea or who left involuntarily to avoid expulsion, can return to Ethiopia; whether their confiscated properties are restored to them or whether they receive compensation

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 26 September 2002
Citation / Document Symbol ETH39779.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: Whether Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia during the war with Eritrea or who left involuntarily to avoid expulsion, can return to Ethiopia; whether their confiscated properties are restored to them or whether they receive compensation , 26 September 2002, ETH39779.E , available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3f7d4d922a.html [accessed 14 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis 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.

According to the peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia that was signed in Algiers on 12 December 2000, ending two years of violent conflict, Article 2 states the following:

.... In fulfilling their obligations under international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross, the parties shall without delay, release and repatriate or return to their last place of residence all other persons detained as a result of the armed conflict.

The parties shall afford humane treatment to each other's national origin within their respective territories (BBC News 11 Dec. 2000).

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Branch Office for Canada obtained the following information from their offices in Ethiopia:

There have been reports in the local press that some Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia during the war with Eritrea or who left to avoid expulsion, managed to return to Ethiopia via a third country....

UNHCR Ethiopia is only aware of one case whereby the family was given a temporary ID card as "Ethiopian" by Eritrean authorities upon their deportation to Eritrea. This family attempted to return to Ethiopia via ICRC's [International Committee of the Red Cross] voluntary repatriation program in May 2002, however the family has been stranded at the border since then.

It appears that the majority of Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia during the war with Eritrea or who left to avoid expulsion, were considered by the Eritrean authorities to be Eritrean nationals and they were issued with Eritrean ID cards (26 Sept. 2002).

The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), citing an interview with the Information Officer at the Eritrean Embassy in Washington, D.C., regarding whether Ethiopians of Eritrean origin who were expelled have returned to Ethiopia, noted that the Officer "was not aware of anyone having returned" (30 May 2001). A senior researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW) explained during a telephone interview that in practice, Ethiopians of Eritrean descent are not allowed to return to Ethiopia and that he had heard reports of people being denied entry into the country (24 Sept. 2002).

No additional reports of Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia or who left involuntarily returning to Ethiopia could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

No reports of confiscated properties restored to Ethiopian citizens of Eritrean descent who were expelled from Ethiopia or who left involuntarily could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. While the Algiers peace agreement calls for the establishment of a Claims Commission to rule on claims made by the government or its nationals on "loss, damage, or injury" there are no provisions for individuals who were expelled from either country (United States 30 May 2001).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate 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. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

BBC News Online. 11 December 2000. "Agreement Between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia." [Accessed16 Sept. 2002]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). New York. 24 September 2002. Telephone interview with senior researcher, Africa Division.

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Branch Office for Canada. Ottawa. 26 September 2002. Correspondence from Senior Protection Officer.

United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Resource Information Center. 30 May 2001. "Response to Information Request ETH01008.ZAR." [Accessed 16 Sept. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Keesing's Record of World Events

NEXIS

Unsuccessful attempts to obtain information from the Canadian embassy in Addis Ababa.

Internet sites including:

Africa Confidential

Africa Online

AllAfrica.com

Amnesty International (AI)

East African Standard

Global IDP

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Integrated Regional International Network (IRIN)

United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

U.S. Committee for Refugees

U.S. Department of State

World News Connection (WNC)

Search engines including:

Google

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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