Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2017, 09:48 GMT

Ethiopia: Exit controls at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, including screening procedures for those departing on international flights; treatment of members of opposition parties at the airport (February 2011-December 2013)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 2 January 2017
Citation / Document Symbol ETH104707.E
Related Document(s) Éthiopie : information sur les contrôles de sortie à l'aéroport international de Bole à Addis-Abeba, y compris les procédures de contrôle pour les personnes partant à bord de vols internationaux; le traitement réservé aux membres des partis d'opposition à l'aéroport (février 2011-décembre 2013)
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ethiopia: Exit controls at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, including screening procedures for those departing on international flights; treatment of members of opposition parties at the airport (February 2011-December 2013), 2 January 2017, ETH104707.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/587364024.html [accessed 18 December 2017]
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.

Information on exit controls at Bole International Airport and the treatment of members of opposition groups at the airport was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. However, the following information may be of interest.

1. Bole International Airport

The website of Ethiopian Airlines states the following about departures from Bole International Airport:

To ensure maximum safety, all passengers are required to show their ticket and passport at the Security Check-Point before they enter the Terminal building. All other visitors are required to pay a fee of [Ethiopian] Birr 3/- [about C$ 0.17 (XE 19 Dec. 2013)] at the booths located in the parking lots and need to show identification cards at the Security Guard Post. There is a designated visitors waiting area beyond which they are not allowed to pass.

All who enter the airport building whether passengers or visitors need to pass through security screen. (Ethiopian Airlines n.d.)

The US Department of State's international travel website provides the following information on departures from Ethiopia:

Non-residents departing Ethiopia may carry a maximum of 3000 USD (or its equivalent), unless they can produce a customs declaration, bank slip showing the purchase of foreign currency, or letter confirming that they were paid by an embassy or foreign organization in Ethiopia. Residents of Ethiopia must produce a bank slip showing the purchase of foreign currency, or customs declaration that is not more than 45 days old, in order to carry any foreign currency out of Ethiopia.

Any traveler entering or exiting Ethiopia may carry a maximum of 200 Ethiopian Birr on their person or in their luggage. ...

Travelers found violating any of the above customs rules have been detained at the airport and in some cases have been sentenced to prison terms of three months or more. ...

Important Note: The Government of Ethiopia rarely informs the Embassy of arrested or detained U.S. citizens, even those detained at the airport by immigration or customs authorities. In some instances, U.S. citizens have been detained for weeks or even months without Embassy notification. (US 2 July 2013)

2. Freedom of Exit

According to the US Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Ethiopian law allows citizens freedom of movement within the country and the right to travel abroad, emigrate, and repatriate, but the government "restricted some of these rights in practice" (19 Apr. 2013, 18). Sources report that, in October 2013, the government banned citizens from travelling abroad for employment because of reported "abuses" of Ethiopian workers in foreign countries (BBC 24 Oct. 2013; VOA 25 Oct. 2013). The ban was to remain in place until the issues had been addressed (ibid.; BBC 24 Oct. 2013).

3. Treatment of Opposition Members Attempting to Leave the Country

In a 19 December 2013 telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Chairman of the Andinet North American Association of Support Organizations (ANAASO), an American organization that is affiliated with the Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJ) [an opposition party in Ethiopia] (ANAASO 6 July 2012), provided the following information: The authorities in Ethiopia generally "encourage" high level or well-known opposition leaders to leave the country and continue their political activities abroad. However, low level opposition members whose treatment would not attract outside attention are at risk of being detained, jailed or killed in Ethiopia. Generally, most opposition members who wish to leave the country travel first to Kenya by bus or other means of ground transportation, to avoid being apprehended at the airport, and fly out of Kenya. The Ethiopian authorities have an extensive security network and monitors opposition members, even low level ones at the village level.

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 for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Andinet North America Association of Support Organizations (ANAASO). 19 December 2013. Telephone interview with the Chairman.

Andinet North America Association of Support Organizations (ANAASO). 6 July 2012. Telephone Interview with the Chairman.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 24 October 2013. "Ethiopia Bans Citizens from Travelling Abroad for Work." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2013]

Ethiopian Airlines. N.d. "Check-in." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2013]

United States (US). 2 July 2013. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs. "Ethiopia Country Specific Information." [Accessed 16 Dec. 2013]

United States (US). 19 April 2013. Department of State. "Ethiopia." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. [Accessed 16 Dec. 2013]

Voice of America (VOA). 25 October 2013. "Ethiopia Bans Travel Abroad for Employment." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2013]

XE. 19 December 2013. "XE Currency Converter." [Accessed 19 Dec. 2013]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact representatives of Andinet Washington and Unity Toronto and a professor at California State University (San Bernadino) specializing in Ethiopian politics were unsuccessful.

Internet sites, including: Addis Voice; Canada - travel.gc.ca; Ethiopia - Embassies in Washington and Ottawa, Main Department of Immigration and Nationality Affairs, Revenues and Customs Authority; Ethiopia Daily; Ethiopian Airports Enterprise; EthiopianCNN.com; Ethiopian News; Ethiopian Reporter; Freedom House; International Air Transport Association; United Kingdom - Border and Immigration Agency; United Nations - Human Rights Council; Unity for Democracy and Justice Party Ethiopia.

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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