House Passes Law On Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin
Addis Ababa, February 5, 2002 (WIC)- The House of Peoples’ Representatives today
endorsed a proclamation to provide for Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin with certain rights
to be exercised in the country of their origin.
The proclamation has as its prime objective paving the way for foreign nationals of Ethiopian
origin who wish to strengthen their tie with Ethiopia.
It is also stipulates to remove legal restrictions on such groups of people who want to serve
their country in different ways, and contribute to the development and prosperity of the
The draft proclamation was earlier presented to the 12th regular session of the House on the
17th of January this year, where deputies conducted extensive deliberation on it. The draft
has also been discussed during a public hearing on a later date.
It has also passed through the scrutiny of the House Foreign Affairs, Legal, Defence and
Security Standing Committees, who submitted a decision proposal at today’s session of the
In their written proposal, presented by a member of the legal Affairs Standing Committee, the
committees recalled that there had been a massive out flow of Ethiopian nationals over the
The committees also recalled that the various laws applicable to foreign nationals have
imposed restrictions on foreigners of Ethiopian origin, leading to their alienation from the
country of their origin against their wish.
Ato Bedru Adem, an independent deputy, expressed reservation as to the manner in which the
proclamation evolved, and cited the case of the public hearing on the draft bill.
He said the hearing has not dwelt on the draft to the required length and depth, and that
legal experts involved in its drafting have not given their testimonies at the hearing.
In response, the member of the Legal Affairs Standing Committee said that he also felt that
the hearing may not have exhaustively dealt on the draft bill.
He, however, added that the various committees involved in the examination of the draft have
attempted to make it as complete as possible by obtaining expert opinion, and consulting
other relevant institutions.
At the center of the new proclamation is the issuance of identification cards to foreigners of
Ethiopian descent which entitles bearers to many rights and privileges enjoyed by Ethiopian
Holders of such identification cards, among others, shall not be required to have an entry visa
or residence permit to live in Ethiopia. They have the right to be employed in Ethiopia without
Foreigners who qualify under this proclamation will also have the right to be considered as
domestic investors to invest in Ethiopia.
According to the law, Foreign National of Ethiopia Origin” means a foreign national other than
a person who has forfeited Ethiopian nationality and acquired Eritrean nationality, who had
been an Ethiopian national before acquiring a foreign nationality, or at least one of his parents
or grand parents or great grand parents was an Ethiopian national.
Many deputies also emphasized the need to guard against individuals who might exploit the
provisions stipulated in the proclamation to compromise Ethiopia’s interest.