House Passes Law On Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin

 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

   work permit.


   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.