Ethiopia begins civil registration for refugees

15 Nov 2017

Since 27th October, all refugees in Ethiopia have been able to register their vital life events, including birth, death, marriage and divorce, directly with national authorities.

This is an historic first and a ground-breaking development for refugee protection in Ethiopia, not previously realized over decades, which was welcomed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Civil registration for refugees has been made possible following an amendment to existing legislation. The Ethiopian Government, UNHCR and the UN’s Children Agency (UNICEF) collaborated in the preparation of the amendment, one of the nine pledges made at the Leaders’ Summit held in New York in September 2016.

Other commitments included granting work permits to refugees, strengthening access to education, allowing a significant number of refugees to reside outside refugee camps and local integration of long-staying refugees.

At the launch, eleven refugees were issued with certificates in Addis Ababa. Civil registration offices have also been established in each of the 26 refugee camps, as well as in the seven locations with a high concentration of refugees.

More than 70,000 refugee children born in Ethiopia over the last decade have not had their births registered and will soon be issued with birth certificates. Children born before the new law came into force can also now obtain a birth certificate retroactively.

Birth registration is an important protection tool – ensuring basic human rights, particularly in situations of displacement. It establishes a child’s legal identity and can help prevent statelessness.

“By ensuring refugees are included in the national civil registration system, the Government of Ethiopia has taken a big step in enhancing the protection environment of refugees in Ethiopia,” said Clementine Nkweta Salami, the UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia.

“Previously Ethiopia’s policy was just based on caring for and hosting refugees in the camps,“ said Mr Zenynu Jamal, Deputy Director for the government’s refugee division, “But this current shift is amazing to see. It shows that our consistent commitment to neighbours fleeing conflict, human catastrophes and natural disasters will continue.”

Civil registration is also important for policy development and planning Ethiopia’s Development Agenda – in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). The framework aims to enhance refugee self-reliance and inclusion, provide refugees with better possibilities for solutions to their plight, and ease pressure on host countries. Ethiopia is also among the first countries to roll out CRRF. It currently hosts more than 883,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

Ethiopia stands #WithRefugees

Latest News

Browse all
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams will be making their London premiere at Underbelly Festival for six weeks only from 6th April. The 14-strong cast tells the tale of the circus through astonishing synchronised feats of acrobatics, juggling, contortion and dance, as seen on ITV’s Royal Variety Performance. Tickets on sale now.
13 Mar 2018
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams makes London premiere
Editorial: As part of the ongoing governmental reform process in Ethiopia, the Council of Ministers declared a 6-month State of Emergency. Now, more than ever, it is incumbent on the peace-loving citizens of Ethiopia to defend the constitutional order from all threats, thereby establishing a foundation for the reforms needed to secure peace, advance development and propel our young democracy.
12 Mar 2018
Stability Holds the Key to Reform
The weekly publication from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia.
9 Mar 2018
A Week in the Horn
A 12-member team represented Ethiopia at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham from 1st – 14th March. At the conclusion of the event, Team Ethiopia finished second on the medal table, behind the USA, with 4 gold and 1 silver. The United Kingdom finished fourth with 2 gold, 1 silver and 4 bronze medals.
6 Mar 2018
Genzebe Dibaba leads Team Ethiopia to World Indoor Championships glory
Today, as ever, the spirit of Adwa inspires us – reminding us of our courage in the face of unprecedented hostility and our unity in the fight for our independence. On Adwa Day 2018, we summon this spirit once again to unite Ethiopia in our battles against poverty and in pursuit of democracy and development.
28 Feb 2018
Rekindling the Spirit of Adwa
Full remarks by Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, H.E. Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework, at the 12th Nile Day celebrations in London.
26 Feb 2018
Remarks H.E. Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework at the 12th Nile Day celebrations in London
On 22 February, the Embassy hosted Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Diplomats from Nile Basin countries to celebrate the 12th Nile Day in London for the first time under the theme “The Nile – Shared River, Collective Action".
26 Feb 2018
Nile Day commemorated in London for the first time
Editorial by Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, H.E. Dr. Eng. Seleshi Bekele, on Nile Day 2018. Ethiopia is hosting the 2018 Regional Nile Day celebrations in commemoration of the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
22 Feb 2018
The Nile: Shared River, Collective Action
Ethiopia will host the Regional Nile Day event on February 22, 2018 for the third time. Nile Day is an annual event held to commemorate the establishment of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) in 1999.
21 Feb 2018
Ethiopia to host Nile Day 2018 celebrations
Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu briefed the Diplomatic Community on the current situation in Ethiopia. He assured them that “the Government is undertaking reforms and concrete measures in a bid to move the country forward in terms of ensuring sustainable peace, national security, and widening of the political space.”
20 Feb 2018
Dr. Workneh briefs Diplomatic Community on the current situation in Ethiopia
A six-month State of Emergency has been declared, effective from Friday 16th February 2018, to protect the constitution and constitutional order. Further details of the decree will be announced by the Command Post in due course.
19 Feb 2018
State of Emergency Declared