The International Observatory on Statelessness


An indeterminate number of persons of Eritrean origin in Ethiopia are stateless or vulnerable to it. During the 1998-2000 border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, many people, especially those in mixed marriages or being descendents thereof, became stateless. Ethiopia denationalized individuals of Eritrean origin, claiming that they were a security risk or that they had renounced their citizenship by voting in the 1993 referendum on Eritrean independence. An estimated 75,000 individuals were deported to Eritrea, ripping families apart and forcing those left behind to hide their identities. Today, sources suggest that many, perhaps most, Eritreans living in Ethiopia reacquired citizenship under a nationality proclamation enacted in 2003. However, some individuals have reported problems obtaining national identification cards, including 3-year delays and interrogation by immigration officials. Others who have Ethiopian nationality reported that they do not enjoy the full benefits of citizenship, and are compelled to hide their identities for fear of discrimination or harassment. The number of persons in Eritrea who may be stateless as a result of the 1998-2000 conflict is unknown.

(See also Eritrea)