Ethiopia begins civil registration for refugees


Ethiopia has launched civil registration for refugees in the country, allowing them to register life events such as birth, marriage and death.

For the first time in Ethiopia’s history, refugees in the country are able to make key life events official and recognised by authorities. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has praised the move as a “historic first and groundbreaking development for refugee protection in Ethiopia”.

Refugee lives recognised

The new policy in Ethiopia means the life events of refugees in the country will be recognised by the government and other authorities. Crucially, it means children born from refugee parents in Ethiopia can now have their births registered in the country.

According to UNHCR: “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 guarantees refugee children basic human rights and inclusion in key developmental programmes for education and other important social areas.

‘A historic first’

Ethiopia’s open door policy for refugees is widely praised by the international community but the lives of refugees once they enter the country has come with few guarantees. Integration into society can be difficult and access to education and employment is often limited.

The introduction of civil registration for refugees aims to make this integration easier. The goal is to allow more refugees to live outside of camps and become a part of Ethiopian society – both as a recipient and a contributor.

At the launch on Friday, eleven refugees were issued with certificates an Addis Ababa. Civil registration offices have also been opened across all 26 refugee camps and several locations with high refugee populations.


Featured image: By Chebyshev1983 at English Wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.