Ethiopia’s imperial era citizenship law appears to have abandoned the unfair prerequisite

CORRECTION [Good news ]

Ethiopia’s imperial era citizenship law appears to have abandoned the unfair prerequisite (fluency in Amharic—spoken and written skills) just 16 years ago. See the attached link.

Thank you Mohammod Abdella, an ostensibly well knowledgeable legal expert on the issue at hand, who sent me this

Now, we are all Ethiopian — Hallelujah .


Ethiopia’s citizenship law is said to have been promulgated during the imperial era, and it still remains legally enforceable to this date. It’s an imperial era law that remains unrevised. My informant on this, herself a legal expert, says that the law even requires fluency in Amharic [spoken] as a prerequisite for citizenship. If true, this is really ridiculous.

If that is the case, even though I’m fluent in Amharic [ca: speaking & writing bands] and even scored A in Ethiopian school leaving matriculation exam, I see that someone somewhere can simply revoke my Ethiopian citizenship someday, anyway

Girma Gutema

Proclamation No. 378/2003 on Ethiopian Nationality
Published: 23/Dec/2003
The 2003 Proclamation repeals and replaces the nationality law of 1930. It establishes a descent-based regime for attribution of citizenship at birth, removing gender discrimination in in relation to transmission of citizenship to children and spouses, and providing for a presumption in favour of abandoned infants found in Ethiopia. There is, however, no protection in favour of children born in Ethiopia who would otherwise be stateless.  Naturalisation is possible on the basis of four years’ residence and fulfilment of other conditions; the previous requirement to be fluent in written and spoken Amharic was replaced by a requirement to be able to communicate in one of the languages of the nations/nationalities of the country.

Download file: here