The American University in Cairo Center for Migration and Refugee Studies Database
Legal Instruments
Statistics and Figures

  Legal Instruments   

This section provides a list of international conventions and regional/bilateral agreements to which each country is a signatory, as well as national legislation that deals with movement, migration, asylum and human rights. Each listing includes a PDF/ link to a publically accessible document of the convention/law mentioned.
  International Conventions:

International Criminal law 

Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 2 December 1949 (entered into force 25 July 1951) 96 U.N.T.S. 271. Ratified 1981


Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 10 December 1984 (entered into force 26 June 1987) 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 [CAT]. Ratified 1994

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 15 November 2000) 2241 U.N.T.S. 507 [Palermo Protocol]. Ratified 2012


Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 15 December 2000) 2237 U.N.T.S 319 [Palermo Protocol]. Ratified 2012


United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, 15 November 2000 (entered into force 29 September 2003) 2225 U.N.T.S 209. Signed 2000, Ratified 2007


Slavery Convention, 25 September 1926 (entered into force 7 July 1955), 60 L.N.T.S. 253. Ratified 1969 PDF

International Human Rights Law 

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 18 December 1979, 1249 U.N.T.S 513 [CEDAW].

Ratified 1969 

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 7 March 1966, 660 U.N.T.S 195 [CERD]. Ratified 19726 


Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3 [CRC].

Ratified 1991 PDF

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, 999 U.N.T.S. 171 [ICCPR]. Ratified 1993

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 16 December 1966 (entered into force 3 Jan 1976) 993 U.N.T.S. 3 [ICESCR]. Signed N/A, Ratified 1993

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/217 A (III), 10 December 1948, Art 14. [UDHR].



International Humanitarian Law/Law of War

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 31 [First Geneva Convention]. Signed 1949, Ratified 1969

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea
, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 85 [Second Geneva Convention].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1969

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War
, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 135 [Third Geneva Convention].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1969

Link to Conv.

Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
, 12 August 1949 (entered into force 21 October 1950) 75 U.N.T.S. 287 [Fourth Geneva Convention].

Signed 1949, Ratified 1969

Link to Conv.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts
, 8 June 1977 (entered into force Dec. 7, 1978.) 1125 U.N.T.S. 3 [Protocol I]. Ratified 1994

Link to Protocol.

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts
, 8 June 1977 (entered into force 7 December 1978) 1125 U.N.T.S. 609 [Protocol II].

Ratified 1994 Link to Protocol

International Labor Law 

ILO Convention C 111 Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (1958). Ratified 1966

Link to Conv.

ILO Convention C 29 Forced or Compulsory Labour Convention (1932). Ratified 1996

 Link to Conv.

ILO Convention C 181 Private Employment Agencies Convention (1958). Ratified 1999

Link to Conv.


ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2005).

Link to Framework


International Refugee Law 

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951, 189 U.N.T.S. 150. [Refugee Convention]. Ratified 1969

Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, 4 October 1967, 606 U.N.T.S. 267. [Refugee Protocol] Ratified 1969 


  Regional and Bilateral Agreements:

Regional Agreements 

OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (1969). 
Signed 1969, Ratified 1973

Joint Africa-EU Declaration on Migration and Development (2006). 

African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (The Kampala Convention) (2009).
Signed 2009, Ratified N/A

Service Agreement on Airport Transfer between the Republic of Djibouti and Ethiopia (1998).
PDF_Eg. Am

Irregular Migration & Readmission Agreements 

None currently listed

Labor Agreements 

Labor Agreement between Ethiopia and Qatar (2013).
PDF_Eg and Arm

Social Security Agreements 
None currently listed

  National Legislation:

Ethiopian Nationals 

 Proclamation No. 923 of 2016 sets out provisions on the rights and conditions of Ethiopians working abroad
PDF_Eg, Am

Proclamation No. 270 of 2002 provides foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin with certain rights to be exercised in their country of origin
PDF_Eg, Am

Regulation No. 101 of 2004 providing foreign nationals with Ethiopian origin certain rights and privilages
PDF_Eg. Am

Proclamation No. 270 of 2002 providing foreign nationals of Ethiopian origins with certain rights and privileges in their countries of origin
Refworld_PDF_EG, am

Migration and Labor 

 Proclamation No. 282 of 2013 establishes conditions for acquiring a work permit and private Employment Agency License Fees Council of Ministers
PDF_Eg, Am

Directive issued in 2004 determines the residence status of Eritrean nationals residing in Ethiopia
PDF_Eg, Arm

Proclamation No. 354 of 2003 articulates entry and exist procedures and documentations for foreign nationals
PDF_Eg, Am

Proclamation No. 271 of 1969 Regulates the entry to and departure from Ethiopia by foreigners. Requires, inter alia, that foreigners be issued with entry visas, transit visas or tourist visas and provides for the appointment of immigration officers
PDF_Eg, Am

Proclamation No.6 of 1995 establishes the Security, Immigration and Refugee Affairs Authority
PDF_Eg, Am

Proclamation 11 of 1995 on the establishment of a tourism commission to promote tourism
PDF_Eg. Am

Proclamation No. 58 of 1996, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, on funding the Addis Ababa International Airport
PDF_Eg, Am


Asylum Laws 

 Proclamation No. 409 of 2004 on the status determination of a refugees and their rights and obligations in Ethiopia
PDF_Eg, Am

Legal Notice No. 395 of 1971 Provides requirements for obtaining travel documents for including emergency travel documents and documents for refugees
PDF_Eg, Am

Smuggling and Trafficking 

 Proclamation No. 909 of 2015 prevents the trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants
PDF_Eg, Am



  Statistics and Figures:   

This section provides links to regularly updated sites that provide statistics on migrants and refugees in different countries around the world.

Below are links to various databases that provide statistics and figures relevant to the movement of people in and out of Ethiopia:  


UNHCR Statistics Database

Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre 


This section includes a comprehensive list of sources and links to journal articles, books, webpages, etc. for each country in the database that address migration and refugee topics within the context of education, health, legal, psychosocial, political, among others. Each listed source includes a brief description of the material and a link.


Link to Researchers

Abdelmoneim, Sara; Tambal, Nuha, and Suzan Adam. "Factors Influencing Access of Women Migrant Domestic Workers to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Services at Khartoum State: The Case of Ethiopian Migrant Domestic Workers." Ahfad Journal 32.2 (2015): 25-35. Link to Article

Keyword: women, migrants, domestic, worker, sexual, reproductive, health, Khartoum

This paper investigates access to health resources, especially sexual and reproductive health, for female domestic workers in Khartoum. The research finds that relevant policies do not recognize female migrants' need for health care. However, the authors find that there are no difference in the treatment of non-Sudanese women, except in issuance of death certificates. Female domestic workers, as a result, use different mechanisms to deal sexual and reproductive health. 

Blerk, Lorraine. "Poverty, Migration and Sex Work: Youth Transitions in Ethiopia." Royal Geopolitical Society 40.2 (2008): 245–253. (Summary adapted from resource)  Link to Article

Keyword: poverty, youth, transition, transitions, Ethiopia, 

By drawing on interviews with 60 young commercial sex workers in Ethiopia, this paper explores the connections between poverty, migration and sex work and demonstrates that sex work provides a risky alternative, but often successful, oath to independence for some rural-urban migrants. This paper concludes by offering recommendations for policies that seek to support young sex workers by enabling them to maintain their independence while seeking different employment. 

Brauw, Alan, Valerie Mueller, and Tassew Woldehanna. "Motives to Remit: Evidence from Tracked Internal Migrants in Ethiopia." World Development 50 (2013): 13-23. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: remit, remittances, migrants, Ethiopia

The authors use a unique matched migrant sample to study what drives the low remittance rates in Ethiopia. Descriptive statistics suggest remitters are positively selected in terms of wealth characteristics compared with the average tracked migrant. Limited skill transferability and liquidity largely explain low remittance rates in Ethiopia. Migrants are additionally motivated to remit as a form of self-insurance against own shocks to income and to protect their family’s productive assets.

Cook, Seth, et al. "Chinese Migrants in Africa: Facts and Fictions from the Agri-Food Sector in Ethiopia and Ghana." World Development 81 (2016): 61-70. (Summary adapted from resource). Link to Article

Keyword: Chinese, migrants, Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana

This paper makes an empirical and ethnographic contribution to the literature on Chinese migrants in Africa by using five case studies to explore their role in the agri-food sector in Ethiopia and Ghana. The study finds that the realities of Chinese migrants in this sector matches neither popular media stereotypes of empire building and land grabbing, nor Chinese government narratives of South–South cooperation, technology transfer, and agricultural development. Far from being a “silent army” promoting larger Chinese state objectives, they operate independently and serve no agenda other than their own. Many migrants have little if any contact with the Chinese Embassy or other official Chinese presence in Africa. While none of our informants have received support from the Chinese government, they are nonetheless affected by government regulatory frameworks in African countries and their activities are shaped accordingly. The regulatory policy environment is very different in the two countries, and this has implications for the livelihood strategies of Chinese migrants. While the impacts of their presence on local development are modest overall, these impacts do appear to be positive in the sense that they are creating economic opportunities, both for themselves and for local people.

"Ethiopia Immigration Detention Report." Global Detention Project (2015). Link to Webpage

Keyword: detention, deportation 

This report provides extensive details on detention of refugees and migrants in Ethiopia providing accounts of detention centers, institutions, demographics and setting the domestic and international legal framework surrounding detention. 

"Ethiopia." Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (2016). Link to Article

Keyword: mixed, migration, report, Ethiopia 

This report provides a background on Ethiopia as a mixed migration, origin, transit and destination mixed migration country providing demographic details and accounts of IDPs, asylum seekers, and refugees in Ethiopia. The report includes a detailed description of protection issues facing mixed migrants, including detention and trafficking. 


Beyene, Hailay Gebretinsae. "Are African Diasporas Development Partners, Peace-Makers Or Spoilers? the Case of Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria." Diaspora Studies 8.2 (2015): 145. Link to Article

Keyword: Africa, diaspora, development, partners, peace, spoilers, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria 

This study assesses the role of African diaspora in development, conflict resolution and peace-building in their countries of origin with specific reference to Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria between 1995 and 2013. The author finds that the consequences of migration of skilled labor are more severe for small economies than for larger economies.

Davidson, Autumn S., et al. "Is LARC for Everyone? A Qualitative Study of Sociocultural Perceptions of Family Planning and Contraception among Refugees in Ethiopia." Maternal and child health journal (2016). Link to Article

Keyword: health, socioculture, family, planning, contraception, refugees, Ethiopia, Somali, Eritrea

This study examines the role of culture in perceptions of Somali and Eritrea refugees living in Ethiopia about contraceptives. The study finds that culture, religion and refugee status form a complex interplay with family planning attitudes and behaviors among Eritrean and Somali refugees. Overall, both groups hold positive views of contraceptive impact and negative ones towards intrauterine device (IUD) due to its long-lasting nature. The three year implants appears to be a more acceptable contraceptive method as its in line with cultural factors and reproductive plans. 

Gundel, Joakim. "The Migration-Development Nexus: Somalia Case Study." International Migration 40.5 (2002): 255. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: migration, development, Somalia, 

This article examines the role the migration-development linkage utilizing the case of Somalis. It describes the flows of migration in modern Somali history, the emerging Somali diaspora that maintains links with their homeland through remittances. The paper concludes that aid and migration have a multidimensional link and that development can lead to migration and vice versa. The author finds that remittances have effects on socio-economic development if there is political stability that provides an environment for productive investment, and that remittances have been far more important for livelihood and survival in Somalia than development and humanitarian aid. 

Markos, Kibret. "The Treatment of Somali Refugees in Ethiopia under Ethiopian and International Law." International Journal of Refugee Law 9.3 (1997): 365.  (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: Somali, refugees, Ethiopia, international, law 

This article demonstrates the gap between the standards set in international refugee law and those in a national level, and the legal and practical constrains this gap can be attributed to using the case of Ethiopia. The article provides an overview of the international refugee instruments ratified by Ethiopia, discusses the challenges in the treatment of the Somali refugees in Ethiopia, and shows that a special attention needs to be paid to the causes of refugee flight to address the issue. 

Matsuoka, Atsuko, and John Sorenson. "Ethnic Identity and Social Service Delivery: Some Models Examined in Relation to Immigrants and Refugees from Ethiopia." Canadian Social Work review 8.2 (1991): 255-268. Link to Article

Keyword: ethnic, identity, social, service, immigrants, refugees, Ethiopia

This article seeks to understand the community of Ethiopian immigrants and refugees in Canada for the purpose of improving social service delivery. The findings of the research are based on extensive interviews conducted with key informants, a survey questionnaire give to 160 individuals and close to a decade of personal observation. 

Mitike, Getnet, and Wakgari Deressa. "Prevalence and Associated Factors of Female Genital Mutilation among Somali Refugees in Eastern Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study." BMC Public Health 9 (2009): 264-73. Link to Article

Keyword: FGM, female, genital, mutilation, Somalia, Ethiopia

This study examines the prevalence and associated factors of FGM among 492 respondents from three refugee camps in Somali regional State, Eastern Ethiopia. The study finds that prevalence of FGM increases with age and that it is widely practised among the Somali refugee community in Eastern Ethiopia. The study finds that there is considerable support for the continuation of the practice of FGM particularly among women and that more men than women positively viewed anti-FGM interventions and fewer men than women had intentions of letting their daughters undergo FGM. 

Zarowsky, Christina. "Writing Trauma: Emotion, Ethnography, and the Politics of Suffering among Somali Returnees in Ethiopia." Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry 28.2 (2004): 189-209. (Summary adapted from resource) Link to Article

Keyword: writing, Trauma, politics, suffering, ethnography 

This paper contributes to the understanding of emotion, suffering, and trauma in different cultural and sociopolitical contexts, and interrogates the roles and methods of ethnographies of trauma in situations of high political, social, and economic stakes by comparing Somali narratives of emotion and suffering with literature about emotion in relation to trauma and “the refugee experience.” 


Campbell, John. “The Enduring Problem of Statelessness in the Horn of Africa: How Nation-States and Western Courts (Re)Define Nationality.” International Journal of Refugee Law 23. 4. (2011): 656–679. Link to Article

Keyword: Ethiopia, Eritrea, border, war, expulsion

“Across Africa, citizenship is being manipulated and restricted to deny rights to those whom a state wishes to marginalize or exclude. This occurred on a large scale between 1998–2000 when Ethiopia and Eritrea, using war as an excuse, arrested and forcibly expelled an estimated 150,000 people. These individuals were stripped of their civil and legal rights, their property and, for many, their nationality. While much was made of the expulsions at the time, the wider issues raised by these actions – in particular the continued vulnerability of the deportees to further abuses and the failure of the courts to address their situation – has not been examined. This article begins by looking at events in the Horn before examining evidence regarding the inability of those who were expelled to obtain asylum.”


Fullerton, Maryellen. "The Intersection of Statelessness and Refugee Protection in US Asylum Policy." Journal on Migration and Human Security 2.3 (2014): 144-164. Link to Journal

Keyword: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Haile v. Holder, Soviet Union, persecution

This article covers how Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and their border dispute that led to war in 1998 brought about stateless persons and  denationalization. 


UN High Commissioner for Refugees. "Global Action Plan to End Statelessness." UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2014). Link to Article 

Keyword: born, gender, protection, documentation 

  “To End Statelessness within 10 years, the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014-2024 establishes a guiding framework of 10 Actions to be undertaken  by States with the support of UNHCR and other stakeholders to: resolve existing major situations of statelessness, prevent new cases of statelessness from  emerging and better identity and protect stateless populations.”