Update to Response to Information Request ETH20057.E of 21 March 1995 on how the government treats family members of men who were officers in the military of the Mengistu administration, especially those who return from self-imposed exile [ETH22636.E]

In a telephone interview on 15 January 1996, an official of the Washington-based Coalition of Ethiopian Democratic Forces (COEDF), an umbrella group of Ethiopian political activists in the United States, stated that not everyone related to an officer who served under Mengistu would be at risk. The source stated that the officer's degree of activism and the nature of his activities against the then opposition Tigray People's Liberation Front might influence how family members are treated by the current government (ibid.).

A December 1994 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) report stated that Amnesty International was "aware of incidents in which relatives of those detained on charges related to Mengistu-era misconduct have been questioned or subjected to surveillance, but is not aware of any jailings of family members solely for their familial relationships" (5-6).

Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Coalition for Ethiopian Democratic Forces (COEDF), Washington, DC. 15 January 1996. Telephone interview with official.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Resource Information Center. December 1994. Profile Series: Ethiopia: Update on Political Conditions. Washington, DC: United States INS Resource Information Center.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International. 1995. Ethiopia: Accountability Past and Present: Human Rights in Transition.

Critique of 1994 DOS Country Reports. 1995.

DIRB Amnesty International Ethiopia Country File.

Ethiopian Human Rights Council. March 1995. Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Review. 1995.

Freedom of the World. 1995.

Oral sources.