Ethiopia: Appearance and information contained in identity cards and birth certificates issued in the Somali Region (2014-September 2016) [ETH105630.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Identity Cards

Information on identity cards issued in the Somali Region could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. For information on Ethiopian Kebele cards, the appearance of identity cards and birth certificates issued in Addis Ababa, or the availability of fraudulent documents, please refer to Responses to Information Requests ZZZ104428 of May 2013, ETH104950 of October 2014, and ETH105567 of July 2016, respectively.

2. Birth Certificates

Sources indicate that the Vital Events Registration Agency launched a nationwide registration of vital events in Ethiopia on 4 August 2016, announcing that registration of vital events would start on 6 August 2016 (ENA 4 Aug. 2016; UN 4 Aug. 2016). The website of UNICEF Ethiopia states that this is a "permanent, compulsory and universal registration and certification of vital events," including birth, death, marriage and divorce (ibid.). The website also indicates that, in the past, "birth death and marriage certificates were issued by hospitals, churches and municipalities in an un-systematic and fragmented manner" (ibid.). Further information on birth certificates in the Somali Region, including appearance, could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Ethiopian News Agency (ENA). 4 August 2016. "Ethiopia to Start First Ever Vital Events Registration." [Accessed 29 Sept. 2016]

United Nations (UN). 4 August 2016. UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). "Vital Events Registration Kicks Off in Ethiopia." [Accessed 12 Sept. 2016]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Canada – Embassy in Addis Ababa; Ethiopia – Embassy in Ottawa, Vital Events Registration Agency; Ethiopian Lawyers Association; International Organization for Migration; a lawyer and former Chief Justice of the Somali Region in Ethiopia's Supreme Court in the Somali Region; School of Law, Jijiga University; UN – Children's Fund Ethiopia.

Internet sites, including: Addis Fortune; Africa Confidential; All Africa; Amnesty International; BBC; Capital;; Ethiopia – Central Statistical Agency, Ethiopian Government Portal, Vital Events Registration Agency; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; Human Rights Watch; International Organization for Migration; Migration Policy Institute; Norway – Landinfo; Radio France internationale;; The Reporter; UN – Development Programme, High Commissioner for Refugees, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Refworld, Reliefweb, United Nations University Migration Network; US – Department of State.

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