Fear of the Ethiopian authorities is the most common reason for applying for protection.

In 2017, we granted permits in 6% of cases. We rarely reverse decisions in cases that concern appeals against the Directorate of Immigration's (UDI) decisions (appeal cases). In most cases, the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) thus agrees with UDI that it is not dangerous for asylum seekers to return to Ethiopia. We reject many of these appeal cases because we do not believe the applicant's statement regarding his or her experiences in Ethiopia. The decision must always state why we do not believe the applicant's statement.

When we consider whether a statement is credible, we make an overall assessment of the case. Among other things, we consider whether the statement is coherent, consistent and logical, and seems to describe a personal experience. We also consider the statement in relation to other information in the case, such as information about the country in question.

The permits we grant are often based on reversals of UNE's own decisions due to new information and circumstances in the case. Residence may be granted on humanitarian grounds because of a child's connection to Norway or serious health problems, or asylum may be granted because of oppositional political activity in Norway against the Ethiopian authorities.

Read more about what we place emphasis on when we assess whether a family is to be allowed to stay in Norway because of children's connection to Norway in the report 'Permanent scheme for children who have lived in Norway for a long period' (in Norwegian only).

What do we consider?

Most people from Ethiopia who apply for protection state that they are afraid of the country’s authorities. Many say that they have engaged in opposition activities against the government, or that they have close relatives who are or have been active in banned opposition groups.

Many applicants belong to the ethnic group Oromo. They often say that they have participated in demonstrations in Ethiopia, and that they were imprisoned because of this. Some applicants are ethnic Somali who fear persecution by the authorities because members of their family belong to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

Everyone who applies for asylum in Norway is obliged to assist in clarifying their identity. Applicants who have a passport must hand this in. Other documents may also be accepted as proof of identity. Applicants who do not have ID documents are obliged to do their best to obtain such documents.

We conclude that an applicant's identity is either substantiated or not substantiated:

Substantiated identity: We believe that it is probable that the applicant is who he says he is. Documents and the applicant's statement can help to substantiate their identity. As a rule, the identity of the applicant must be substantiated before a residence permit can be granted.

Not substantiated: We believe that it is not probable that the applicant is who he says he is. This is the case when the applicant has not helped to establish who he is and where he comes from, by, for example, providing incorrect information. The reason we believe the identity has not been substantiated must always be included in the decision.

Ethiopian documents are not very reliable, but we nevertheless want applicants to submit any ID documents they have. The documents are unreliable because corruption and document forgery are rife in Ethiopia. The importance attached to the documents submitted varies from case to case. An original Ethiopian passport will normally be sufficient to substantiate the identity of an applicant. We only assess identity if it is relevant to the case. This means that we can reject an appeal without assessing the applicant’s identity. 

We rarely grant protection in cases where UDI has refused an application. We have reversed decisions in a small number of cases where the applicant has been politically active in Norway in a way that would make it dangerous to travel to Ethiopia. We have also reversed some cases and granted residence permits on humanitarian grounds to families with children who have lived in Norway for a long time. In a very small number of cases, UNE has granted residence permits to persons with serious health problems who cannot get adequate treatment in Ethiopia.

Many Ethiopians who have received a final rejection from UNE do not return to Ethiopia. Therefore, UNE considers many requests for reversals from Ethiopians who are still in Norway.

Many Ethiopians who have received a final rejection from UNE do not return to Ethiopia. This means that there are many families with children who develop a connection to Norway that forms the basis for a permit. Therefore, UNE considers many requests for reversals from Ethiopians who are still in Norway.

In some of the cases, health problems are cited as the reason for the applicant's request for the case to be reconsidered and for reversal of the decision. We then ask the applicant to submit documentation of the health problems from a doctor. The threshold for being granted a permit because of health problems is high.

You can read about the health problems that can form a basis for a permit and the type of documentation we require in our professional guide on health problems that form the basis for a residence permit.

You can find general information about health services in Ethiopia in Landinfo's report Etiopia: helse – hiv/aids, tuberkulose og diabetes (Ethiopia: health – HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and diabetes, in Norwegian only) (external page – PDF).

We use many different sources. Much of the information we use has been collected by Landinfo, a unit that prepares reports on topics that are important for UDI and UNE. Recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR, external link) are also important. We read reports from organisations such as Amnesty International (external link) and Human Rights Watch (external link), and keep up to date with reports in the media and from other countries’ migration authorities. UNE has also met with opposition politicians both in Ethiopia and in Norway.