Fear of the Ethiopian authorities is the most common reason for applying for protection.
In 2020, we granted permits in 35% 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) 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.
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.
During 2018 there was a positive development in the conditions for political oppostion in Ehtiopia. Oppostion parties suh as the Oromo Liberation Front, the Patriotic Ginbot 7 and Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), who previously were considered terrorist groups, were allowed.
The Authorities invited the leadership of the opposition parties to participate in the political democratisation process in the country. Several leading figures of the oppostion, its members and activists who had lived abroad returned to the country.
In this paper by The Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo) Etiopia: politisk utvikling i 2018 (PDF, eksternal link in Norwegian only) you can read more about the political development in the country.
The situation for members of the ONLF and the reactions by the authorities are discussed in this paper by The Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo) (external link, in Norwegian only)
Following the positive changes in 2018 there has been an increase in etnichally motivated violence and conflict. Political opponents, journalists and acitivists have typically been targeted during and after riots. UNE has seen an increase in cases were claims of ethnical affiliation and political activity are central.
During 2020 there has been a rapid escalation in the conflict between TPLF and the federal governement, which resulted in military action from the government in November 2020.
From November 2021 to April 2022, the cases were put on hold due to uncertainty about the political situation and development in Ethiopia. In May 2022 we started to process cases from Ethiopia again. How the situation in Ethiopia is today and what this means for the practise in these cases, is still early to say.
UNE stays up to date on the situation, and our assessment of asylum claims are always based on updated country information.
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.
In cases where we maintain the UDI's decision, it is usually not concluded whether the applicant's identity is substantiated or not.
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 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.