Migrant Workers Rights under the Ethiopian Legal System

Kidus Meskele Ashine


The FDRE Constitution clearly states that freedom of movement as one of the basic human rights is protected in Ethiopia (Art 32). Using this right many Ethiopians have and are moving from place to place for earning a living or various other reasons within the country and abroad. Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) estimates that around 1.5 million Ethiopians had left the country illegally between the years 2008 and 2014. While, 480,480 Ethiopians went to Arab countries legally during these years.[1]

It is only a recent phenomenon that the 30 Ethiopian migrant workers were beheaded in Libya by ISIS, whose evil act put all Ethiopians in deep sorrow. Furthermore, when terrible stories and the sufferings of a huge number of Ethiopians particularly women living and working in Middle East countries had become common phenomena, the government had banned (Human Rights Watch, 2012) the travel for Middle East countries with a view to protecting its citizens from harsh treatments and sufferings in the hands of illegal Foreign Employment agencies and irresponsible employers as well. Following these and other similar events the Ethiopia government has taken and is taking different legal, political and practical measures that aimed at protecting Ethiopia migrant workers abroad. The main objective of this term paper is, therefore, to critically evaluate the Ethiopia legal system in respect to the protection it makes available to the rights of migrant workers.

[1] Protecting labour migration through legal means, The Ethiopia Herald, vol. XIX, No.67 29Augest 2015

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