International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Ethiopia

Ethiopia
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Exercise increased caution when traveling in Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest and communications disruptions. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution when traveling in Ethiopia due to the potential for civil unrest and communications disruptions. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Somali Regional State due to potential for civil unrest, terrorism, and landmines.

Reconsider travel to:

  • The East Hararge region of Oromia state due to civil unrest.
  • The Danakil Depression region in Afar due to crime.
  • Border areas with Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea due to armed conflict or civil unrest.

The Government of Ethiopia has restricted or shut down internet, cellular data, and phone services during and after civil unrest. This impedes the U.S. Embassy’s ability to communicate with, and provide consular services to, U.S. citizens in Ethiopia.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Addis Ababa. 

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Ethiopia:

  • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners.
  • Carry a copy of your passport and visa and leave originals in your hotel safe.
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Ethiopia.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Somali Region

Civilians have been killed and injured in civil unrest along the Oromia-Somali Regional State border and in ongoing military operations against armed groups in the Ogaden and Hararge areas.

Terrorists maintain a presence in Somali towns near the Ethiopian border, presenting a risk of cross-border attacks targeting foreigners.

There are also landmines in this region.

U.S. government personnel may not take personal trips to the Somali region.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The East Hararge Region of Oromia State

Demonstrations can occur anywhere with little warning. Civil unrest has resulted in injuries and deaths in parts of Oromia State. Government security forces have used lethal force in response to some demonstrations.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Danakil Depression in Afar

Violent crime, such as armed assault, is common.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has restricted travel to Danakil Depression for Embassy personnel.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Border Areas with Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea

U.S. government personnel may not take personal trips to:

  • The border areas with Eritrea in the Tigray and Afar regions.
  • The border with Kenya in the Oromia region.
  • Gambella (except Gambella City).
  • Benishangul Gumuz (except Asosa) adjacent to the Sudan border.

U.S. government personnel must travel to Gambella City and Asosa by plane only. 

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

... [READ MORE]
Hague Convention Participation
Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
No
What You Can Do
Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US
ALL /
ALL /
Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa

Entoto Street
PO Box 1014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone:
+251-11-130-6000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-130-6000
Fax: +251-11-124-2435 and +251-11-124-2419
Email: AddisACS@state.gov

General Information

For information concerning travel to Ethiopia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Ethiopia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA).  The report is located here.

Hague Abduction Convention

Ethiopia is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention), nor are there any bilateral agreements in force between Ethiopia and the United States concerning international parental child abduction.

Return

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ethiopia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances. 

The Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues provides assistance in cases of international parental child abduction.  For U.S. citizen parents whose children have been wrongfully removed to or retained in countries that are not U.S. partners under the Hague Abduction Convention, the Office of Children's Issues can provide information and resources about country-specific options for pursuing the return of or access to an abducted child.  The Office of Children's Issues may also coordinate with appropriate foreign and U.S. government authorities about the welfare of abducted U.S. citizen children.  Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone:  1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
Website:  travel.state.gov
Email: AskCI@state.gov

Parental child abduction is a criminal offense in Ethiopia under Article 589 (3) of the Criminal Code of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Parents may wish to consult with an attorney in the United States and in the country to which the child has been removed or retained to learn more about how filing criminal charges may impact a custody case in the foreign court.  Please see Possible Solutions - Pressing Criminal Charges for more information. 

Visitation/Access

Legal systems and laws pertaining to custody, divorce, and parental abduction vary widely from country to country.  Parents are encouraged to consult with an attorney who specializes in family law in Ethiopia and who can provide accurate legal guidance that is specific to their circumstances.

The Office of Children's Issues may be able to assist parents seeking access to children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States.  Parents who are seeking access to children who were not wrongfully removed from or retained outside the United States should contact the appropriate U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia for information and possible assistance.

Retaining an Attorney

Neither the Office of Children's Issues nor consular officials at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia are authorized to provide legal advice.

The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

Under the Ethiopian Family Code, courts may direct parties to a divorce action to attempt to mediate their dispute.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 1, 2015

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa
Entoto Street
PO Box 1014
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Telephone
+251-11-130-6000
Emergency
011-130-6000
Fax
+251-11-124-2435 and +251-11-124-2419
Ethiopia Map