Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Migration and Refugee Movements in the Middle East and North Africa

Publication Date



People from mixed Eritrean­Ethiopian families have been caught on the ‘front line’ of hostile relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, especially since the outbreak of the 1998­2000 war between the two countries. This report, based on interviews conducted with refugees from mixed Eritrean­Ethiopian families in Egypt, seeks to explain the uniquely difficult situation still faced by this group. It contends that because of their family relations with both Eritrea and Ethiopia, people from mixed families find themselves in limbo legally, socially and psychologically, and should therefore be of concern to UNHCR’s international protection regime. This report has three aims. The first is to explore the legal questions surrounding the situation of people from mixed families, looking both at the nationality status of individuals (including whether or not they should be considered stateless) and at how UNHCR’s protection regime is dealing with claims for refugee status by people from mixed families. Secondly, the report highlights the structural vulnerabilities that people from mixed families have suffered, and continue to suffer, in their countries of origin as a result of their exclusion from citizenship rights and social support networks. Thus, the report aims to promote better understanding of the situation of people from mixed parentage because it is clear that the situations experienced by the participants in this research are likely to be shared by other people from mixed families. The third aim is to bring to light the continued exclusion and harassment of people from mixed families in Cairo, highlighting the extreme vulnerability of asylum seekers of mixed parentage who remain in Cairo illegally and without social support networks.

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