Ethiopia to Give National ID Cards to Rastafarians, Ethiopian Jews Featured

28 Jul 2017
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Addis Ababa July 28/2017 The government of Ethiopia announced that it will give national identity cards for Rastafarians, Ethiopian Jews and foreign nationals who have positive contributions to the country.

The move to provide national ID card for the designated individuals is intended to legally recognize their deep relationship with Ethiopia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Persons provided with the ID card can enter the country without visa and live without resident permits.

The individuals who will be provided with the national ID still cannot take part in elections or engage in the country's security and defense sectors.

Ministry spokesperson Meles Alem said a guideline for the implementation of the provision has already prepared in collaboration with the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).

The guideline was prepared based on the bill that provides for the benefit of people of Ethiopian origin, he noted.

The move will benefit Rastafarians who long have been seen as stateless in Ethiopia. Close to 1,000 Rastafarians are estimated to live in Ethiopia. Began after Emperor Hailesilasei I came to power, Rastafarianism, has followers who believe he is god.

Ethiopian Jews, also known as Beta Israel, Jews that lived for centuries in Ethiopia, are also among the beneficiaries of this decision. They have a significant presence both in Ethiopia and in Israel.

The government believes that the move will enhance the participation of those individuals in the overall development of the country.

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