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Last edited: November 2005


Summary and Analysis


Ethiopia acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on May 14, 1991.  According to the 1997 CRC report, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been incorporated into Ethiopian domestic law.[2]  Further, Article Thirteen of the Ethiopian Constitution calls for all human rights provisions of the Constitution to be construed consistent with international human rights agreements ratified by Ethiopia.[3] 


The Ethiopian Revised Family Code of 2000 updated the 1960 family code and controls familial relations, describing the rights and duties of minors and their guardians.  Article 245 allows for the removal of guardians where they do not provide appropriate care.  Article 249 grants the court the authority to hear the minor himself, where the court sees fit, thus providing a discretionary opportunity for the child to be heard directly.


Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to locate a contact person in Ethiopia thus far. 


Sources of Law[4]




The Revised Family Code of 2000[5]


Chapter Twelve MINORS

Section 2. Organs of Protection of Minors


ARTICLE 245- Removal (1) Guardian.

1) The guardian of a minor may be removed by the court where the minor does not receive the care which his condition requires, a morally sound education or an instruction which accords with his dispositions.

2) For this purpose, regard shall be had to the environment in which the guardian lives and all the circumstances of the case.

3) The guardian may in particular be removed by the court where the minor has committed a criminal offence and it appears that his behavior is due to bad education or to lack of education on the part of his guardian.


ARTICLE 246 - (2) Tutor.

The tutor may be removed by the court, where it appears that he administers badly the property of the minor, or where he does not comply with the directions validly given to him by the person or authority who entrusted him with such functions, or where his insolvency had been judicially established.


ARTICLE 247 - (3) Removal of Ascendants.

1) The court shall declare only with extreme caution the removal of the mother or of the father or of the other ascendants as guardians or tutors of their children.

2) The court may revise its decision any time on the application of the person who has been removed from the position guardianship or tutorship.


ARTICLE 248 - (4) Procedure

1) An application for the removal of the guardian or of the tutor may be made by any interested person, or by the public prosecutor.

2) Before declaring the removal of the guardian or the tutor, the court shall enable the latter to give his reasons.

3) Where the court proceeds under Sub-Art. (2) of this ARTICLE, it shall give appropriate provisional order whenever it thinks that additional danger may entail to the person or property of the minor.


ARTICLE 249. - Duties of the Court.

1) Where the court is to appoint or to remove a person as guardian or tutor of a minor it shall before making its decisions, consult, in so far as possible, the ascendants and the brothers and sisters of the child who have attained majority.

2) Where it thinks fit, it may hear the minor himself.

3) The court shall decide having regard solely to the interest of the minor and without being bound by the information which it has obtained.


International Law


Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12[6]

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.


Additional Resources and Links


Save the Children




[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention, CRC/C/15/Add.67 (Jan. 24, 1997), available http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/898586b1dc7b4043c1256a450044f331/8a52da90a06e49e7c1256ce000307fc9/$FILE/G0246422.pdf.

[3] Id.

[4] The order of authority between these sources of law is unclear.

[5] An English version of the Ethiopian Revised Family Code of 2000 is available at http://www.law.ugent.be/pub/nwr/et/FLChapterTwelve.htm (last visited Nov. 28, 2005).

[6] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/crc/treaties/crc.htm (entered into force in Ethiopia on May 14, 1991).


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