His Crime: Being an Ethiopian in Singapore

His Crime: Being an Ethiopian in Singapore Chimdessa Tsega

“I believe I am discriminated because of my nationality… I am not saying that I am entitled to be here. But an arbitrary decision without merit is unacceptable.” says Chimdessa Tsega.

By Phyllis Lee (The Independent) |

Ethiopian national Chimdessa Tsega has been studying in Singapore since 2015 – but his life here has recently been cut short.

Chimdessa holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and was offered a full scholarship to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) education in the school’s law faculty in February.

On top of being a recognized student leader for his role as a senior editor of the Asian Journal of Public Affairs, Chimdessa also actively volunteers for various events, including the International Conference on Public Policy held in June.

However, on 17 June, he received news that his application for a student’s pass was rejected.

The 31-year-old told The Independent:

“I believe I am discriminated because of my nationality. Of all the students who applied for the student’s pass from the same school for a PhD in the same university, only my application was rejected for no reason. I understand that immigration is a domestic jurisdiction and the authorities have the right to accept or reject applications. I am not saying that I am entitled to be here. But an arbitrary decision without merit is unacceptable.”

According to Chimdessa, none of the relevant institutions or authority figures he reached out to had offered him help

A spokesperson from NUS Faculty of Law said: “The Faculty is aware of the matter and we are in contact with the student involved to provide the necessary assistance.”

Every student’s pass application is carefully assessed on its own merits, and acceptance into an educational institution in Singapore does not necessarily guarantee the issuance of a pass.

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