American actress Tiffany Haddish is now officially a dual citizen with Eritrea, the birthplace of her father, who moved to the United States as a refugee before she was born.
Haddish was born in the United States and has identified herself as American with Eritrean parentage.
She visited Eritrea last year to bury her father, Tsihaye Reda Haddish. She’s now in the country to celebrate the 28th anniversary of its independence, which happens Friday.
In photographs shared on social media, Haddish is seen draped in the Eritrean flag, while filling out forms with officials present.
Haddish has always shown pride in her roots. During last year’s Oscars ceremony, she graced the red carpet in a stunning zuria gown, a traditional dress worn by women in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Her dress was topped with a kaba, a cape-like ornament usually worn by brides and grooms.
An Eritrean diplomat in the United States confirmed Tiffany Haddish’s citizenship, saying it happened at “a very touching moment of our independence week.”
Eritrea is having a week of celebrations to mark its independence from Ethiopia after a 30-year war.
This year’s anniversary is significant, as it’s the first time the country’s border with Ethiopia is at peace following last year’s agreement by the two countries to end their war.
Eritreans have shown their support of Haddish’s Eritrean citizenship on Twitter while voicing their hopes that she will speak out against some of the regime’s policies and actions.
Eritrea is often described as the “North Korea of Africa” and has never had a national election. There is no free press, and citizens are not allowed to leave without an exit visa issued by the government.
Forced national military service, which is supposed to last 18 months, can last indefinitely.
A Human Rights Watch report from 2017 stated that “physical abuse, including torture” occurs frequently for people taking part in national service, and “so does forced domestic servitude and sexual violence by commanders against female conscripts.”