US Embassy Ethiopia Urges U.S. Citizens to Depart Now Using Commercial Air

 

On November 21, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa sent another Security Message alerting U.S. citizens of the availability of commercial flights out of the country and urging their departure from Ethiopia.
“The security situation in Ethiopia continues to deteriorate.  The U.S. Embassy urges U.S citizens in Ethiopia to depart now using commercially available options. Although the Embassy continues to process emergency passports and repatriation loans, and to provide other emergency services, the Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia with departure if commercial options become unavailable. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.
U.S. citizens wishing to depart Ethiopia, currently have multiple options via commercial flights from Bole International Airport. If you have difficulty securing a flight or need assistance to return to the United States, please contact AddisACS@state.gov for guidance. The Embassy can also provide a repatriation loan for U.S. citizens who cannot afford at this time to purchase a commercial ticket to the United States. If you are a U.S. citizen and delaying your departure because your non-U.S. citizen spouse or minor children do not have immigrant visas or U.S. passports, please contact us immediately.  Similarly, if you are a non-U.S. citizen parent of a U.S. citizen minor but do not have a valid U.S. visa or other document valid for entry to the United States, please contact us.”
The Level 4-Do Not Travel Advisory released on November 6 notes that “The Department of State urges U.S citizens in Ethiopia to depart now using commercially available options. The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Ethiopia with departure if commercial options become unavailable. Although seats on commercial flights currently remain available, we cannot predict when demand will exceed capacity. Please see information on What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis.”
The Department’s What the Department of State Can and Can’t Do in a Crisis” is helpful to U.S. citizens but does not include information on the almost non-existence assistance available to “green card” holders (legal permanent residents) and potential difficulties related to dual nationals.
If U.S. “green card” holders or U.S. permanent residents are arrested overseas (a potential reality given the reported targeted detentions of individuals), 7 FAM 400 on arrest and detention notes specifically that consular officers “do not have the right to demand consular access and visitation for U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens (LPRs)” overseas. It adds that LPRs (who are not U.S. citizens) must “turn to the country of their nationality or citizenship to request and receive consular services.”
Also see 7 FAM 416.37 FAM 416.3-1  Dual National Arrestees In The Non-U.S. Country Of Nationality. “It is a generally recognized rule, often regarded as a rule of international law, that when a person who is a dual national is residing in either of the countries of nationality, the person owes paramount allegiance to that country, and that country has the right to assert its claim without interference from the other country.  Thus, in the absence of agreements to the contrary between the United States and the country of second nationality, if a dual national encounters difficulties in the country of the second nationality while residing there, the U.S. government’s representations on that person’s behalf may or may not be accepted.”
###
Related posts:
Related items:

EEOC: Request to Repay a Debt For Overpayment of $103,321 Is Not Reprisal

 

EEOC Appeal No. 2020001986

The issue is whether Complainant established that the Agency discriminated against him in reprisal for prior protected EEO activity when it requested that he repay a debt.

At the time of events giving rise to this complaint, Complainant worked in a temporary position as a Regional Federal Benefits Officer at the Agency’s U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, Mexico. Complainant stated that he served in this position from October 3, 2010, through August 3, 2013. Report of Investigation (ROI) at 62. Complainant returned to the Social Security Administration (SSA), effective August 3, 2013. ROI at 40.

Complainant stated that the Agency continued to pay his full salary from August 3, 2013, through August 3, 2014, which was in addition to his regular salary from the SSA. ROI at 65. On August 20, 2014, the Agency signed the Notification of Personnel Action (“SF-50”) on the Termination of Complainant’s appointment, effective August 3, 2013. ROI at 97.

On October 13, 2015, the Agency informed Complainant that it had completed its review of his account and determined that Complainant was overpaid by a gross amount of $128,894.94, and that Complainant needed to repay a net amount of $103,928.94. ROI at 110-13. On November 1, 2015, Complainant submitted a request for a waiver of the entire debt. ROI at 105-09. On November 6, 2015, the Agency informed Complainant that his request was under review, and that the debt collection was suspended pending the review. ROI at 120.

On March 28, 2019, the Associate Comptroller (AC) issued a decision denying Complainant’s request for a waiver of the debt because he was not eligible for a waiver under 5 U.S.C. § 5584. AC noted that the overpayment was caused by an administrative error, but it did not relieve Complainant of his responsibility to repay the debt. AC determined that the correct amount of the overpayment was $103,321.00. ROI at 145-53. On May 13, 2019, the Agency approved Complainant’s request for an installment payment plan of $1,501.00 per month for 49 months, with a final payment of $1,453.04. ROI at 94-95.

On May 17, 2019, Complainant filed an EEO complaint alleging that the Agency discriminated against him in reprisal for prior protected EEO activity (Case No. HQ-13-0804-SSA)2 when as recently as April 10, 2019, he was requested to repay a debt stemming from his assignment in Mexico.3
[…]
AC stated that a waiver may not be granted if there exists an “indication of fraud, misrepresentation, or lack of good faith on the part of the employee” and that fault was considered to have existed if the employee knew, or should have known, through an exercise of due diligence that an error occurred but failed to take action, under 5 U.S.C. § 5584. AC stated that Complainant indicated that he received every Earnings and Leave statement from August 2013 through August 2014, while no longer working for the Agency. AC stated that an employee is responsible for verifying the accuracy of the Earnings and Leave statements and reporting errors in a timely manner. ROI at 882.
[…]
While Complainant stated that he believed that the payment was possibly a means to allocate remedies for his prior EEO complaint, Complainant did not prevail on his complaint and was not awarded any remedies. As such, we find that Complainant did not establish that the Agency retaliated against him for his prior protected EEO activity when it requested that Complainant repay a debt stemming from his assignment in Mexico.

Based on a thorough review of the record and the contentions on appeal, including those not specifically addressed herein, we AFFIRM the Agency’s final decision finding that Complainant did not establish that the Agency discriminated against him in reprisal for prior protected EEO activity when it requested that he repay a debt.

 

Click to access 2020001986.pdf

###

Snapshot: Foreign Service National (FSN) Emergency Relief Fund

 

The Foreign Service National Emergency Relief Fund was created to respond to crises following natural disasters, civil unrest, and targeted attacks or “in the line of duty” incidents affecting locally employed (LE) staff working for the U.S. Government. It is one of almost 90 Gift Fund programs managed by the Office of Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Service (M/EDCS) and is one of the two Gift Fund programs that exist solely to assist employees. Funding for this program is not appropriated and is sustained solely by private contributions. The donations are tax deductible and 100% of all contributions are allocated for disbursement directly to Locally Employed (LE) Staff. Contributions to the Fund can be made by Civil Service, Foreign Service, LE Staff and private sector individuals (via RNET).
Donations can be made via the following:
• Secure on-line electronic donations can be made directly from your bank account or by credit/debit card to http://www.pay.gov.
• Checks may be sent to the Department’s Gift Fund Coordinator’s Office M/EDCS, Rm. 7427-B, 2201 C Street NW, Washington DC 20520. Please make checks payable to the U.S. Department of State, designation for the “FSN Emergency Relief Fund”.
• DOS, LE Staff, and overseas American employees of other federal agencies currently being paid by State can make contributions by payroll deduction. One time or recurring payroll deductions can be made through the Payroll Customer Support Center at PayHelp@state.gov.  LE staff wishing to contribute should contact their management office for currency exchange assistance.  CGFS/EDCS has authorized reverse accommodation exchange for emergency fund contributions.  For additional information, please visit the CGFS/EDCS website.
Read more: 2 FAM 962.14  Gifts to the Foreign Service National Emergency Relief Fund