Angelina Jolie and daughters Zahara, left, and Shiloh.

Johannesburg - Ethiopia's parliament has passed legislation banning the adoption of children by foreigners, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

Former American Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are just some of the many celebrities who have adopted children from the Horn of Africa country. They adopted their daughter Zahara when she was six months old.

The issue of adopting children from Ethiopia has been controversial, especially after a 13-year-old girl died mysteriously in the US in 2013 and her adopted parents were subsequently convicted.

Ethiopian lawmakers argue that orphans and other vulnerable children should be cared for within the country using locally available support mechanisms to protect them from being abused abroad.

But some MPs raised concerns that there were insufficient services to cater for such children.

Two years ago, Denmark controversially stopped the adoption of children from Ethiopia over what it said were concerns about possible human trafficking cases.