Saturday, October 03, 2020

Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia Detention Camps

 At least three people died in detention centres housing thousands of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International says. Migrants were facing "unimaginable cruelty" - including being chained together in pairs, and using their cells floors as toilets, the rights group said. It urged Saudi authorities to improve conditions of the centres. Conditions are especially dire in al-Dayer and Jizan, where detainees report sharing cells with 350 people, Amnesty says.

The migrants from Ethiopia and other countries had been working in northern Yemen but were forced out by Houthi rebels, Amnesty said. According to UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), some 2,000 Ethiopians remain stranded on the Yemeni side of the border, without food, water or healthcare.

Thousands of Ethiopians go to Saudi Arabia for work, making the kingdom nation a key investor and source of foreign remittances for Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia has  been cracking down on illegal migrants. There were up to 500,000 illegal migrants from Ethiopia in the country when Saudi authorities began the operation in 2017.

At least 10,000 Ethiopians on average were being deported each month, but earlier this year Ethiopian officials requested a moratorium because of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent months, Ethiopia has struggled to create enough space in quarantine to welcome the people back and make sure that they are not bringing coronavirus with them.

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