Amnesty: Ethiopians ‘held in life-threatening conditions’ in Saudi Arabia


An Amnesty International investigation reveals that Ethiopian migrants are being held in “life-threatening conditions” in Saudi Arabia.

The report documents the cases of thousands of Ethiopian migrant workers and their families expelled by Huthi authorities in Yemen to Saudi Arabia since March. According to Amnesty, the migrants are being held in appalling conditions and mistreated by authorities in Saudi Arabia. The report cites the death of three adults being held in detention although the true figure may be higher.

‘Life-threatening conditions’

“An investigation by Amnesty International has exposed horrifying new details about the treatment of Ethiopian migrants detained in Saudi Arabia,” the report begins.

“Amnesty International interviewed detainees who described a catalogue of cruelties at the hands of Saudi Arabian authorities, including being chained together in pairs, forced to use their cell floors as toilets, and confined 24 hours a day in unbearably crowded cells.”

At least three people have died while being detained by Saudi authorities.

Researcher and Advisor on Refugee and Migrant Rights for Amnesty International, Marie Forestier, explains that at least two people have attempted to take their own lives as a result of the conditions they’re being held in.

“Thousands of Ethiopian migrants, who left their homes in search of a better life, have instead faced unimaginable cruelty at every turn. Confined to filthy cells, surrounded by death and disease, the situation is so dire that at least two people have attempted to take their own lives,” Forestier said.

The report says that almost every detainee interviewed had seen at least one representative of the Ethiopian embassy but none of them had been repatriated by the time of publishing. Amnesty is calling upon the Ethiopian government and Saudi Arabian authorities to “work together to ensure voluntary, safe and dignified repatriation is available to Ethiopian nationals.”

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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.