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Ethiopians in US protest mistreatment of their citizens in Saudi Arabia

Ethiopians in the US

Ethiopians in the US have launched a protest against the mistreatment of their citizens in Saudi Arabia, demanding improving their conditions.

The protest, took place outside the Saudi embassy in Washington, was called upon by the US-based International Ethiopian Youth Union.

The demonstrators stressed the need to stop the labor and humanitarian violations against Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia, “in light of major violations taking place there”.

Ethiopians in the US

The Saudi authorities had begun to deport about 40,000 Ethiopians form the Kingdom, claiming that they had resided in the country illegally.

Human rights organizations confirmed that they are currently detained in conditions that threaten their lives.

Amnesty International had interviewed Ethiopian detainees who confirmed that they were ill-treated by the Saudi authorities, who held them in prisons without toilets.

They were kept in overcrowded cells all day long without exposure to fresh air or the sun in “conditions that did not exclude pregnant women, young children, or even infants”.

Amnesty also reported that some detainees were subjected to electric shocks, and others confirmed that they learned of the death of a number of children in detention centers.

Compelling circumstances

A large number of Ethiopian immigrants came from Yemen after “the Houthi authorities expelled thousands of Ethiopian migrant workers and their families to Saudi Arabia,” Amnesty International reported.

According to Ethiopian immigrants, the Saudi police arrested them and confiscated their property, and beat them in some cases.

Then the majority of them were transferred to Al-Hayer Prison Center, and from there they were transferred to Jazan Central Prison, and then to prisons in Jeddah and Mecca.

The United Nations called on the Saudi regime to stop the deportations, given the risk that this might spread COVID-19.

The authorities in Addis Ababa also called on Riyadh to stop arbitrary arrests until quarantine preparations are prepared to receive those detainees.

For its part, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor expressed its deep concern about the campaign of arrests launched by the Saudi regime against Ethiopian immigrants residing in the Kingdom.

Euro-Med Monitor expressed its fear of the difficult conditions of detention in which they live in the Kingdom’s prisons.

Since June 11, the Saudi police began a campaign of arrests targeting neighborhoods inhabited by Ethiopian refugees, without distinguishing between those who have legal evidence and those who do not, Euro-Med Monitor said.

The organization also stressed that the mass detention and deportation campaigns against migrants from Ethiopia with and without legal documents without legal justification, would exacerbate their already dire situation.