Ethiopia on Friday said it is working hard to repatriate its citizens from Saudi Arabia where its citizens reportedly are enduring “unimaginable cruelty” in detention centers.Amnesty International has warned against life-threatening conditions at Saudi Arabia’s squalid detention centers, where thousands of Ethiopian migrants are languishing, stating that the African detainees are enduring “unimaginable cruelty” during the coronavirus pandemic and some of them have lost their lives.
The New York-based rights group, in a report published on Friday, stated that it had interviewed detainees who described a catalogue of cruelties at the hands of Saudi 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.
Amnesty International, based on consistent eyewitness testimonies, documented the deaths of three people – an Ethiopian man, a Yemeni man and a Somali man – at al-Dayer detention center in Saudi Arabia’s southern Jizan province.
The Government of Ethiopia said it repatriated 3,500 people, who were in a difficult situation following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the second round, the country planned to repatriate additional 2,000 people and 964 of them have returned so far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday in a statement.
As per a deadline of 90 days set by Riyadh for undocumented migrant workers to leave the country, Ethiopia airlifted up to 400,000 nationals since May 2017.
However, the statement said, there are many Ethiopians who are in difficult stations as they returned to Saudi Arabia illegally.
The government of Ethiopia is working closely with Saudi officials and other international agencies to enable its citizens to get the necessary support and dignity in Saudi as well as to repatriate those volunteered migrants, the statement added.