Saudi Arabia: Extreme Brutality against migrants From Ethiopia

HRLHA Appeal and Urgent ActiHRLHA Fineon

November 13, 2013

For Immediate Release

Honorable ABDULLAH bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, King of Saudi Arabia;

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

Riyadh, Royal Court: 1-488-2222, Jeddah: 2-665-4233

Taif: 2-736-5200, Makkah: 2-823-4111, Madinah: 4-857-2500

His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz,

Upon the expiration of the three months extended deadline for migrant workers to renew their residency and employment status ( November 4, 2013), thousands of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia most of whom believed to be from Ethiopia were apprehended in various regions of the Kingdom by Ministry of Labor inspection squads formed for this purpose under the pretext of flushing out workers who violate rules regarding work and residency permits.

The most victimized of the raids to flush out illegal workers were the free visa holder migrant workers of Ethiopian Origins. ‘Free visa’ holders are considered among the most exploited, lowest paid and abused workforce in Saudi Arabia. The sponsor, who keeps the worker’s passport and other travel documents with him/her, plays a crucial role in the worker’s life. All dealings with the government such as renewal of ‘iqama’ or residency permit are through the sponsor. Sources from the capital city, Riyadh, reported that among the total of 28000 surrounded migrants , authorities detained around 16,500 migrant workers in the first four days (November 5 – 9, 2013) in a nationwide crackdown across seven provinces The Saudi officials confirmed that among the seven provinces nearly half of the migrants were arrested near the southern border with Yemen and in Mecca where some Muslims stay on illegally after their pilgrimage.

Though the police officials in the capital city claim that the security forces killed the African migrant worker in el-Manhoufa because he and others tried to resist arrest, the information from the migrants and from the publicly released video confirmed that the three Ethiopians killed were murdered by the brutal action of police. Among the victims was Umere Abdurahiman Ali , 24 an Oromo national from Ethiopia who was gunned down on November 5.

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