Magazine article New Internationalist

Migrant Worker Abuse Exposed

Magazine article New Internationalist

Migrant Worker Abuse Exposed

Article excerpt

Violent clashes and widespread rioting engulfed Riyadh In November, as thousands of migrant workers took to the streets of the Saudi capital In protest against the deportation of foreign nationals.

As a seven-month amnesty ended, the authorities ordered that all migrants without legal documents be deported. At least three Ethiopian nationals were killed during the mass demonstrations that followed.

Saudi Arabia Is home to an estimated nine million migrant workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce the 12.7-per-cent unemployment rate among Saudi nationals.

Reports of torture, rape, murder and maltreatment of foreign workers are Increasingly common. Members of Ethiopia's diaspora have been holding protests at Saudi embassies around the world to condemn the treatment of migrant workers In the country.

The Ethiopian government has begun repatriating those ordered to leave the oil-rich Gulf state. Over 57,000 had returned by the beginning of December; the final figure Is expected to be 80,000.

A special fund has been set up by the Ethiopian government to assist with the resettlement process; over $2.5 million has been earmarked to help the returnees. …

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