10 November 2013

Ethiopia: Gov't Summons Saudi Ambassador Over Killing and Abuse

Photo: J.Björgvinsson/UNHCR
Ethiopian migrants wait for rescue on the beach.

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia's foreign ministry has summoned Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Addis Ababa demanding explanation over the killing and ill-treatment of Ethiopian citizens in the gulf nation. An Ethiopian national was killed this week by Saudi police in Riyadh as the Kingdom conducts a nationwide crackdown against illegal expatriates who most are from Africa and Asia.

Ethiopia has condemned the tough actions taken by the Saudi police.

"Ethiopia would like to express its respect for the decision of the Saudi Authorities and the policy of deporting illegal migrants. At the same time, it condemned the killing of an Ethiopian and mistreatment of its citizens residing in Saudi Arabia" said the ministry of foreign affairs in a statement it released on Saturday.

Following the incident, Ethiopia summoned the Saudi diplomat, Muhammed Ibrahim Alshugairan as a formal protest over the killing of its citizen who allegdly was killed for resisting arrest and trying to grab a police man's gun.

Officials of the Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have held discussions with the Saudi diplomat, Muhammed Ibrahim Alshugairan, over the issue and on ways how to jointly handle the situation with regard to Ethiopian migrants in Saudi.

Following the discussions, Alshugairan affirmed that he would address the issue to the Saudi government and promised to come up with an explanation soon.

Foreign ministry spokesman, Dina Mufti, said on Sunday that the Ethiopian government in collaboration with Ethiopian Embassy in Riyadh is working to safely repatriate thousands of its citizens who had failed to legalise their refugee status under the deadline of a seven-month amnesty.

Addis Ababa said the government is closely following the condition of Ethiopian nationals in Saudi Arabia who are under strong pressure for deportation.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has deployed extra staff to help in the legal work required by the Saudi Authorities and provide support for Ethiopian workers residing in Saudi Arabia with no work permits as well as assist Ethiopian migrants where required" said the spokesperson's office.

Since Saudi Arabia began the crackdown against undocumented migrants on 4 November thousands are said to have been arrested.

Currently there are an estimated 40,000 Ethiopian immigrants in the Saudi Kingdom who lack the proper visas and work permits.

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