Human Lives Human Rights: Thousands of ethnic Tigrayans who recently were deported from Saudi Arabia, have been arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared by the officials in Ethiopia, a new Human Rights Watch report said.
The report cited witnesses who have described mass arrests of ethnic Tigrayans. Ethiopia’s government says it is targeting people suspected of supporting the Tigray forces who have fought the government since November 2020 but pulled back into their region weeks ago.
“Tigrayan migrants who have experienced horrific abuse in Saudi custody are being locked up in detention facilities upon returning to Ethiopia,” said Nadia Hardman, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Saudi Arabia should offer protection to Tigrayans at risk, while Ethiopia should release all arbitrarily detained Tigrayan deportees.”
Released on Wednesday, the report called on Saudi officials to “stop holding ethnic Tigrayans in abhorrent conditions and deporting them to Ethiopia.”
Each year thousands of Ethiopians, mostly from the Tigray and Amhara regions, make illegal travel to Saudi Arabia through Yemen in search of a better life. But Saudi officials have deported thousands of them in recent years.
According to Ethiopian officials, tens of thousands of the migrants have returned home in recent months. Human Rights Watch said Ethiopian authorities have transferred Tigrayan deportees to reception centers in the capital, Addis Ababa, where some were unlawfully held.
Ethiopia’s war is estimated to have killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. Meanwhile, Tigrayans have told The Associated Press they live in fear.
Ethiopia’s government has sought to restrict reporting on the war and detained some journalists, including a video freelancer accredited to the AP, Amir Aman Kiyaro.