Saudi Arabia Deports 250,000 Imigrants
Saudi Arabia is under fire from human rights groups for violating international law over its deportation of hundreds of thousands of migrants.
Since a crackdown began in November 2013, Saudi authorities have forcibly deported more than a quarter of a million migrants. Approximately 170,000 of those deported were Ethiopians who did not have valid visas.
Since January 2014, more than 12,000 Somalis have also been deported. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Somalis were prevented from filing for refugee status, even though they were deported to war-torn Somalia. Earlier this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that Somali refugees still needed international protection and called on all host countries to stop forcibly repatriating Somalis.
Human Rights Watch criticized the conditions of detainees awaiting deportation in Saudi. HRW revealed to the international community that Somali migrants were held under "appalling conditions" before they were deported.
Deportees returned to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, reported overcrowding, poor nutrition and sanitation, and abuse by Saudi guards. A deportee in her ninth month of pregnancy said a policeman hit her in the back with a baton. She gave birth on the flight back to Somalia.
Three deportees, who were interviewed by a Somali newspaper, were born in Saudi Arabia and spent their lives there but were not treated as nationals. Now in their early twenties, they had all served prison sentences before being deported to Somalia. They told of the brutality of Saudi forces and their disregard for foreigners.
A Yemeni was killed when police opened fire on detainees awaiting deportation who rioted. The rioters wanted the authorities to speed up their deportation. Reports say between 6,000 to 10,000 Yemenis could be in detention in the prison awaiting deportation.
HRW is urging Saudi Arabia to introduce procedures to allow foreign nationals to apply for asylum, and to investigate claims of abuse in detention centers.
The Saudi crackdown on illegal immigrants is aimed at expelling unregistered foreign workers. Decades of relaxed immigration enforcement allowed migrants to take many low-wage jobs unwanted by Saudi citizens. Faced with high unemployment, the government now wants these jobs for its own citizens.
Most other foreign workers are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
Pray for Saudi Arabia's leaders to have compassion on its migrant workers, and to ensure justice and fair treatment for them (The Bible, Ezekiel 22:29).
Pray for Saudi Arabia to honor its international obligation to protect refugees, allow them to claim refugee status and apply for asylum (The Bible, Isaiah 16:3).
Pray for all the migrant workers to hear the Gospel through Christian satellite TV (The Bible, Mark 13:10).
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