100,000 Ethiopians Return Home From Saudi Arabia

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Written by Makula Dunbar

Thursday December 5, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom announced that more than 100,000 Ethiopians arrived home following the close of an amnesty period, AFP reported.

According to AFP, some Ethiopians had experienced police brutality and been the victims of violent attacks in the mist of Saudi Arabia’s effort to dismiss illegal immigrants. One Ethiopian was even killed. An earlier report noted that the amnesty period began in April of last year. Undocumented immigrant workers were given seven months to gain a legal status.

Now following the initial 100,000 Ethiopians who’ve been repatriated, as many as 50,000 additional Ethiopian citizens are expected to be repatriated in the near future.

“Last night arrivals from Saudi reached 100,620,” Tedros said in the report. “All citizens that were detained in Riyadh deportation camps are back.”

A large majority of the Ethiopians who relocated to Suadi Arabia did so for work. Overpopulation in Ethiopia has contributed to the 27 percent unemployment rate amongst the country’s women and the 13 percent unemployment rate that men face, International Labour Oganisation data noted. Harsh working conditions and discrimination is often the reason behind their escape.

“The number is increasing over time. Hopefully we will do it as soon as possible,” Dina Mufti, Foreign Ministry spokesperson told AFP, speaking on the repatriation process. “If the current pace continues, it may be it will be in a week or two.”

Ethiopians began their return home early last month on November 13. AFP also noted that in response the the violent attacks on Ethiopians, the Human Rights Watch has requested that an investigation be launched.

AFP further reported that roughly 11,000 immigrants from regions outside of Ethiopia are also returning home now from Saudi Arabia.