Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Saudi Arabia has held in a deportation center hundreds of mostly Ethiopian migrant workers in “appalling” conditions, calling for their immediate release.
According to Press TV, the New York-based organization said in a report on Tuesday that a deportation center in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh is “holding hundreds of mostly Ethiopian migrant workers in conditions so degrading that they amount to ill-treatment.”
Warning about the inhuman conditions of the deportation center, the HRW said the migrants are held in “extremely overcrowded rooms for extended periods,” and that guards have tortured and beaten them with rubber-coated metal rods.
The report added that at least three people had died in custody since October.
“Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s richest countries, has no excuse for detaining migrant workers in appalling conditions, in the middle of a health pandemic, for months on end,” said Nadia Hardman, refugee and migrant rights researcher at the HRW.
“Video footage of people crammed together, allegations of torture, and unlawful killings are shocking, as is the apparent unwillingness of the authorities to do anything to investigate conditions of abuse and hold those responsible to account,” she added.
The HRW quoted detainees as saying that some of them had been infected with the coronavirus but no measures were taken to control the spread of the disease.
“The Saudi authorities should immediately release the most vulnerable detainees and ensure that detention is only used as an exceptional measure of last resort,” New York-based organization concluded.
“It should immediately end any torture and other ill-treatment, and ensure that detention conditions meet international standards.”
The migrants at the center, mostly from Ethiopia but also from other African or Asian countries, were arrested and pending deportation amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Saudi authorities claiming that the migrants had no valid residency permits