Ethiopia Denies Detaining Some Tigrayans Deported From Saudi Arabia

Migrants from Saudi Arabia arriving in Ethiopia [Photo: Getty Images]

The Ethiopian government has dismissed accusations by a new Human Rights Watch report which claims that thousands of ethnic Tigrayans deported from Saudi Arabia are facing detention upon arrival in the country.

In a statement the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the accusations are fabrications.

An official at the ministry Dina Mufti says the report is part of a concerted effort to put pressure on the government.

According to the report, Ethiopian authorities transferred Tigrayan deportees from Saudi Arabia to reception centers in the country’s capital Addis Ababa, where some were being unlawfully held.

“The Ethiopian authorities have also apprehended Tigrayan deportees at checkpoints on the roads to Tigray or at the Semera airport in the afar region and transferred them to detention facilities in Afar or southern Ethiopia,” read part of the report.

“These Tigrayan migrants who experienced horrific abuse in Saudi custody are now being locked up in detention facilities upon returning to Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia should offer protection to Tigrayans at risk, while Ethiopia should release all arbitrarily detained Tigrayan deportees.”

This comes as rights groups have often accused Ethiopian authorities of profiling ethnic Tigrayans living in the capital Addis Ababa and other cities, since war broke out 14 months ago in the northern part of the country.

In the months of August and September 2021, rebels fighting Ethiopia’s government carried out dozens of executions against civilians in two towns.

The fighters are said to have executed 49 people in the village of Chenna and the town of Kobo in the northern Amhara region.

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