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Ethiopians: #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to Stop Immigration Crackdown

On November 4, 2013, Saudi Arabia began enforcing a crackdown on illegal immigrants. Saudi Arabia is believed to be home to more than seven million foreign workers and their families. The Saudi government issued an amnesty period in April 2013 giving illegal immigrants seven months to gain legal status or leave the country.

Immigrants from Ethiopia, a Sub-Saharan African country, are one of the most affected by the crackdown, which has resulted in riots and violence. The Ethiopian government is repatriating its citizens living in Saudi Arabia illegally after it was reported that an Ethiopian was killed by Saudi police.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia Tedros Adhanom acknowledged the right of Saudi Arabia to expel illegal immigrants but condemned the use of force and rape against Ethiopian immigrants as it has been reported on different news and social media sites.

Below is a video posted on YouTube by user Amharictube showing mass exodus of immigrants in Saudi Arabia:

A petition has been created on MoveOn.org to alert the United Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International about the plight of Ethiopian immigrants in Saudi Arabia.

Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia online have been using the hashtag #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to condemn the treatment of Ethiopian immigrants in Saudi Arabia.

Mahlet (@Mahlet_S) noted that immigrants are not criminals but job seekers:

Addis Standard (@addisstandard), a monthly magazine in Ethiopia, wrote:

Some users revisited the historical relationship between Islam and Ethiopia. Hafsa Mohamed (@hafsamohamed1) pointed out that:

Kali (@KaliDaisyy) wrote:

Pschologist Antonio Mulatu (@AntonZfirst) referred to advice given by Prophet Muhammad about Ethiopia:

The relatonship between Ethiopia and Muslim dates back to the time when Ethiopia provided a safe haven to Muslims who were fleeing persecution from the rulers of Mecca. Bilal ibn Rabah al-Habash, one of the foremost companions of Muhammad and the first Muezzin, the person who recites the call to prayer, was Ethiopian.

Ethiopia is home to Harar, which is considered the fourth holy city of Islam, with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines.

Ethiopia is also the site of the First Hijrah, the migration of Muslims to escape persecution, in the history of Islam.

However, anoof (@anoofesh) from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, disagreed with the comparison between Ethiopia immigrants in Saudi Arabia and Muslim immigrants in Ethiopia:

Melak Mekonen (@melak_m) observed that:

Lee Jasper (@LeeJasper), a member of Respect Party in the UK, saw the plight of Ethiopian immigrants similar to that of Palestinians under Israeli occupation:

جبرتينهو (@iabj) opined:

Ethiopian human rights specialist based in Geneva, Switzerland, Yehenew Walilegne (@YeheneWalilegne) opposed Saudi Arabia's candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council:

Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and Cuba won seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, November 12, 2013.

anoof told Ethiopians:

26 comments

  • Mohamed Kargbo

    I will not sign up to the notion of the Saudi Arabia authority heavy handedness to Ethiopian immigrants, but equally I will not sign up to the reference of the current situation to be likened to the plight of the prophet Muhammad (saw) and his followers. And this is why:
    The Ethiopians in the KSA are not and have not been persecuted by their government in Ethiopia; their lives are and were not in immediate danger in their own country, and finally, immigration in every part of the world today is making big headlines.
    My advice: let us live to learn to disagree to agree and not to disagree to disagree. Almighty God bless us all. Amen / Aameen.
    Mohamed Kargbo

    • ok

      ur confused… we know they r illegal.. u know in our country their passport is with the employer.. wait.. forget all that for a second.. just cus it happens everywere (mistreatment of illegal labours doesnt make it right u do it too). Im confused by you logic… U can deport them, u can imprison them.. if i guess that is a way of ur laws.. what people hv a problem with is the fact that ur people go around raping like animals and beating people by just asking if they r habesha or not.. not even if there r illegal or not.. even if they are.. u hv no right beating until they r disfigured… or is that part of ur culture?

    • Jah Samuel

      Listen my Friend. Of course we are not comparing Prophet Mohammed’s situation directly with the current aatack on Ethiopians. However, the referrence is important. The crimes being committed on Ethiopian immigrants is deliberate and planned. They are gang raping women. Beating men to death. Even lynching them on tree branches. Migrant workers need to be rounded up and deported by trained law enforcement officials. Not like this. This is an assualt on Ethiopians. It was planned to humiliate and destroy Ethiopians.

  • Ahmed

    Easily the most biased and one sided article i have come across this month.
    Firstly the entire crack down on illegal residents is to get rid of undocumented immigrants and it involves all the foreigners and not just the Ethiopians . They were given a grace period of 6-7 months to rectify their status in order to continue working in the kingdom. Majority of the people who had come to the kingdom on legal visas or right set of documents managed to rectify their status. The ones who had no documents were given a free pass to fly out of the country without undergoing any detention during the grace period. The crack down began on 4th November and foreigners (Illegal status) were arrested and deported on the cost of the Government or their Employer. However during raids in Manfouha area of Riyadh riots were reported and as a result of the rage 2 people were killed. Now every country in the world goes hard at illegal immigrants , the laws in US or UK are dead tight to counter this issue. Why are they not called Racist , Oppressors ? The Saudi government has every right to care for its security affairs. People with no work permits have absolutely no way to get a job , to feed the hunger they start taking up any jobs getting exploited at the hands of greedy locals or unfortunately choose the wrong way to make a living. The crime rate has been on the rise in Riyadh , Cell Phone snatching had become a routine , Now is the government unreasonable in trying to improve security for its citizens and the foreigners who work with valid work permits ? Just think for a moment , i am shocked to see such a biased article here.

    • ok

      so u think rapeing women and hanging and beating any ethiopian u see ( mind u ur people when they stopped ethiopians in the street didnt even ask them if they were legal or not)… no one is saying u s houldnt deport them… no one is saying they shouldnt go to detention.. all we were saying is u treat a human being like a human being.. not like a dog… lets say UK and USA were doing the same (they r not) but lets say they were on illgeal immigrants .. does it mean its right? i cant understand Arabs… do u hv honor? do u have a soul?.. when ur people beat a human being to death and rape his wife… cant u see thats not right… illegal or not?

    • Mes

      History tells us Ethiopia provided safe haven for Mohammed and for his followers fleeing persecution from the rulers of Mecca. now you lazy and idiot Saudi killed and raped innocent Ethiopians….your oil reserve that makes you arrogant going to an end only left few years.

  • Nahom

    One moron said they are uninvited guests, illegal workers. Forgetting the fact that they been treated like animals in a foreign land. First of all I object the work illegal no human is illegal they are undocumented workers. You know here in USA there are 11 million undocumented workers from Mexico, and we are in the proses of making them taxable citizens. Am not saying Saudi Arabia should have same moral ground like America, for god sake they don’t even allow their women to drive a car. At the end all I can say it treat others like you would be like treated. Peace out BITCHES!

  • Mohamed Kargbo

    My people, I am talking for the KSA, I am not a Saudi either, and I have nothing against people trying to find a better way of life. And I have no evidence carried out on official level, and if that is taking place, and sound minded government will put tools in place to stop it. My position that I am not signing up to is the likening of Ethiopian immigrants in the KSA with the situation of the prophet Muhammad (saw) with his followers in the past. We cannot do that. I also do believe that there are still Ethiopian nationals legally living in the KSA. We can address the current situation on it own and no need to bring in that reference. The prophet Muhammad (saw) and followers were persecuted by their peoples at the time, and that is not the same with the Ethiopians. On the contrary, the Ethiopian government is even putting mechanics in place to help prevent this from happening in the first place. Whether that is the correct solution, that to me is still unclear. .but at least they are doing something about it. Sorry I do not mean to hurt any persons…just making a point loud and clear.

  • Mohamed Kargbo

    Sorry I made a tying error. . I meant I am not talking for the KSA.

  • Jah Samuel

    This situation, after watching the videos on youtube, reminded me of some old movie in which terrorists hijack an airliner, ask passengers if they were jews and keep them separately and torture or kill them. The Saudis are hunting down a person and ask if they are Ethiopian/habash. If they say yes, they start beating them to death. How could a person beat another human so savagely? The rage of Saudi mob shows that this is driven by Hate of a certain group. This has nothing to do with being illegal. Countless women are being raped as we speak. We encourage Ethiopian migrant workers to go back to Ethiopia. However, the rape and murder need to stop immediately. Those who killed innocent migrant workers should face justice. Btw, so far 40 Ethiopians have been killed by Saudi police and vigilantes. Media reports only official figures given by the Saudi “Police.”

  • Mohamed Kargbo

    So brothers and sisters, where do we go from here? What is the way out of this social quagmire?
    What is happening to you is not new in the region. Look at the way the people of Palestine are being humiliated in their own country day in and day out. Nobody cares as long as they are Muslims. Today the world turns a blind eye on the suffering of two kinds of characteristics. ..blacks or Muslims. The Muslims and the black people are always the victims on this face of the earth. And this is how bad it is. ..we kill one another without even taking the slightest notice of that. This is all the faults of our leaders. We should not be made to suffer like this. We will need to start to hold our leaders to account for their corruption, mismanagement and tyranny. For if Africa with all it has were to work in the interest of serving her people well, we will not find ourselves in this sorts of madness. I feel so sorry. But have we really genuinely analysed why, how and who is directly responsible for those acts of terror? Because even advanced governments do not always have the tools in place to abort most crimes, let alone undemocratic regimes. So, we will need to strike here the right balance. Hope we are able to address the issue as human beings would.

    • Brown buna

      Right now my people are being kicked and raped by Muslims and
      the Saudi government did nothing to prevent that. In my country the government acted
      swiftly stopping demonstrated from destroyed the embassy and Saudi companies in
      Ethiopia. So raping wifes and children in the land of the holy city of
      Muslims is ok. I have not heard any of the Saudi citizens that condemned the beating
      and the raping of women and children.

      My views I have for Muslims has changed. Saudi is the enemy of Africans.
      Viva ISREAL!!! Viva ISREAL!!!!

      • sabrin mohammed

        This has nothing to do with religion. I am sure there are millions of Muslims around the are against what is happening in Saudi Arabia. If we generalize the actions of Saudi Arabia as being Muslims then how are we any different from them generalizing every Ethiopians as criminals. Being an Ethiopian Muslim myself I am offended by your association of Saudi Arabia’s actions with the religion. Lets not play the blame game and focus in trying to get justice for the victims irrespective of religion !!!

  • […] Ethiopians: #SomeoneTellSaudiArabia to Stop Immigration Crackdown {Global Voices} […]

  • Mohamed Kargbo

    My problem with how people express their views is something I cannot understand. For inasmuch as I strongly disagree with how our brothers and sisters are treated in the KSA, I cannot justify how one can visit the sins of the father to the son just because they are related. That is totally unfair and unreasonable. Muslim victims in Muslim lands should be the pain of everyone. No one has right to be victimised. Everyone has right to a decent life. Let us be fair and reasonable. The KSA will soon come to know that the truth is what is gonna prevail at last. May Almighty God help those who suffer for righteousness sake. .Amen / Aameen.

  • Riffak Ledifni

    Ethiopia must cut all diplomatic relations with Arab countries.

  • Adam ali

    goes around comes around, 12 yrs back Ethiopian government did the same to Eritrean who use to live in Ethiopian for many yrs, Now time to Ethiopian to pay back. I am not saying is Right, but goes around comes around, it is lesson we all most learning from it.

    • sabrin mohammed

      This a cruel thing to say! Shame on you!

  • Adam ali

    for Saudi Arabia you will pay a price soon, “Wrongdoing will be multiple darkness on the Day of Resurrection.”

  • weknow

    I don’t think this one anti immigrant we
    Ethiopian we know who is our enemy our government he is fighting al qaeda wehabizem etc.. and the other
    fundamental islamic fundamentalist born in this countryso where is create this anti christian
    organization of islamic fundamentalist it is in saudi arabia. every one
    know we know also such people Ethiopian stupid islam showing them where Ethiopians house is we will know soon who is our enemy God Blessed Ethiopian !

    • sabrin mohammed

      Bakih afihen ziga! Denkoro astesasebih yele new bakih go get checked! You are brain-dead.STOP generalizing people and remember that half of the Ethiopian population are muslims eshi keshim!

  • […] Arabia’s Ministry of Labor is implementing an aggressive crackdown on Ethiopian migrants working in the country without permits. Last week, after violent clashes in […]

  • […] الإثيوبيين العاملين في البلاد بصورة غير قانونية. وبعد أسبوع من الاشتباكات العنيفة في الرياض، والتي أسفرت عن مقتل ٣ إثيوبيين، سلم ٢٠ ألف […]

  • […] Arabia’s Ministry of Labor is implementing an aggressive crackdown on Ethiopian migrants working in the country without permits. Last week, after violent clashes in […]

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