“Now the Saudi government needs to rein in Saudi citizens who are attacking foreign workers.” : Joe Strok, deputy Middle East director of Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch condemned the ongoing violence against defenseless Ethiopian migrant workers by Saudi's uniformed police and the Shabab (young men). The Right group made the urge today after interviewing Ethiopian victims and witnesses from Manfouha neighborhood of southern Riyadh, where Ethiopian residents make up a majority of residents. Human Rights also blamed Saudi officials and state controlled media's Xenophobic smear campaign against migrant workers branding them as criminals months before the crackdown which resulted unprecedented level of assault, killings and rapes on these groups especially Ethiopians since November 4/2013. The right group also urged Saudi authorities to immediately investigate assaults on Ethiopian and other migrant workers by security forces and Saudi citizens, and hold those responsible for violent crimes to account. Saudi and Ethiopian authorities should work to speedily repatriate undocumented foreign workers waiting in makeshift holding centers, if they have no fear of returning home, and ensure that they get adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Last but not least, Human Rights Watch has once again called on the Saudi government to abolish aspects of the kafala or “sponsorship” system that create conditions for abuse, including rules requiring a worker to obtain permission from his or her employer to change jobs or leave the country. These rules leave foreign workers with little option for redress in cases of abuse or labor violations and force them into under-the-table work. To read the full report click here.