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2 Sep 2020

Saudi Arabia: Investigation alleges migrant workers are being kept in "hellish" conditions in detention centres

An investigation by The Telegraph has allegedly uncovered that Saudi Arabia is keeping hundreds of African migrants locked in dire conditions, apparently as part of a drive to stop the spread of Covid-19. The Telegraph has released graphic mobile phone images sent to the newspaper by migrants allegedly held inside the detention centres showing: "dozens of emaciated men crippled by the Arabian heat lying shirtless in tightly packed rows in small rooms with barred windows". 

Another image shows migrant workers "displaying scars on their backs, claim they are beaten by guards who hurl racial abuse at them" . It is also claimed that people have taken their own lives because the conditions are so unbearable.

The Telegraph reports that the Saudi government said it was “looking into the state of all official government facilities in light of the allegations,”.

Although the Ethiopian government has publicly stated that they only became aware of the conditions in which some Ethiopians are being kept in by the Telegraph investigation, documents dated 24 June and leaked to the paper appear to contradict this. In them, the Ethiopian consulate in Jeddah warn Ethiopians of the "legal repercussions" if they continue to upload photo and video evidence of the detention centres online.