Saudi Arabia has deported more than 12,000 people to Somalia
New deportees, including women and children, arrive on a daily basis at the Mogadishu international airport.
“I was involved in a fist fight with a Saudi man. He had offended me, but when security forces came, they apprehended me and jailed me for one and a half years. To them, the foreigners are always wrong; the Saudis are never wrong, they can do anything to foreigners and walk freely,” said one of the deportees.
Another recent deportee narrated how brutal the Saudi security forces were in their disregard for foreigners.
“They arrested many of us and kept us in prison for four months, some became sick and there was no medical treatment. They tortured us and beat us up senselessly. They even forced us to remove our clothes and sleep on the ground. They have no respect for foreigners,” he said.
In a report last month, HRW urged Riyadh to end the summary deportations and honor its international obligations of protecting refugees.
In mid-January, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said that “south central Somalia is a very dangerous place,” and called on the Saudi government not to return anyone to a place where their life or freedom is threatened or where they face other serious harm.
Nevertheless, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the Somali Interior Ministry expects Saudi Arabia to deport another 30,000 in the coming weeks, further worsening the humanitarian crisis in the African country.
Riyadh has announced plans to create jobs for Saudi nationals by reducing the number of foreign workers, who total some nine million people.
Hundreds of thousands of workers have already left Saudi Arabia amid tough conditions for migrants.