Addis Ababa does very little to defend its migrant residents, who are facing the violence from both the Saudi government and the Houthis rebels in Yemen.
Almost ten thousand Ethiopian migrants have been living in inhumane conditions in Saudi detention centres for the past six months, according to human rights groups. The Ethiopian government still hasn't taken the responsibility of their stranded citizens stuck between the two warring sides in Yemen.
According to a recent EU parliament resolution, more than 30,000 Ethiopian migrants have been held in Saudi detention centres under inhumane and unhygienic conditions.
The Ethiopian government need to take immediate measures to bring back its migrant citizens from Saudi, Yemen, and other places before it's too late. Unfortunately, Addis Ababa seems to have no plans in repatriating its citizens from the Arabian Peninsula in the near future.
Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry Tsion Teklu says that "the government would not have adequate resources to repatriate all migrants at the same time, considering a large number of migrants in different host countries."
The living conditions of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia have worsened in recent months to the point that it has been noted by several human rights organizations, causing the European Parliament to criticize the Saudi government.
The number of migrants in detention centres keeps on increasing while the oil-rich country in the Arabian Peninsula refuses to take responsibility for them.
The number of migrants in Saudi detention centres in mid-September was nearly 14,000. Since then, the numbers haven't decreased at all. According to some sources, the number of migrants has doubled.
Last week the EU parliament criticized Saudi Arabia for the mistreatment against Ethiopian migrants. According to the non-binding resolution, since April 2020 almost 30,000 Ethiopian migrants including pregnant women and children are being illegally detained in Saudi Arabia under pathetic conditions.
Nadia Hardman, a leading researcher of the HRW, conducting in-depth interviews with the Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Ethiopia, reports that, according to the Ethiopian consulate in Jeddah, 16,000 Ethiopians have been held in only one of the Saudi facilities.
Due to the pandemic, the Ethiopian government has continued to claim that they do not have enough resources to process all these migrants coming back.
But Hardman suggests that the Ethiopian government could ask for help from international agencies such as International Organization for Migration (IOA) and UNHCR, which is the UN Refugee Agency, to facilitate the repatriation process of their citizens to the country. But the Ethiopian government does not seem to be doing anything to reach those agencies.
Even worse, Addis Ababa has tried to suppress the migrants not to speak about their terrible conditions. Last month The Telegraph newspaper reported how the Ethiopian government threatened its own citizens with Legal implications if they shared their conditions in social media.
Ethiopia, which is constructing Africa's largest dam, has close relations with Saudi Arabia, which is the country's main supplier of foreign exchange and investment.