June 17, 2024

Human Rights Watch Says Saudi Forces Killed Hundreds of Ethiopians at Yemen Border

Human Rights Watch Says Saudi Forces Killed Hundreds of Ethiopians at Yemen Border
Human Rights Watch Says Saudi Forces Killed Hundreds of Ethiopians at Yemen Border

Human Rights Watch said in a disturbing report on Monday that Saudi border guards killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers from March 2022 to June 2023 at the Yemen-Saudi border.

Titled “‘They Fired on Us Like Rain’: Saudi Arabian Mass Killings of Ethiopian Migrants at the Yemen-Saudi Border,” the 73-page investigative document dives deep into the profound and systematic abuses migrants have endured.

The findings indicate that Saudi border guards have employed explosive weapons and close-range firearms on numerous migrants, including women and children. Some accounts even detail how victims were cruelly asked to choose a limb to be shot.

Despite Saudi Arabia’s endeavors to polish its global reputation through vast investments in sports and entertainment sectors, Human Rights Watch researcher Nadia Hardman said, “Billions spent on acquiring professional golf, football clubs, and elite entertainment events shouldn’t divert focus from these appalling acts.”

The report, underpinned by analyzing over 350 videos, photographs, and satellite images, brings forth the dire circumstances migrants and asylum seekers are thrust into. After braving the treacherous waters of the Gulf of Aden, many encountered extortion by Houthi forces or faced abuse in holding facilities until they could afford an “exit fee.”

Eyewitness accounts are haunting, describing indiscriminate attacks by mortars and other explosive weapons once they reached Saudi soil. The resulting scenes were horrible, with landscapes marred by the wounded, dead, and dismembered. “Some individuals were literally torn apart,” one survivor recounted.

Digital evidence, including videos and photographs shared on social media, has corroborated these narratives. After rigorous geolocation and verification by the Independent Forensic Expert Group of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, signs of injuries from explosive devices and firearms were unmistakably present.

The report makes a solid appeal to Saudi Arabia to annul any policy endorsing lethal force against migrants and asylum seekers and urges international governments to champion accountability, even suggesting sanctions against complicit officials.

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