At least three people, including a Yemeni, have died in a Saudi prison, according to a report released on Friday by Amnesty International.
The organisation called for the release of the migrants and the facilitation of their return to their country.
“Thousands of Ethiopian migrants who have left their homes in search of a better life have instead faced unimaginable cruelty everywhere,” said Marie Forrester, researcher and advisor on refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IMO). There were up to half a million Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia before the kingdom launched a campaign against irregular migration in 2017.
An average of about 10,000 Ethiopians have since been expelled, until Ethiopia requested that deportations be suspended this year due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, two of the detainees reported seeing the dead bodies of three Ethiopians, a Yemeni and a Somali civilian in the al- Dyer detention centre in Jizan province. All other people interviewed by Amnesty International confirmed they had knowledge of the death of immigrants held Saudi custody.
A total of 16,000 Ethiopians were detained in these centres this year, but their number has declined according to Ethiopian authorities.
Ethiopia had planned to transfer 2,000 of the detained migrants by mid-October, but Addis Ababa has been careful not to anger Riyadh, which is a key investor in Ethiopia.
An Ethiopian migrant who recently narrated his story via a mobile phone that was smuggled into a detention centre in Saudi Arabia, recounted the difficult living conditions in the overcrowded cells, reporting rampant disease, food shortages and a rising amount of suicide.