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Ethiopians illegally resident in Saudi refuse gov't help to return – PM worried

Ethiopians illegally resident in Saudi refuse gov't help to return – PM worried


Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has expressed worry over the refusal of nationals illegally resident in Saudi Arabia to return home despite a 90-day amnesty program.

Desalegn said he feared that the Saudi government will resort to forcibly deport Ethiopians who have refused to voluntarily return home.

The Premier is quoted by the Ethiopia News Agency as saying, “the situation that made the Saudi Government forcibly deport our citizens is being created. Therefore, it is better if our citizens come back home before various problems arise seizing the opportunity they are given even in the remaining short period”.

The 90-day amnesty expires in a few days and authorities say the numbers of people they expected to return under the program was all but underwhelming. The PM, however, renewed the appeal for them to return in their own interest.

The period for illegal foreigners to leave the oil-producing giant started on March 29, 2017. Those who fail to leave will be subjected to fines or face legal measures, which include forced deportation.

The PM further assured that nationals residing in Saudi Arabia and the government will continue to collaborate with the Ethiopian mission in Saudi Arabia and other regional governments for the safe return of citizens.

Even as the government continued to fight trafficking of persons, the PM held that illegal brokers were thwarting those efforts and destroying lives of citizens because of their profits.

Most affluent Middle East countries hire thousands of domestic helpers from Africa and Asia. Most of these helpers often complain of abuse from their employers. In a recent case in Kuwait, an Ethiopian maid was virtually thrown off from the seventh floor of an apartment block by her employer.

The maid was filmed by her employer, a Kuwaiti woman, while she hanged outside their building tightly gripping the window frame with one hand until she fell onto a metal awning seven floors below.

Local media reported that she was attempting to commit suicide despite her call for help before falling. She denied that claim in a later interview.

“I wasn’t trying to commit suicide, I was trying to escape from the woman who tried to kill me,” she said.

The employer was arrested for not helping the Ethiopian maid who was rescued by health professionals and rushed to the hospital with blood oozing from her nose and ears as well as a broken arm.

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