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    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation of Ethiopian migrants in detention centres in Saudi Arabia

    6.10.2020 - (2020/2815(RSP))

    with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
    pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

    Michael Gahler, Isabel Wiseler-Lima, Željana Zovko, Lefteris Christoforou, Loukas Fourlas, Lóránt Vincze, Tomáš Zdechovský, David McAllister, Leopoldo López Gil, David Lega, Vangelis Meimarakis, Krzysztof Hetman, Romana Tomc, Magdalena Adamowicz, Ivan Štefanec, Peter Pollák, Maria Walsh, Benoit Lutgen, Sandra Kalniete, Eva Maydell, Janina Ochojska, Ludek Niedermayer, Jiří Pospíšil, Stanislav Polčák, Stelios Kympouropoulos
    on behalf of the PPE Group

    NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
    Procedure : 2020/2815(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on the situation of Ethiopian migrants in detention centres in Saudi Arabia


    The European Parliament,

     having regard to its previous resolutions on Saudi Arabia, 

     having regard to the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration which Saudi Arabia voted in favour for,

     having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

     having regard to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966;

     having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment accessed on 23 September 1997;

     having regard to its resolution of 25 October 2016 on human rights and migration in third countries,

     having regard to the awarding of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression to the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in 2015,

     having regard to Saudi Arabia’s membership of the UN Human Rights Council from 2017-2019,

     having regard to the statement “Stranded migrants need safe and dignified return” by the UN Committee on Migrant Workers of 1 October 2020,

     having regard to Article 8, Article 14, Article 20, and Article 34 of the Arab Charter on Human Rights, ratified by Saudi Arabia in 2009,

     having regard to the statement by the Saudi Human Rights Commission of 18 September entitled “Saudi Arabia Addresses Conditions in Detention Centers”,

     having regard to the press release by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the repatriation of its citizens from Saudi Arabia of 3 September,

     having regard to the Agreement on the Employment of Domestic Workers between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of 25 May 2017

     having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas economic migrants from African and Asian countries have played an essential role in the economies of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region, and whereas their exploitation and abuse as low-paid workers with little or no rights have been well documented through numerous reports by the UN and other international organisations; whereas inside Saudi Arabia a large number of economic migrants originate from Ethiopia, who have often come to the country through human smugglers, by passing through the war-torn country of Yemen; 

    B. whereas since 2017 Saudi Arabia is trying to reduce the presence of low-skilled and low-paid foreign workers and replace them with Saudi workers through the policy of “Saudization”; whereas this led to the repatriation of foreign workers, and whereas the governments of Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia, in May 2017 signed an agreement on the organised repatriation of Ethiopian nationals, which since 2017 led to the return of roughly 10.000 Ethiopian nationals per month;

    C. whereas as a result of the on-going Covid-19 global pandemic the pressure on vulnerable groups, in particular economic migrants, inside Saudi Arabia, but also other countries in the region, has been increasing, which led to an increased level of prejudice and at times mere hostility towards them, whereas migrants are often stigmatised to have allegedly transmitted the Covid-19 virus and as a result often lose their jobs, putting them in very perilous situations, often without any housing, salary and hence very little means to finance a possible return to their home country on their own; 

    D. whereas reports circulate about numerous detention centres in Saudi Arabia where economic migrants are being held due to the suspicion of Covid-19 at times since March and under at times appalling human rights conditions; whereas detainees state they got separated from family members and abused by Saudi prison guards; and whereas reports circulate indicating severe overcrowding of facilities, lack of essential hygiene, sanitary facilities, lack of basic medical care and prenatal care to pregnant women, inadequate food and water; whereas witness accounts are corroborated by images and video footage from detention centres in among others al-Dayer and Jizan; 

    E. whereas among others due to quarantine rules, Ethiopian migrants who have been hoping to reach Saudi Arabia in search of work, have often been placed in migration centres inside Yemen, where they have become the increased focus of hostilities and stigmatisation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, and whereas since April the ruling Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are in a violent military conflict with Saudi Arabia since 2015, have intensified their already previously applied tactic of violently forcing Ethiopians out of their country and into Saudi Arabia; whereas some migrants while being violently chased across Yemen are being killed by Houthi soldiers or die after spending days stranded without food or water; whereas the migrants that are eventually allowed to enter Saudi Arabia are reported to then being arbitrarily detained and put into various detention centres throughout the countries where they are held with other migrants who were already inside the country under appalling conditions;

    F. whereas the Ethiopian government is aware of the appalling conditions under which their citizens are held in Saudi Arabia, but is struggling, just like many other countries, to cope with the high number of return requests by their nationals from all over the world, given the challenge of providing both the means of transportation of migrants back to Ethiopia as well as adequate quarantine facilities for them once they return; whereas remittances of Ethiopians abroad are an important part of the Ethiopian economy and fundamental for many families;

    G. whereas the Government of Ethiopia in a press release on 3 September stated that it has repatriated more than 400.000 citizens from Saudi Arabia during the past three years and “extended its sincere appreciation to Saudi Arabia for the outstanding support extended to its citizens in general and Ethiopian irregular migrants in particular”;

    H. whereas on 18 September the Saudi Human Rights Commission in a press release addressed the “recent reports alleging sub-standard conditions in detention centers” and stated they are “actively addressing conditions resulting from the erratic and unpredictable entries from the Southern border. In some cases, thousands of individuals cross into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a single day”;

    I. whereas on 29 September, High Representative Josep Borrell met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud in Brussels, reiterating the EU’s intention to intensify dialogue on human rights;

    J. whereas the UN Committee on Migrant Workers on 1 October called on governments to “take immediate action to address the inhuman conditions of migrant workers who are stranded in detention camps and ensure they can have an orderly, safe and dignified return to their home countries”;

    1. Declares its outrage over the violations of basic human rights of economic migrants in the detention centres in Saudi Arabia and expresses its sympathy and condolences to all the victims and their families;

    2. Reminds Saudi Arabia to respect basic international humanitarian law, and calls for the immediate release of all migrants held in detention centres unlawfully, prioritising women, children and vulnerable persons;

    3. Demands that every person entering Saudi Arabia from Yemen is allowed to do so safely and then be transferred to an appropriate reception centre that meets international standards regarding food, medical and health services, sanitary installations, personal hygiene, windows, and light, as well as clothing;

    4. Calls upon the Saudi government to start an investigation without delay into the serious reports of human rights violations and to immediately end the ill-treatment of migrants in detention centres, hold all perpetrators to account in fair trials that meet international standards, and to provide appropriate mental and physical care to those who have suffered under the appalling conditions;

    5. Calls on the government of Ethiopia to facilitate the voluntary, safe, and dignified repatriation of all Ethiopian migrants as rapidly as possible, including by engaging with the IOM, prioritising women, children and vulnerable persons;

    6. Demands that consular assistance and visits are available to all detained nationals in Saudi Arabia, and encourages the Ethiopian government to respond in a timely and effective way to requests for support;

    7. Calls upon the Ethiopian government to establish proper reception arrangements for returning nationals, prioritising women, children and vulnerable persons;

    8. Calls upon the EU institutions, EU Member States, and international organisations to swiftly increase their support to facilitate the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Ethiopian migrants, including through scaling up the capacities in Ethiopia to host returning migrants, including quarantine facilities, testing, transport to the area of origin, and psychosocial support;

    9. Reiterates its support to the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as it promotes standards which enable host countries to better protect the fundamental human rights of vulnerable groups, such as the Ethiopian economic migrants stranded in Saudi Arabia and Yemen;

    10. Acknowledges that both Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia have a mutual interest in establishing a mobility cooperation, aimed at facilitating the complementarities of their labour markets, and recalls that the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration provides advice and capacity building in this field;

    11. Recognises that the economy of Saudi Arabia, owes parts of its wealth and prosperity to the roughly 13 million foreign workers and migrants inside the country, and therefore notes that the extension of the ongoing domestic modernisation process to include a reform of labour and immigration policies in order to provide adequate working conditions for foreign workers and prevent their stigmatisation and exploitation;

    12. Acknowledges the particular challenges that the current Covid-19 pandemic poses to receivers of asylum requests, however, emphasises that the prevailing public health emergency cannot be used to justify actions leading to mistreatment, and even death, torture, and sexual abuse, of economic migrants;

    13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Governments and parliaments of Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.



    Seneste opdatering: 7. oktober 2020
    Juridisk meddelelse - Databeskyttelsespolitik