The British Sunday Telegraph revealed that thousands of African immigrants have been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in camps similar to slave camps, to limit the spread of the Corona virus.
On Sunday, the newspaper published pictures sent to the newspaper by migrants detained inside the camps, showing dozens of men in a state of emaciation after they were paralyzed due to the high temperatures in the Arab country, which is one of the richest countries in the world.
She said the detainees were lying, shirtless, in tightly crowded lines in small rooms with barred windows.
One of the photographs released by the Telegraph also showed a covered corpse, which the detainees say is that of a migrant who died from heat stroke.
Migrants indicated that they barely had access to enough food and water to survive.
According to the newspaper, another photo revealed that an African youth had committed suicide after losing hope and had been detained since April, according to his friends.
“Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest countries on earth, is keeping hundreds if not thousands of African migrants locked in heinous conditions reminiscent of Libya’s slave camps as part of a drive to stop the spread of Covid-19”
By The Sunday Telegraph . https://t.co/XtBFQxcQaK
– Comrade Désiré (@ncambirwa) August 30, 2020
The Telegraph collected immigrant testimonies, which it considered evidence of appalling conditions inside Saudi Arabia’s detention centers, through intermediaries.
It quoted the detained migrants as saying that they were beaten by guards who insulted them racist.
Abibi, who has been detained in one of the camps for more than 4 months, said, “Here is hell. We are treated like animals and we are beaten daily, indicating that he will commit suicide if he does not find a way to escape from the camp.”
“My only crime is to leave my country in search of a better life. They all beat us with whips and electric wires, as if we were killers,” he added.
Horrifying images and stories from smuggled phones.
Investigation: African migrants ‘left to die’ in Saudi Arabia’s hellish Covid detention centres
The Sunday Telegraph was able to geolocate two of the centres, one near Mecca and one in Jizan.https://t.co/HMSowpP4De
– Aya Batrawy (@ayaelb) August 30, 2020
The Saudi authorities began detaining African migrants when the Corona pandemic hit the country last March, and I feared that the migrants, who often reside in crowded conditions, were carriers of the virus.
Accordingly, nearly 3,000 were deported by the Saudi security services to Ethiopia in the first ten days of last April.
The Sunday Telegraph was able to determine the geographical location of two centers; One of them is in Shumaisi, near the city of Mecca and the other in Jizan, a coastal city near Yemen. Many migrants stated that they were arrested from their homes in various Saudi cities before they were placed in detention centers.
Commenting on the Sunday Telegraph report, Adam Coogle, deputy director of Human Rights Watch in the Middle East, said that photos taken from detention centers in southern Saudi Arabia show that authorities there are subjecting Horn of Africa migrants to squalid, crowded and inhumane conditions without any regard for their safety or dignity.
He added that the squalid detention centers in the south of the kingdom are not up to international standards for a rich country like Saudi Arabia, stressing that there is no excuse for detaining migrants in such unfortunate conditions.
In June 2019, the number of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia was estimated at 6.6 million, making up about 20% of the population of the Gulf state, most of whom hold low-wage and often physically strenuous jobs.
The majority of these workers come from South Asia and the Horn of Africa.
It is noteworthy that there are other detention centers crowded with women, but separate from those for men, according to the same newspaper.