Saudi border guards massacre Ethiopian refugees

Saudi Arabian border guards have killed hundreds of Ethiopian migrants and asylum-seekers attempting to cross the border from Yemen, according to an Aug. 21 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). The report documented incidents between March 2022 and June 2023, based on interviews with migrants, satellite imagery, and social media posts. According to the report, Saudi border guards used explosive weapons such as mortars against migrants, and shot them at close range with live ammunition. Saudi border guards reportedly fired on people even when they complied with orders. HRW called the recent pattern of killings a change from "an apparent practice of occasional shootings" to "widespread and systematic killings."

Aljazeera reported that a Saudi government official called HRW's accusations "baseless."

HRW demanded a UN investigation and international sanctions for the killing of unarmed migrants. Researcher Nadia Hardman stated: "If there is no justice for what appear to be serious crimes against Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers, it will only fuel further killings and abuses."

In 2018, HRW found human rights abuses by Yemeni government officials at an Aden migrant detention center, including the robbing and beating of migrants before putting them back to sea.

From Jurist, Aug. 21. Used with permission.