Category: Legal news update

Ethiopians ‘abused on Gulf route, forcibly deported from Saudi’ | Ethiopia News | Al Jazeera

HRW report says Ethiopian, Yemeni and Saudi officials have taken few, if any, steps to curb violence faced by migrants.

Source: Ethiopians ‘abused on Gulf route, forcibly deported from Saudi’ | Ethiopia News | Al Jazeera

Ethiopian migrants and refugees who have undertaken dangerous journeys to find work in Saudi Arabia are encountering abusive prison conditions before being forcibly deported en masse with nothing but the clothes on their backs, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

Based on interviews with deportees in the Ethiopian capital Addis, Ababa, the report on Thursday documented exploitation, trafficking and violence that begin, according to the group, from the moment the migrants set off across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden to reach the Arabian Peninsula.

It said the people are being exploited and tortured by a network of trafficking groups as they try to cross into Saudi Arabia, adding that officials in the two countries and Ethiopia have done little to protect them from abuses at the hands of traffickers and security forces.

The report also said they have failed to ease the return of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians caught up in a large-scale Saudi deportation campaign that began in November 2017.

“Many Ethiopians who hoped for a better life in Saudi Arabia face unspeakable dangers along the journey, including death at sea, torture, and all manners of abuses,” said Felix Horne, senior Africa researcher for Human Rights Watch.

“Saudi Arabia has summarily returned hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians to Addis Ababa who have little to show for their journey except debts and trauma.”

The Saudi government has not issued any response yet.

Ethiopians have long looked to Saudi Arabia as an escape from poor economic prospects and state repression, hoping to find work despite not having legal status.

To get there, they board overcrowded boats that are at constant risk of sinking during sea crossings that can last up to 24 hours.

One survivor told Human Rights Watch that he saw smugglers throw dozens of people overboard.

“The boat was in trouble and the waves were hitting it. It was overloaded and about to sink so the [middlemen] picked some out and threw them into the sea, around 25,” he said.

Once in Yemen, Ethiopian migrants said they face kidnappings, beatings and other abuses by traffickers trying to extort ransom money from them or their family members back home. The traffickers include Ethiopians who carry out beatings and torture.

Crossing into Saudi Arabia requires evading border guards who frequently open fire, killing many would-be migrants.

“At the border, there are many bodies rotting, decomposing,” one 26-year-old told Human Rights Watch. “It is like a graveyard.”

After paying the traffickers or escaping, the migrants eventually made their way north to the Saudi-Yemen border, crossing in rural, mountainous areas. Interviewees said Saudi border guards fired at them, killing and injuring others crossing at the same time, and that they saw dead bodies along the crossing routes. Human Rights Watch has previously documented Saudi border guards shooting and killing migrants crossing the border.

Six interviewees told Human Rights Watch they were apprehended by Saudi border police, while five successfully crossed the border but were later arrested. They described abusive conditions in several prisons in southern Saudi Arabia, including inadequate food, toilet facilities, and medical care; lack of sanitation; overcrowding; and beatings by guards.

Despite the risks, up to half a million Ethiopians were in Saudi Arabia when officials there launched a crackdown on undocumented migration in 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Around 10,000 Ethiopians on average were deported monthly between May 2017 and March 2019, and Human Rights Watch said deportations have since continued.

Roundup: Ethiopia launches national plan to end child marriage – Xinhua | English.news.cn

Source: Roundup: Ethiopia launches national plan to end child marriage – Xinhua | English.news.cn

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — The Ethiopian government on Wednesday launched a national plan to end child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) practices within the coming five years period.

Ethiopian Minister of Women, Children and Youth Yalem Tsegaye said during the launching of the national roadmap that aimed to end child marriage and FGM practices across communities in Ethiopia on Wednesday, that the newly launched roadmap will help towards ending the two malpractices by the year 2025.

The new national roadmap, which is expected to be implemented within the coming 5 years period, is said to require in excess of 2.7 billion Ethiopian birr (about 93 million U.S. dollars) towards ending child marriage and FGM, it was noted. Continue reading “Roundup: Ethiopia launches national plan to end child marriage – Xinhua | English.news.cn”

Ethiopia stats agency incident: Two policemen killed, shooter arrested | Africanews

An altercation between Ethiopian federal police officers has led to a shooting incident at the premises of the Central Statistics Agency.

Source: Ethiopia stats agency incident: Two policemen killed, shooter arrested | Africanews 

An altercation between Ethiopian federal police officers has led to a shooting incident at the premises of the Central Statistics Agency.

Aaron Maasho, a Reuters journalist covering Ethiopia and the African Union said the officers were guarding tablets expected to be deployed for census.

A journalist with the Ethiopian Reporter said the federal police had confirmed that two officers were killed in the incident. “The shooter is now under arrest,” Dawit Endeshaw said in a tweet.

Ethiopia’s parliament in June this year postponed a national census for a second time, citing security concerns.

Analysts, however, stressed that the move potentially undermined logistics for 2020 polls – the first election under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Ethiopia is due to hold a national vote some time next year, and the census – already postponed once from 2017 – is a crucial step towards demarcating constituencies.

But parliamentarians in both houses voted overwhelmingly to delay the census again by a year, due to an upsurge in ethnic conflicts.

Local level elections for the capital Addis Ababa and another chartered city Dire Dawa were postponed last week.

Ethiopia to Partly Sell Telecoms Company, Award Licenses in 2020 – Bloomberg

Ethiopia plans to sell a minority stake in the state-owned phone monopoly and award telecommunications licenses to two new operators in the first quarter of next year, the finance ministry said.

Source: Ethiopia to Partly Sell Telecoms Company, Award Licenses in 2020 – Bloomberg 

Ethiopia plans to sell a minority stake in the state-owned phone monopoly and award telecommunications licenses to two new operators in the first quarter of next year, the finance ministry said.

The announcement comes as Paris-based Orange SA and the biggest wireless carriers operating on the continent, including MTN Group Ltd. and Vodacom Group Ltd., have expressed interest in the market of Africa’s second-most populous nation with 100 million people. Orange Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ramon Fernandez said the French carrier is considering a bid for a stake in the government’s Ethio Telecom, but is also open to compete for a license and become its rival.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is opening up the telecommunications sector as part of his agenda to liberalize one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and attract more foreign capital. Abiy targets to double the number of jobs created to 3 million in 2019-20 from previously, and said that’s the dividend he wants to see out of his reform agenda.

The privatization will be done through a competitive bidding process, the ministry said Friday in a statement on its website.

READ: Orange Eyes Ethiopia Move in Battle for New African Market

Increased competition in telecommunications will expand services to “under-served areas in the country, which is in line with the government’s goals of universal coverage,” the ministry said. “Partial privatization of Ethio Telecom and private investment in the expanded telecommunications market will also contribute to attracting foreign direct investment,” it said.

Firstly, the government will structure Ethio Telecom into two parts. The infrastructure division will manage the international gateway and fiber optic networks, while cellular and retail operations will fall under the services unit. Ethiopia recently enacted a law that creates a new telecommunications regulator to support the reforms.

Ethiopia also plans to sell at least five sugar factories in 6 to 12 months, according to the ministry.

(Updates with comment from finance ministry in fifth paragraph.)

Saudi Arabia detains Mohammad al-Amoudiin in anti-corruption probe

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia detained 11 princes, four current ministers and tens of former ministers in a probe by a new anti-corruption body headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported.

According to a senior Saudi official who declined to be identified under briefing rules, those detained include:

– Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding 4280.SE

– Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard

– Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh province

– Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court

– Adel Fakeih, Minister of Economy and Planning

– Ibrahim al-Assaf, former finance minister

– Abdullah al-Sultan, commander of the Saudi navy

– Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group

– Mohammad al-Tobaishi, former head of protocol at the Royal Court

– Amr al-Dabbagh, former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority

– Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC

– Khalid al-Mulheim, former director-general at Saudi Arabian Airlines

– Saoud al-Daweesh , former chief executive of Saudi Telecom 7010.SE

– Prince Turki bin Nasser, former head of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment

– Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Saud, former deputy defence minister

– Saleh Kamel, businessman

– Mohammad al-Amoudi, businessman

Reporting by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Paul Tait