Ethiopia repatriates over 27,000 undocumented nationals from Saudi Arabia-Xinhua

Ethiopia repatriates over 27,000 undocumented nationals from Saudi Arabia

Source: Xinhua| 2024-05-23 23:57:45|Editor: huaxia

ADDIS ABABA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- More than 27,000 undocumented Ethiopian nationals have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia over the past few weeks, an Ethiopian government official said Thursday.

Nebiyu Tedla, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that the ongoing large-scale repatriation effort of undocumented nationals is part of the Ethiopian government's commitment to bringing home its citizens stranded in difficult situations abroad.

He said the East African country has established a national committee composed of various government agencies to facilitate the repatriation of over 70,000 undocumented Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia.

Tedla said the Ethiopian government is currently conducting three daily flights for four days every week as part of the repatriation effort. The national committee is working with stakeholders to facilitate both the repatriation efforts and the provision of shelter upon their arrival in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

In recent years, Ethiopia has stepped up efforts to return its citizens stranded overseas, mainly in Saudi Arabia, as part of the government's "citizen-centered" diplomatic initiative.

Recent data from the Ethiopian government show that an estimated 750,000 Ethiopians are believed to be living in Saudi Arabia, of whom 450,000 are without proper documents.

The Ethiopian government is also working to dismantle human trafficking networks and create economic opportunities for nationals with low incomes.

It is estimated that every year, thousands of Ethiopians, yearning for better economic opportunities abroad, are trafficked with the help of human smugglers through neighboring countries before crossing the dangerous route along the Red Sea. Their main goal is to reach the Middle East via war-torn Yemen, with the primary destination being Saudi Arabia.