Letter from Beirut

Contract slavery

Print edition : January 10, 2014

An Ethiopian worker argues with a member of the Saudi security forces as he waits with his countrymen to be repatriated in Manfuhah, Riyadh, on November 11. Between mid-November and mid-December, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deported 120,000 Ethiopians. Photo: REUTERS

Saudi security personnel detain Ethiopian workers during a riot in Manfuhah on November 9. Photo: FAISAL AL NASSER/REUTERS

Ethiopian immigrants returning from Saudi Arabia searching for their luggage among unclaimed bags at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, on December 10. Photo: JENNY VAUGHAN/AFP

With its economy dependent on remittance payments from the Gulf region, Ethiopia has remained mute to the vicious mistreatment of its citizens in Saudi Arabia, which is cynically targeting migrant labourers in order to quell growing unrest among its poor citizens.
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