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  • Ethiopia: Ancient, Extraordinary and Booming

    When you say to people in Britain: "I've just been in Ethiopia", they give you a look which says: "Poor you. Was it too terrible to talk about?"

    That is the trouble with the modern media. Faraway places of which we know little are only shown to us when something bad happens. In the case of Ethiopia, the 1984 famine and subsequent hungers have fixed its image in the global mind. It is as if the image of the collapsing Twin Towers in 2001 typified America. But of course we have other, more positive, images of America but none of Ethiopia. So I tell them: "Ethiopia? It's great. It's Booming!"

    Addis Ababa is being transformed as if by monstrous engines boring through the heart of the city. A new motorway flows into town sweeping aside all before it and an urban rail system is smashing through buildings, roads, gardens - everything accompanied by cranes and trucks, noise and dust. All along its path the traditional one-storey homes of mud, wooden planks and rusted corrugated iron roofs are bulldozed into heaps and replaced by six or more stories of concrete and brick. Hammering, grinding and showers of glittering acetylene sparks proclaim the arrival of armies of Chinese workers and the rise of mighty steel and glass constructions.

    The lesser building sites are full of Ethiopian workers; some newly arrived from the rural areas. Addis used to feel like a timeless city. People hung around talking or walked slowly as if on a long stroll. Now they march the streets with speed and urgency. All seem to have watches and mobile phones. Even the poor seem to have purpose. I watched one man sitting by the roadside carefully stitching the seams of his disintegrating trousers with string. For the better off the vast market quarter, Mercato, is seething with bustle and business.

    Ethiopia has one rich asset that much of sub Saharan Africa has lost or never developed. It has been a state for a very long time, longer than Britain and most of Europe. Its people, language, culture are all rooted more than two thousand years ago and further back the first humans and their hominid ancestors walked here. Ethiopians' connections to the Semitic world go back thousands or years through migration and trade. Its Coptic Christian rituals and ceremonies came from Egypt in the 3rd century A.D.

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  • Over 2,300 Ethiopian deportees repatriated from Saudi Arabia

     

    Additional 240 Ethiopian repatriates from Saudi Arabia arrived in Addis Ababa this morning.

    Some of the repatriates confirmed on arrival that their illegal entry and stay in Saudi exposed them to tribulations including violation of their human rights.

    They expressed gratitude to the government for uniting them with their motherland.

    Families of the returnees told ERTA on the occasion that illegal human trafficking was only harming their dear sons and daughters.

    According to the newly established national taskforce for the return and support of refugees, over 2,300 compatriots were repatriated from Saudi Arabia until this morning and are being reunited with their families.

    Source: ERTA

     

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  • ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’

    Cries of ‘shame on you’ rang around Curzon Street in London on 18 November as more than 300 Ethiopians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to protest against the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

    Waving flags, singing in unison and holding placards adorned with slogans demanding action – ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’, ‘Stop the torture’ and ‘Being poor is not a crime’ – hundreds of London’s Ethiopian diaspora crowded the usually busy west London street.

    The protest, in response to Saudi authorities clampdown on migrant workers, came after several migrants, including at least two Ethiopian nationals, were killed during violent clashes with security forces in the oil-rich Gulf State last week.

    Sunday 3 November saw an end to a seven-month amnesty demanding that all migrant workers without legal status in the country be deported, resulting in the mass demonstrations and riots seen across the country and in the capital Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia is home to an estimated nine million migrants workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce growing unemployment levels among Saudi nationals.

    However, there are widespread accusations of abuse towards migrant workers in the Kingdom, with numerous reports of murder, rape and torture against members of the foreign population.

    Zelealam Tesdema, one of the organizers of the London protest, urged the Saudi Arabian government to take action and called for those responsible for such acts to be brought to justice.

    Read more from newint.org

    Cries of ‘shame on you’ rang around Curzon Street in London on 18 November as more than 300 Ethiopians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to protest against the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

    Waving flags, singing in unison and holding placards adorned with slogans demanding action – ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’, ‘Stop the torture’ and ‘Being poor is not a crime’ – hundreds of London’s Ethiopian diaspora crowded the usually busy west London street.

    The protest, in response to Saudi authorities clampdown on migrant workers, came after several migrants, including at least two Ethiopian nationals, were killed during violent clashes with security forces in the oil-rich Gulf State last week.

    Sunday 3 November saw an end to a seven-month amnesty demanding that all migrant workers without legal status in the country be deported, resulting in the mass demonstrations and riots seen across the country and in the capital Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia is home to an estimated nine million migrants workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce growing unemployment levels among Saudi nationals.

    However, there are widespread accusations of abuse towards migrant workers in the Kingdom, with numerous reports of murder, rape and torture against members of the foreign population.

    Zelealam Tesdema, one of the organizers of the London protest, urged the Saudi Arabian government to take action and called for those responsible for such acts to be brought to justice.

    - See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2013/11/19/saudi-embassy-protest/#sthash.CLiD9NGn.dpuf

    Cries of ‘shame on you’ rang around Curzon Street in London on 18 November as more than 300 Ethiopians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to protest against the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

    Waving flags, singing in unison and holding placards adorned with slogans demanding action – ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’, ‘Stop the torture’ and ‘Being poor is not a crime’ – hundreds of London’s Ethiopian diaspora crowded the usually busy west London street.

    The protest, in response to Saudi authorities clampdown on migrant workers, came after several migrants, including at least two Ethiopian nationals, were killed during violent clashes with security forces in the oil-rich Gulf State last week.

    Sunday 3 November saw an end to a seven-month amnesty demanding that all migrant workers without legal status in the country be deported, resulting in the mass demonstrations and riots seen across the country and in the capital Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia is home to an estimated nine million migrants workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce growing unemployment levels among Saudi nationals.

    However, there are widespread accusations of abuse towards migrant workers in the Kingdom, with numerous reports of murder, rape and torture against members of the foreign population.

    Zelealam Tesdema, one of the organizers of the London protest, urged the Saudi Arabian government to take action and called for those responsible for such acts to be brought to justice.

    - See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2013/11/19/saudi-embassy-protest/#sthash.CLiD9NGn.dpuf

    Cries of ‘shame on you’ rang around Curzon Street in London on 18 November as more than 300 Ethiopians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to protest against the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

    Waving flags, singing in unison and holding placards adorned with slogans demanding action – ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’, ‘Stop the torture’ and ‘Being poor is not a crime’ – hundreds of London’s Ethiopian diaspora crowded the usually busy west London street.

    The protest, in response to Saudi authorities clampdown on migrant workers, came after several migrants, including at least two Ethiopian nationals, were killed during violent clashes with security forces in the oil-rich Gulf State last week.

    Sunday 3 November saw an end to a seven-month amnesty demanding that all migrant workers without legal status in the country be deported, resulting in the mass demonstrations and riots seen across the country and in the capital Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia is home to an estimated nine million migrants workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce growing unemployment levels among Saudi nationals.

    However, there are widespread accusations of abuse towards migrant workers in the Kingdom, with numerous reports of murder, rape and torture against members of the foreign population.

    Zelealam Tesdema, one of the organizers of the London protest, urged the Saudi Arabian government to take action and called for those responsible for such acts to be brought to justice.

    - See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2013/11/19/saudi-embassy-protest/#sthash.CLiD9NGn.dpuf

    Cries of ‘shame on you’ rang around Curzon Street in London on 18 November as more than 300 Ethiopians gathered outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy to protest against the treatment of migrant workers in the country.

    Waving flags, singing in unison and holding placards adorned with slogans demanding action – ‘The blood of Ethiopians cries out for justice’, ‘Stop the torture’ and ‘Being poor is not a crime’ – hundreds of London’s Ethiopian diaspora crowded the usually busy west London street.

    The protest, in response to Saudi authorities clampdown on migrant workers, came after several migrants, including at least two Ethiopian nationals, were killed during violent clashes with security forces in the oil-rich Gulf State last week.

    Sunday 3 November saw an end to a seven-month amnesty demanding that all migrant workers without legal status in the country be deported, resulting in the mass demonstrations and riots seen across the country and in the capital Riyadh.

    Saudi Arabia is home to an estimated nine million migrants workers, many from Ethiopia and neighbouring East African nations, and authorities argue that the clampdown will reduce growing unemployment levels among Saudi nationals.

    However, there are widespread accusations of abuse towards migrant workers in the Kingdom, with numerous reports of murder, rape and torture against members of the foreign population.

    Zelealam Tesdema, one of the organizers of the London protest, urged the Saudi Arabian government to take action and called for those responsible for such acts to be brought to justice.

    - See more at: http://newint.org/blog/2013/11/19/saudi-embassy-protest/#sthash.CLiD9NGn.dpuf
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  • 4,000 Ethiopians ready for deportation

    A total of 4,000 illegal Ethiopians are ready for deportation, sources told Arab News on Friday.

    This comes in the wake of Saudi Arabia deporting 82 workers on Wednesday and 22 on Thursday.

    Muhammed Hassan Kabiera, Ethiopia’s ambassador, said the embassy was informed by Saudi officials that some 23,000 Ethiopians had so far handed themselves in. The authorities are now processing their paperwork.

    Under an agreement between the Ethiopian Embassy and the security agencies, the surrendered workers are being kept at various holding centers until they get exit visas.

    The embassy has opened a new center in Murabba to register Ethiopian citizens, and provide exit permits to those who failed to legalize their status during the grace period.

    Ethiopian workers have been involved in two clashes with the police and residents in Riyadh's Manfouha area over the past week, resulting in the death of three people and injury to several others.

    There was also a brief standoff with residents and the police in Jeddah on Thursday, when several Ethiopians gathered illegally at the deportation center demanding their repatriation. The Ethiopian Embassy has condemned the violence but also urged the authorities to speed up the processing of exit visas and residence permits of workers.

    Over the last two days, about 2,000 Ethiopians who handed themselves in were moved to the old Princess Noura University building where they were given blankets, food, water and medical services.

    A new holding center has also been opened up close to King Khaled International Airport where exit visas are issued, said Col. Fawaz bin Jamil Al- Maiman, deputy spokesman at the Riyadh police. He said it was easier to deport the workers from the center.

    Zenebe K. Korcho, consul general of Ethiopia, told Arab News that the diplomatic mission had also asked the Saudi authorities to arrest male and female members of families because it would be difficult for the females to live alone.

    Korcho appealed to the media not to portray the entire community as violent criminals.

    “Ethiopians have been living in the Kingdom for more than 50 years as law-abiding citizens without any problem until recently.” He said it was not possible for them to have become criminals in a few weeks.

    “The Ethiopian government has respect for Saudi law and the country's law enforcement agencies.”

    Source: arabnews

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  • First group of Ethiopians from Saudi arrive in Addis

     

    The first group of Ethiopian repatriates from Saudi Arabia arrived at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport safely Wednesday afternoon.

    Some of the returnees told ERTA that life as a migrant had been appalling especially for those without legal status.

    They commended the effort of the Ethiopian government towards the safe return of citizens.

    They vowed to forget the past, work hard and prosper in their own country and called on fellow Ethiopians to follow suit.

    Spokesperson of MoFA, Ambassador Dina Mufti said the Saudi government is taking measures to stop violence against Ethiopian workers in that country.

    He said the ongoing effort of the Ethiopian government to rescue citizens in Saudi Arabia would be continued in a strengthened manner.

    The International Organization for Migration (IOM) would support the returnees to integrate with their families and communities, it was indicated.     

    The Ethiopian Ambassador in Riyadh had announced on Tuesday that a number of Ethiopian workers without documentation had handed themselves over to the Riyadh police.

    The Saudi authorities are now arranging for their repatriation.

    The Ambassador, Muhammed Hassan said that as many illegal workers were unsure about how to proceed when the amnesty ended, the Ethiopian Embassy held discussions with the Saudi authorities and made arrangements to enable such citizens to hand themselves in.

    Under the agreement, the workers would be kept at various holding centers until they could get exit visas.

    The Embassy has assisted 38,199 workers to correct their employment status during the amnesty period which ended on November 4.

    The Ambassador said embassy officials and volunteers, together with various Saudi government agencies, were working to get travel documents for the workers.

    He said Ethiopia had been one of the first countries to request an extension of the initial amnesty so that citizens would benefit and correct their status, but where this was not possible the embassy began preparations for them to return home.

    The Ambassador, who sent his condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives on Saturday, said the weekend clashes had occurred because illegal workers had been frustrated because they had no way to surrender to the police.

    They had taken to the streets to voice their concern and this had led to clashes with some youths in the neighborhood.

    Such confrontations and clashes were “unacceptable,” he said, adding that “the safety and human rights of all people should be respected.”

    ERTA

     

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