An Appeal to Ethiopians Worldwide: Supporting the Ethiopian Red Cross Society

(Photo: International Organization for Migration (IOM))

Tadias Magazine

By Lily Gebru

Published: Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Washington, D.C. — More than a million migrant workers from several Asian and African countries, including over 115,000 Ethiopians, have been expelled from Saudi Arabia as part of the recent immigration crackdown targeting illegal foreign laborers in the kingdom. The forced deportation, which was designed to get more Saudis into jobs and reduce the high unemployment rate in the country was triggered after a tightening of labor regulations in March and the expiration of an amnesty period on November 4th.

Human Rights Watch points out that half of the entire workforce in Saudi Arabia — nearly nine million migrants — fill manual, clerical, and service jobs. Many suffer abuse and labor exploitation, sometimes amounting to slavery-like conditions.

The security clampdown was followed by clashes in the capital Riyadh, in which three Ethiopians were reportedly killed and several others were inhumanely treated by police and vigilante groups, sparking outrage in Ethiopian communities across the world. Grueling reports of abuse and persecution were inescapably shared on social media. And various protests outside Saudi embassies have been held while candlelight vigils continue in many countries.

According to Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom, the Ethiopian government has worked “around the clock [in] crisis management” mode trying to bring citizens back. To date 115,465 Ethiopians – 72,780 men, 37,092 women and 5,593 children – have returned from Saudi Arabia.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is supporting Ethiopia in dealing with the unexpected influx of returnees, has expressed concern about the physical and mental condition of the returnees, describing them as being “traumatized, anxious and seriously sick.”

In an effort to oblige in the resettlement of fellow countrymen and women, the Diaspora community in Washington, D.C. and metropolitan area has coordinated with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS). Ethiopians worldwide are encouraged to show solidarity in these hard times by donating directly to the Ethiopian Red Cross.

Below is the official letter form the Ethiopian Red Cross Society on how to donate and help Ethiopian returnees resettle at home.

About the Author:
Lily Gebru is a board member of the Horn of Africa Peace and Development Center (HAPDC). She works for George Washington University, School of Public Health & Health Services in Washington, D.C.

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