Pictures from a detention centre in Saudi Arabia where African migrants, including Nigerians are allegedly detained in inhumane conditions, have been released online.
According to an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph, African migrants are locked in heinous conditions as part of a drive to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Images sent via phone by migrants held inside the detention centres show dozens of emaciated men crippled by the Arabian heat lying shirtless in tightly packed rows in small rooms with barred windows.
“Plenty of inmates are suicidal or suffering from mental illnesses as a result of living this for five months. It’s hell in here. We are treated like animals and beaten every day. If I see that there is no escape, I will take my own life. Others have already,” he added via an intermediary who was able to communicate on a smuggled phone.
“My only crime is leaving my country in search of a better life. But they beat us with whips and electric cords as if we were murderers.”
Reacting to the situation, Adam Coogle, deputy director of Human Rights Watch in the Middle East, after being shown the images, said
“Photos emerging from detention centres in southern Saudi Arabia show that authorities there are subjecting Horn of Africa migrants to squalid, crowded, and dehumanising conditions with no regard for their safety or dignity.”
“The squalid detention centres in southern Saudi Arabia fall well short of international standards. For a wealthy country like Saudi Arabia, there’s no excuse for holding migrants in such deplorable conditions,” Mr Coogle added.