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Euro-Med Monitor to HRC: Investigate Saudi Arabia’s use of lethal force against migrants

Geneva - In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council’s 54th session, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called for the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate Saudi forces’ involvement in the mass killings of African migrants on the Saudi-Yemeni border.

According to reports, which are corroborated by significant evidence, Saudi border guards unjustifiably targeted and killed hundreds of migrants on the Saudi-Yemeni border between March 2022 and June 2023. Some of the migrants who were targeted were women and children.

Delivering the statement to the Council, Euro-Med Monitor’s researcher Michela Pugliese said that the targeting of migrants at the border by Saudi authorities is part of a larger policy to prevent the flow of migrants from the Yemeni border. Saudi forces appear to be deliberately using excessive force to intimidate migrants planning to embark on a migration journey by threatening them.

The horrific violations committed against migrants on the Saudi-Yemeni border always go unpunished, as those responsible enjoy unrestricted impunity, avoiding any prosecution.

Pugliese said, “It is deeply troubling that wealthy countries employ deadly measures against African migrants seeking a better life.”

“Many Africans move from their homes to economically prosperous states, fleeing political crises, poverty, climate change, and persecution,” the statement underscored. “Tragically, they often encounter lethal force.”

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Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls on the Human Rights Council and member states to take all necessary steps to end the targeting of migrants at the Saudi-Yemeni border, identify perpetrators and hold them accountable, and prevent impunity.

Full statement

Mr President,

Euro-Med Monitor and IRDG commend the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent’s report and emphasise the vital need to enact its recommendations.

As the working group’s report has noted, many Africans move from their homes to economically prosperous states, fleeing political crises, poverty, climate change, and persecution. Tragically, they often encounter lethal force.

It is deeply troubling that wealthy countries employ deadly measures against African migrants seeking a better life. Equally concerning, is the lack of accountability for those responsible.

Recent evidence reveals Saudi border guards’ involvement in the deaths of hundreds of African migrants at the Yemen border from March 2022 to June 2023, including women and children. This appears to be part of a systematic campaign to prevent their passage through Saudi territory.

After crossing the border, unarmed migrants were met with Saudi soldiers’ indiscriminate live fire, resulting in a mass killing hidden from public view.

These grave violations must cease. We urge the Human Rights Council to establish a fact-finding committee to identify perpetrators, ensure accountability, prevent impunity, and secure justice for the victims.

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