The Biden administration is seeking answers in response to a report alleging that Saudi authorities may have been involved in the killing of hundreds of migrants in Yemen, potentially using weapons supplied by the United States.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report last month accusing Saudi border guards of killing “at least hundreds” of Ethiopian migrants attempting to enter Saudi Arabia from Yemen between March 2022 and June 2023.
The attacks reportedly included the use of explosive weapons and execution-style killings, even of those recently released from detention in Saudi Arabia.
Bill Frelick, director of HRW’s refugee and migrant rights division, expressed shock and horror over the allegations, considering them among the most severe he has encountered in his more than 30-year career.
According to Frelick, Saudi border guards have been systematically targeting unarmed Ethiopian migrants, including women and children, as they attempt to cross from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, resulting in hundreds, possibly thousands, of deaths.
Saudi Arabia’s Denial Amid Claims of Targeted Killings Near Border
HRW’s report cited eyewitness accounts of migrants being struck by mortar fire near the Saudi border. Some reports suggested that attacks on groups of migrants had caused significant casualties, indicating a potential deliberate strategy to deter migration through targeted killings. This raises concerns about the possibility of a “state policy of deliberate murder of a civilian population.”
Saudi Arabia has denied these allegations, but reports of such killings had been circulating among diplomats for over a year prior to HRW’s report. The U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia,
Michal Ratney, discussed the allegations before the report’s release, and U.S. officials are now investigating whether the accused units received training or weapons from the United States.
Ethiopia has also initiated an investigation into these allegations, working in coordination with Saudi authorities, as reported by the Associated Press.
Source: Business Insider