Saudi Arabia dismisses reports of overcrowding in detention centers

Adequate facilities found during inspections: HRC

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The HRC said that it treats all allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness and it conducted unannounced snap inspections of detention facilities, including those mentioned in recent media reports.
The HRC said that it treats all allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness and it conducted unannounced snap inspections of detention facilities, including those mentioned in recent media reports.

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Recent reports alleging substandard conditions in detention centers in the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia have been looked into with care and concern, said the Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) in a statement.

The HRC said that it treats all allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness and it conducted unannounced snap inspections of detention facilities, including those mentioned in recent media reports.

During the inspections, it was found that the conditions in most facilities, including the Al Shumaisi Public Services Complex, violators of the residency & labor law shelter section, Jeddah, to be adequate in terms of capacity, detainees' health, nutrition, and sanitation, the HRC said.

With regard to two of the Jazan province facilities, the HRC said it is actively addressing conditions resulting from the erratic and unpredictable entries from the southern border. In some cases, thousands of individuals cross into Saudi Arabia in a single day.

The HRC also said it is working closely with the Kingdom's relevant authorities to address this in the current challenging circumstances.

The moratorium on the repatriation flights that began this spring, while motivated by an attempt to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 in countries of origin, has had the unintended consequence of exasperating the situation and pushing our existing detention facilities to overcapacity at times, particularly those in smaller towns closer to the border, the HRC added.

The HRC also said in its statement that Saudi Arabia has kept all diplomatic channels open for dialogue with Ethiopia, and the gradual resumption in repatriation flights has been a product of this fruitful dialogue.

Both governments are keen to find an acceptable and sustainable solution for those who have irregularly entered the country.

Saudi Arabia asserts its sovereign right to decide who enters and resides within its borders. Nonetheless, the Kingdom is treating the issue with the urgency it demands and remains committed to ensuring that those who do not have permission to enter or stay are treated with respect and dignity, the HRC statement read.


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