Sameera Casmod | email@example.com
23 August 2023 | 10:35am SAST
During this week’s Media Lens on Radio Islam International, the discussion focused on reports from the Middle East about Ethiopian refugees attempting to flee conflict-stricken areas. Hafez Ibrahim Deen spoke during the interview about the details of Saudi border guards reportedly firing live rounds, mortars, and incendiary devices at fleeing refugees, mainly of Ethiopian origin.
It was revealed during the segment that the incidents have been taking place since 2014, sparking outrage from various quarters. Despite denials from Saudi Arabia, the situation has garnered significant attention.
Deen discussed the plight of the refugees, many of whom are Muslims and are attempting to escape the conflict-ridden Tigray region of Ethiopia. The refugees are undertaking journeys through Yemen, a region with its own conflicts, and attempting to reach the Saudi province of Jilin, which borders Yemen.
The interview revealed that satellite imagery and documentary evidence corroborate claims made by Human Rights Watch, an organisation known for its credibility. Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with numerous Ethiopian refugees, many of whom were victims of the alleged border guard shootings. The evidence presented includes stories of refugees being injured, with some even losing limbs due to the attacks.
Deen pointed out the complex geopolitical dynamics at play, highlighting that while Saudi Arabia denies the allegations, the UN’s Director for Torture and Expertise of Killings had previously issued a cautionary warning. He expressed concern that economic and political interests might be overshadowing human rights concerns in this situation. Western companies, keen on maintaining relationships with Saudi Arabia for oil-related reasons, may be inadvertently contributing to sidelining the matter.
Moreover, Deen explored the possibility of independent confirmation of the incidents. While acknowledging the volatile nature of the region, he suggested the likelihood of Saudi involvement given their past human rights record, the nature of the accusations, the credibility of the reports and the documented evidence that has been collected.
Drawing parallels to similar instances, such as the Aegean Sea incident involving Greek coast guards, Deen stated that government denials are not uncommon in such cases. He concluded by stating that the problem is not unique to Saudi Arabia.
Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany here.