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14 April 2020 – United Arab Emirates

Thousands of Ethiopian workers – including large numbers of domestic workers – were deported from the UAE (as well as Saudi Arabia) over the weekend (10-12 April). Deported on cargo planes, some were reported to be displaying symptoms of Covid-19, although none had been tested for the virus. According to the UAE government, they were vulnerable to spreading the disease and thus needed to be removed from the country. Ethiopia’s Health Minister confirmed that thousands had been deported from both UAE and Saudi Arabia, and that the country expected thousands more to be returned in the next 15 days. As the UN Humanitarian co-ordinator for Ethiopia has said, “This is simply not the moment for mass deportations from a public health perspective. … These mass deportations, without any pre-departure medical screening are likely to exacerbate the spread of Covid-19 to the region and beyond.”