Pakistani migrant workers ‘packed as animals’ and ‘forced to drink from toilet’ in Saudi Arabia

Most detainees don't know how long they will be kept at the centers, or what charges have been leveled against them.

Saudi Arabia’s treatment of migrants has come under sharp criticism from rights groups following reports that detainees are “are packed as animals” and forced to “drink from the toilet.”

These are the terrible conditions in Al-Shumaisi Detention Centre, according to detainees awaiting deportation from the kingdom. Many of those arrested by Saudi officials, for working illegally, find themselves in the Al-Shumaisi Detention Centre, a vast complex designed to hold 32,000 inmates.

Most detainees don’t know how long they will be kept at the centers, or what charges have been leveled against them.

Detainees at Jeddah Shumaisi Detention Centre. (Courtesy of Free Rohingya Coalition)

“We are packed as animals. We sleep on hard metal beds with no mattress, no proper sanitation”,” Ibraahin lamented. “We drink water from the toilet. If you have money you can purchase clean water. If you don’t have any, you take dirty water from the toilet.”

Another inmate arrested for being undocumented while working as a camel shepherd complained about the lack of food. “We are given bread, very little dry rice, and no protein. The food they give is of very bad quality. There are no lemons, no vegetables.”


Both men told the Guardian that when they were arrested, the police demanded bribes and said they would be freed if paid. “If you have the money and ability to give a bribe, nobody will take you to jail,” Ibraahin is reported saying.

Reports of the inhumane conditions within Saudi detention centers was met with sharp criticism from rights groups who pointed to the kingdom’s failure to uphold basic standards.

“Despite the overcrowding, insanitary conditions, lack of proper healthcare and physical torture in Saudi Arabia’s immigration detention centers, KSA has done little to improve them or take steps to treat detainees with dignity,” Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said.

“In a time of increased dangers from the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia should move beyond detainee releases and take real steps to overhaul these centers and rethink its mass deportation policy,” expressed Coogle.

What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments below.

  • Pakistani gair qanooni tor per jate kiu hein? agar visit visa per gay hein to visa khatam hone k baad wapis kiu nahi aaey? kaam khud galat karte ho aur blame KSA ko dete ho.. kya wo in illegal rehne wale logo ko 5* hotel mein rakhein? saza ka maqsad he ibrat hasil karna hota hai, UAE mein 90% pakistani mard aur aurtein roads per aur masajid k bahir khare ho ker bheek mangte hein, yaha per bheek maangna gair qanooni hai, jab her mulk ka apna qanoon hota hai aur waha rehne walo ka farz hai k qanoon ka ihtraam kare,

  • I cannot understand why people work illegally even they know that if they are arrested they will be punished. And then they complain about how they were treated in KSA jail.

  • A few decades ago, when there was very little illegal immigration in the middle east, we (Pakistanis) used to live in awe of the same strict rules, regulations and laws, and used to talk about how these laws have maintained a low crime rate in Saudi and other mideastern countries….and now they complain.

  • Ullu k pathey….you titled it as Pakistani migrant workers but interview s of Indians…..

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