ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian government on Sunday disclosed the repatriation of some 137,300 Ethiopian nationals, including prisoners and illegal migrants, from different foreign countries during the past one year.
In addition to the repatriation of some 112,600 Ethiopian migrants to home from 12 foreign countries, the Ethiopian government also brought back home more than 24,700 Ethiopians who were imprisoned in different foreign countries during the past Ethiopian 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed on Sunday.
According to the ministry, the reported more than 24,700 Ethiopians who were detained in 19 foreign countries returned home after the Ethiopian government came into terms with respective countries.
"The Ethiopian government, in collaboration with various stakeholders, has been exerting its utmost efforts to repatriate Ethiopians residing abroad under various circumstances," state-run agency ENA quoted Yohannes Shode, Consular Affairs Director General at the ministry, as saying on Sunday.
The repatriation of Ethiopian migrants as well as prisoners were conducted through the joint efforts of the Ethiopian government and the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), according to the ministry.
"The first target regarding returnees is saving lives and rehabilitate their livelihoods upon the migrants return to their home country," Shode said.
The ministry, which recently disclosed the repatriation of some 553 Ethiopian nationals from Saudi Arabia, also stressed that the government of Saudi Arabia, in particular, has played "a critical role" including allocating transport costs and other facilitations for the returnees.
"We have already entered into a labor agreement with the government of Saudi Arabia, which includes soliciting jobs for skilled applicants," Shode said, adding "we have also inked an agreement with Qatar which targeted legible Ethiopians to work in that country and protect their rights."
Agreements with other Middle East countries, such as Jordan and UAE, is also said to be part of the national efforts that are being undertaken by the Ethiopian government so as to reduce the burden of citizens in addition to the repatriation of those who are suffering due to illegal entry to the respective countries, according to Shode.
Despite a growing economy and public awareness campaigns on the dangers of human trafficking by the Ethiopian government, it is estimated that thousands of Ethiopians are trafficked to Middle Eastern countries as well as various other countries in Europe and South Africa, where they mainly engaged in the informal economy.
In addition to imprisonment and various other hurdles, desperate Ethiopian and other East African migrants also often encounter many deadly calamities as they attempt to cross the dangerous Red Sea route hoping to reach the Middle East via war-torn Yemen.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants from Ethiopia and other African countries also often face difficult situations as they apply the war-torn North African country Libya, lying on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, as a transit route to Europe.
In recent years, the Ethiopian government has been also actively cooperating with IOM and other international and bilateral partners to repatriate Ethiopian nationals in Libya's major cities, mainly Tripoli and Benghazi, according to the ministry.