Saudi Arabia Issues - 2021


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Disputes - international

Saudi Arabia has reinforced its concrete-filled security barrier along sections of the now fully demarcated border with Yemen to stem illegal cross-border activities; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia continue discussions on a maritime boundary with Iran; Saudi Arabia claims Egyptian-administered islands of Tiran and Sanafir

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 70,000 (2020); note - thousands of biduns (stateless Arabs) are descendants of nomadic tribes who were not officially registered when national borders were established, while others migrated to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs; some have temporary identification cards that must be renewed every five years, but their rights remain restricted; most Palestinians have only legal resident status; some naturalized Yemenis were made stateless after being stripped of their passports when Yemen backed Iraq in its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saudi women cannot pass their citizenship on to their children, so if they marry a non-national, their children risk statelessness

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Saudi Arabia is a destination country for men and women subjected to forced labor and, to a lesser extent, forced prostitution; men and women primarily from South and Southeast Asia and Africa voluntarily travel to Saudi Arabia to work in domestic service, construction, agriculture or other low-skilled jobs, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude (many are forced to work months or years beyond their contract term because employers withhold passports and required exit visas); women, primarily from Asian and African countries, are reported to be forced into prostitution in Saudi Arabia

tier rating:

Tier 2 Watch List — Saudi Arabia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so and was upgraded to Tier 2 Watch List;

the government enacted the country’s first-ever national referral mechanism (NRM) and increased the number of prosecutions and convictions under the anti-trafficking law; victims are identified and referred for care; the government convicted and sentenced two Saudi officials complicit in trafficking crimes; however, the government continued to fine, jail, and/or deport migrant workers for prostitution or immigration violations who may have been trafficking victims; authorities regularly misclassified potential trafficking crimes as labor law violations rather than as criminal offenses (2020)

Illicit drugs

regularly enforces the death penalty for drug traffickers, with foreigners being convicted and executed disproportionately; improving anti-money-laundering legislation and enforcement

NOTE: The information regarding Saudi Arabia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Saudi Arabia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Saudi Arabia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.