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Insecurity in Yemen threatens incoming refugees and migrants: It’s estimated that up to 290,000 refugees have entered Yemen since 2013: 80% from Ethiopia and the rest from Somalia. February 11, 2017

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Since the civil war began in Yemen in 2015, the conditions there have only gotten worse and worse. So when you think of refugees, typically you think of people FLEEING the country and not trying to…

Source: Insecurity in Yemen threatens incoming refugees and migrants

Refugees walking from danger to danger: Members of Ethiopia’s largest national group, the #Oromo, which activists charge is systematically disenfranchised by the government are still heading to #Yemen September 17, 2015

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Walking into danger: migrants still head to Yemen
HARGEISA, 11 August 2015 (IRIN) – Qader and Abdi are two weeks into their journey. Carrying only one empty plastic water bottle each, flattened, with no liquid to return it to its cylindrical shape, the two men figure they will be walking for another month-and-a-half before they reach the sea. From there, they will take a smuggler boat the short distance to Yemen, where another 600-kilometre walk lies ahead before they may reach their final destination, Saudi Arabia.
The pair – members of Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Oromo, which activists charge is systematically disenfranchised by the government – are walking along an uncrowded road connecting the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa, to a northern port city. They walk because they cannot afford the roughly $150-200 that a series of smugglers would charge to take them from the Ethiopian border east through Somaliland to the port of Bosaso in the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Puntland.“We will walk until we become weak,” said 30-year-old Qader, who withheld his last name to protect his identity. He and his 19-year-old companion are dressed in dirtied long-sleeve shirts to shield them from the early morning sun, which will become unbearable by midday. They have made it this far off the good will of Somalilanders who offer them small change or meals as they pass.There is a small risk they could be arrested so they veer off the paved road near checkpoints but quickly return so as not to lose their way. Although walking along roads in Somaliland – a self-declared nation that the international community still classifies as a region of Somalia – puts migrants like them at increased risk of robbery or assault, Somalilanders generally do not wish the duo ill will. Government officials have even been known to stop and provide food and drink to migrants despite their illegal status in the country.

When they reach Bosaso the help will likely come to an end and Qader and Abdi will have to pay. Unlike on land, which the destitute can traverse without charge as long as they can avoid arrest, the sea is only passable by ships operated by smugglers, who are more than happy to continue transporting people to war-torn Yemen for a fee.

Ever more dangerous journey

Migration to and through Yemen – historically the backdoor for migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa trying to reach Saudi Arabia – has always put people at risk of death and inhumane treatment. Last year, there were numerous drownings in the Gulf of Aden and Human Rights Watch released a report in 2014 documenting “torture camps” where smugglers held newcomers for ransom.

But a civil war, precipitated by the departure of Yemen’s internationally-recognised government and a Saudi Arabian-led bombing campaign to restore its legitimacy, has made an already perilous journey for migrants all the more death-defying.

“It’s very dangerous, and I cannot stress that enough,” said Teddy Leposky, an external relations officer for the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, in Yemen.

Not only has the war given smugglers license to act more ruthlessly than before, but also the ability of aid agencies to provide services to migrants and refugees has been severely compromised and the conflict’s violence has been indiscriminate. Five migrants were caught in shelling near the Saudi border in May and, at the end of March, a camp for displaced people camp was bombed, killing at least 45.

But as migrants and refugees know, the grinding poverty, political persecution or violence that typically push them out of the Horn of Africa, do not conveniently abate as wars break out in their path. So they continue to risk life and liberty and end up on Yemen’s shores. According to figures from UNHCR, more than 10,500 people have arrived in Yemen since March when the bombing campaign began. Although some of those might be part of the 51,000 who are now also leaving, as war in Yemen has created a circular flow in the region.

“I know it’s a high risk, but I will take it,” said Fila Aden, 24, in a café in Hargeisa. He is familiar with what lies ahead. This is the second time he left home in Ethiopia for work in oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Although he struggles to provide a precise timeline of events, he estimates he was deported from the kingdom about a month ago after working there for almost a year.Hiding the risks

Some aid officials believe that boat smugglers in Bosaso and Djibouti (for the Red Sea route to Yemen) may be downplaying the conflict in Yemen or flat-out lying to clients about the dangers they have seen.

Fila Aden in Hargeisa doesn’t doubt smugglers are sugarcoating forecasts, but he thinks the conflict in Yemen might actually work to his advantage. He is reassured by news that one of his friends just traversed Yemen and slipped unnoticed across the border with Saudi.

“We worry about Yemen. We could be accused of fighting [for a certain side] in the conflict. People are more paranoid now,” he said. “But looking at it from the Saudi perspective, they aren’t concerned about us. They are fighting a war in Yemen.”

As long as those like Aden are willing to go, there is money to be made. Several sources said the smugglers had doubled their asking price in Bosaso, which pre-war ran from $60 to $120 for the sea crossing. Omar, who asked that a pseudonym be used, smuggles Ethiopians from the border into Somaliland. He is fairly new, joining the ranks of the illicit business just five months ago. But the job has proven lucrative. He saw a drop in numbers around the time war broke out in Yemen, but Ramadan (which straddled June and July this year) was profitable, suggesting an uptick in those still willing to go to Yemen.

“People know damn well that they are taking a risk,” he said, when IRIN asked if smugglers were taking advantage of the war and luring clients under false pretenses. But he said smugglers too were taking extra risks, and more and more fearful of arrest. “I feel bad sometimes but what can I do? I have to make a living.”

No refuge any more

While Omar continues to facilitate a migrant march east, deteriorating conditions in Yemen have destroyed a refuge that many once sought.

Abdulqader Ahmed, a 17-year-old Ethiopian migrant, arrived in Yemen in March from Djibouti right as street battles began to erupt in the southern port city of Aden. He made his way to the UN-sponsored al-Kharaz camp nearby, too afraid to begin his journey north to Saudi Arabia. He watched as the camp ran short of food and water, with aid agencies unable to get supplies in. Finally, he managed to secure passage on a ship that evacuated him to Somaliland.

At a migrant response center in Hargeisa, where he was waiting to be repatriated back to Ethiopia, Ahmed said the war in Yemen had helped him reach the realisation that his goal of getting to Saudi Arabia would likely cost him his life. He now intends to return to farming with his father in Ethiopia, even though it will be almost impossible to earn a living.

For UNHCR’s Leposky, Yemen’s collapse is particularly concerning because of the country’s history of opening its borders to refugees and asylum seekers. He told IRIN that those arriving now in Yemen are making the costly journey across the sea only to find themselves in a similar situation, if not worse.

“It’s so unfortunate that a country that has provided protection and asylum to people for so many years is now in dire straits.”


Things got worse and worse for Oromo refugees in Yemen’s roiling violence April 19, 2015

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OOromo refugees in Yemen

(Oromo Refugees in Aden) – Yemen seeking for international attention to the excessive discrimination made against us, in particular all the last two decades. The right delayed is the right denied.

Subject: problem of the Oromo Refugees in Yemen remains unsolved, while Other refugees enjoy with fair protection and the rights (to live or move with free, education, health, resettlement out of Yemen just for better changes of life etc) which the Oromo refugees are denied even, after more than 17 years of deprivation and discrimination. And now under fire of the war

Who is behind and why is this all about? Is it sensible to think or say that such huge discrimination and inhuman treatment against the Oromo refugees, in particular is made out of the sight of or, does the international community including the relevant law intends to discriminate against the Oromo refugees? And what will the outcome or effects of the closed eyes (of the governments, human rights etc) to the abuses facing the Oromo refugees in Yemen be on future of the human rights?

Despite the prevailing situation is serious in general and probable to deteriorate our situation from bad to worse or to expose us more to the dangers anticipated/ intended, but it is not seemed however to be much different from the war of the excessive discriminations inflicted on us, in particular since more than 17 years as refugees in Yemen. As Oromo refugees we were under constant threats, intimidation, systematical discrimination and deprivation of the rights as refugees and, or the right to seek /claim against or for fair protection and treatment as equal as the other refugees in Yemen.

Specific details

Threats: harassment and extortion the Oromo refugees with UNHCR mandates (in the streets, at their work places and even, in their home etc) by the police just for they are” Oromo refugees” that compelled the Oromo to hide under the pretense of Somalis on need (during movement out of the living area etc). Intimidation: frightening the Oromo refugees by threatening situation or forcibly deportation for claiming for the right to protection, equal treatment to other refugees, Or for claiming against the abuses. Systematical discrimination: whenever we seek for the right to (protection, education, etc), the response for this by UNHCR (national staffs) in Aden is to say that we are not allowed to have or to seek for these rights in Yemen because the authority doesn’t recognize or that it does consider the Oromo refugees as illegal.

We are honest that we should respect the irregular policy of the Yemeni government towards us because it has been clear to be unwilling to grant the Oromo refugees as others. But we are seriously pointing to UNHCR which fails a pinnacle of its obligation towards us by procrastination with our refugee protection.

Oromo refugees particularly, in Aden are trapped in the moist of systematical pressures and deprivation by UNHCR , which was and still having political outlook towards us and practicing very scathing criticism( as to blame us as though we behave to contravene against the law etc) and misinformation against us excessively as a pretext to disprove or deny as well as to blur the international attention towards the well-founded and flagrant threats facing the Oromo refugees, in particular in Yemen. Whatever we seek or claim for (e.g. Refugee protection, assistance, the rights etc as refugees) is distorted as being for resettlement (: as if our entire claim intends for resettlement) even though it is for specific assistance. On the contrary, UNHCR is giving resettlement in third countries just for better change, for non-Oromo refugees those are granted all the rights as equal as the host community. Sometimes UNHCR claims that they are treating the Oromo refugees as same as the others by offering them assistance needed including resettlement. And at the same time they contradict what they’ve already mentioned by saying that ‘our refugee status has been deaden for belonging to the (OLF), which has lost its political legitimacy in the world. But they are still unable to respond to the question says “ how could the Oromo Refugees in Aden – Yemen seeking for international attention to the excessive discrimination made against us, in particular all the last two decades. The right delayed is the right denied. failure of the” OLF” policy in the world effect on only the refugees in Yemen apart from those in other countries of asylum”?

We are under influence of the national staffs who struggle hard to hide and confuse the actual facts related to our prolonged sufferings. UNHCR expatriate doesn’t perceive severity / situation facing us, because we are denied the right to access to persons of concern, and any written letter is interceded by the staffs intend to fail our reasonable claim before reaching the person of concern. So, they use to deter and eliminate us even, our committee leaders by their guards or the police. The staffs just then give the expats distorted information and persuade them wrongly about our intention.

What kind of the humanity is this, of which the deserving people are deprived while offered for those who should be considered as secondary concern?

In spite of such flagrant abuses, unkind treatment and discrimination treated against Oromo refugees, but the international community uses to turn a blind eye towards us by relying on the distorted information given by its customers (UNHCR) concern problems of the Oromo refugees.

All this discrimination is made to us because we are defenseless and without advocate, although the situation necessitates because the general attention to the refugee protection has become less and complicated unless international advocacy is made on behalf of these refugees according to the relevant laws. But the silence of the international community, Human Rights watch etc towards these inhuman treatments against the Oromo in particular has discouraged humanity and courage much more the abusive policy of the Ethiopian government against Oromo in Yemen.

UNHCR has played very crucial role in getting the Oromo refugees deprived of not only the rights as refugee in Yemen, but also of humanitarian intervention endeavored by some government interests and supports humanity such as( the government of Canada, which made great attempts two consecutive years [ 2004, 2005 ] willingly intending to give the Oromo refugees citizenship. But UNHCR in Aden denied the two times missions preventing them even, from visiting location of the Oromo refugees. However, we never forget the praiseworthy attempts intended by government of Canada.

The prolonged deprivation or discrimination treated against us has now been affecting our children those were born under the flag of UNHCR in Yemen. If the law itself discriminates against the parents, isn’t there any of the laws which support the right of the children?

This is not for the first time but we wrote a lot of petition to you since 2004 but never brought any positive change. Instead, we have been made to face worse and badly overreacted pressures resulted from the petitions applied, because no intervention or attention has been made towards us, excepting the amnesty’s very humanitarian Endeavour which should never be forgotten. But UNHCR blocked the process before reaching destination.

Comment on the Oromo communities in (the global continents) On behalf of the Oromo refugees living under appalling condition in Yemen, we would like to mention fraternal regards to all the Oromo communities in the world and we hope for you great success in your efforts aiming for the Oromo problems inside and outside of Oromia in general and for the Oromo Refugees in Aden – Yemen seeking for international attention to the excessive discrimination made against us, in particular all the last two decades. The right delayed is the right denied. Refugees those have threatened by the abusive policies emanating from the despotic government of Ethiopia in countries of asylum.

As we believe Oromo has lots of intellectuals in many countries in the word but we are disappointed and surprising about their silence on the sufferings of their people (refugees). What is the main role they have played in bringing a possible solution for their threatened refugees particularly, those in the Arab countries although a massive petition to you has been applied? We hope this time should not be as before.

You are aware of what is going on in Yemen that has compelled the international community to take its peoples from Yemen. Refugees (Somalis) have been leaving and others even, the Eritrean refugees have been promised by the Ethiopian authority to be taken from Yemen. But what about the Oromo refugees who have nowhere to return although Oromo is the most vulnerable, the most threatened refugee in Yemen? UNHCR in Aden also has left us heedlessly and without even, a piece of advice concern the dangers surrounding despite we are the most liable refugees to any possible threats on the ground more than any others.

Effects expected from this deterioration towards us: Oromo refugees in Yemen are beset by Ethiopian abusive policy through the Saudi which is striking on Yemen.

As we know the last aggressive deportation process made against thousands of Ethiopian from Saudi Arabia was carried out by the request from the Ethiopian authority through its friendly relationship with kingdom of Saudi. And now it is controlling completely all over Yemen and it is intending to deploy its forces that can be very harmful to us in Yemen. It is believable that Saudi will carry out forcibly deportation against us on the request of Ethiopia. In addition there is rumor information that some political faction in Yemen uses to recruit and exploit peoples (refugees) in struggling. And this can make us target to any possible revenge.

As remembered last year on 7 March 2014 Ethiopian authority came to our settled area called Basateen with Yemeni authority to make plane how to deport Ethiopian refugees In Aden/ Yemen. The other side is the Ethiopian government is planning and made agreement with Djibouti government to deport Oromo refugees in Yemen by sea if by the plane is impossible, as we hearing information and we seen in this month they taken 30 Ethiopian embassy community from Aden to Ethiopia by the sea.

Therefore, we are writing this urgent appeal letter to international community( US government, human rights organizations and others) seeking your urgent attention and assistance to get us rid of this threatening situation as soon as possible.

Finally, we would like to insist you( the Oromo communities and representatives wherever they are) to give a good support to this petition and enable it reach to all peoples of concern and governments possible to give us lasting solution as humanitarian.

Thank you

You can contact to: Abdulmalik Mohamed Ahmed. Mobile No, +967-771361374
Ahmed Kamal Abdalla, Mobile No. +967-771605410/+967-734420407


Over 250,000 East African refugees trapped in Yemen

Many refugees and asylum-seekers from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea say they have nowhere else to go


Aljazeera America,  April 18, 2015

Tens of thousands of East African refugees and asylum-seekers are at risk of being left behind in Yemen’s roiling violence, deprived not only of safe options for evacuation but also of a home country that might take them in, activists and U.N. officials said this week.

Since pitched fighting between Yemen’s Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the ousted president erupted in March, escape from the country has been arduous even for foreign citizens and wealthy Yemenis. Airports are under fire and commercial transportation cut off, forcing the most desperate to charter simple power boats and make harrowing journeys across the Red Sea.

But for the over 250,000 registered Somali, Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees and asylum-seekers, the situation is even more trying. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its partners have a contingency plan to receive 100,000 refugees in Somalia’s relatively stable regions of Somaliland and Puntland, and another 30,000 in Djibouti, but that process will unfold over the next six months. And it is barely underway.

“The reality is that there are limited options for people to get out,” said Charlotte Ridung, the Officer-in-Charge for the UNHCR in Yemen. “Some have fled by boat, but many ports are closed, and fuel is an issue so the options for escape are indeed limited.”

As gunbattles and aerial bombardment engulf the port city of Aden, at least 2,000 people have fled urban areas to take shelter in the nearby Kharraz refugee camp, Ridung said. Thousands more refugees and Yemenis alike have begun to make the dangerous voyage across the water, including 915 people who fronted $50 each for boats from the Yemeni port of Mukha to Somalia — among them Somalis returning home for the first time in decades.

There, the UNHCR registered “women and children who arrived extremely thirsty and asking for water,” Ridung said. They included a pregnant woman who was immediately transferred to a hospital to deliver her baby.

Meanwhile, asylum-seekers and migrants traveling in the opposite direction from East Africa continue to arrive in war-wracked Yemen. Last Sunday, the UNHCR registered another 251 people, mostly Ethiopians and Somalis, who arrived by boat at the port city of Mayfa’a. Whether they were unaware of the violence in Yemen or hopeful mass evacuations from the country might take them somewhere safer is unclear.

“Many people think when they reach Yemen they’ll get passage to Europe right away, but it is wrong information,” said Sana Mohamed Nour, 21, an Eritrean refugee and community leader in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa. “We are trying our best to get out.”

For those like Nour, whose parents brought her to Yemen from politically oppressive Eritrea when she was just an infant, Yemen’s violence has made the daily hardships of refuge that much worse. Many refugees, who are only able to find informal work as maids, construction workers or day laborers, have lost their jobs in recent weeks as businesses shut down and people hole up in their homes. The closure of ports means food and other supplies are dwindling in the country, which imports roughly 90 percent of its food. “At night, we can’t sleep,” she said. “And when we go out during the day, we’ll be asked for ID or passport [by security forces], and there’s a lot of people [being] taken to prison.”

The options for escaping Yemen are somewhat more acceptable to Somalis, the largest refugee contingent in Yemen at over 236,000, according to UNHCR estimates. While violence has plagued Somalia since the early 1990s — including the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab insurgency that still terrorizes pockets of the country — many Somali refugees have taken the war in Yemen as their cue to finally return, if not to their home towns then to the Somaliand and Puntland regions.

The situation is different for political refugees, who include most of the over 14,000 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees or asylum-seekers left in Yemen. They say returning home would mean political persecution, imprisonment or violence. “The Somali refugees can go back to their home country, because there was no problem, and it will take them,” said Abdulmalik Mohamed Ahmed, a 42-year-old ethnic Oromo refugee from Ethiopia, who lives in Aden with his five children. “But we have no place or country to welcome us. We are just waiting.”

Ahmed said many of the estimated thousands of Oromos in Yemen are fearful that the Ethiopian government, which denies it persecutes Oromos and considers them economic migrants, will try to use evacuation efforts to whisk his people back home and perhaps into prison. In recent days Ethiopian embassy officials have deployed in Oromo neighborhoods in Aden, hoping to round up volunteers for government-run charter flights back to Ethiopia, he said.

But the idea of relocating anywhere in the Horn of Africa, as the U.N. is planning, is unfeasible, Ahmed said. Somalia, which borders Ethiopia to the east, is within reach of the government in Addis Ababa that imprisoned Ahmed once and still holds his father. “If we go back it is clear, we will face our fate there,” he said.

The U.N. has told refugee community leaders that it is “working on” getting them out, Nour said, but there has been little sign of progress. Members of the Eritrean diaspora have been called upon to help negotiate transportation for refugees, but she fears “no one else is talking about refugees in Yemen.”

“We are waiting, and every day the situation gets worse.”



Oromo Refugees in Yemen Civil War Are Trapped and Pleading for Help — Listen This Short Interview Would Give You Good Picture of Their Situation.



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Australian Oromo Community urgent appeal to help Oromo refugees in Yemen