The UN High Commissioner for RefugeesThe United Nations refugee agency said
today it has recorded the arrival of over 30,000 refugees
and migrants to Yemen this year, the majority of them
Ethiopians, with the rest coming from Somalia and a small
number of other African countries.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Since 2006, when the
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began gathering
data, close to half a million people have arrived in Yemen
by taking the perilous boat journey from the Horn of Africa,
the agency’s spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told
reporters in Geneva.
“Yemen is a historical transit hub
for migrants and stands out in the region for its
hospitality towards refugees,” said Mr. Edwards, adding
that the country hosts more than 242,000 refugees. Over
231,000 of these are of Somali origin.
Mr. Edwards noted
that recorded arrivals in Yemen of refugees, asylum-seekers
and migrants have been rising in each of the past six years.
Last year, 107,500 people made the journey. The arrival rate
so far this year compares to 33,634 arrivals in the same
period of 2012.
Somalis arriving in Yemen are
automatically recognized as refugees by the authorities,
while UNHCR conducts refugee status determination for other
According to the agency, Yemen is frequently
used as a transit point by Ethiopians looking to travel to
the Gulf States and beyond. Few Ethiopians decide to seek
asylum. There are many reports of mistreatment, abuse, or
torture among people who make the journey by smugglers
“Conflict and instability in Yemen have limited
the ability of the authorities to address trafficking,
particularly along the Red Sea coast where Yemeni smugglers
and traffickers are often waiting to receive new arrivals
from the Horn of Africa,” said Mr. Edwards.
recently the Government has been active in detecting
smuggler hideouts and taking action,” he added.
the total number of those arriving this year, some 7,518
arrived in January; 10,145 in February; and 1,806 in March.
UNHCR is still recording arrivals for