Refugees Right in Yemen [Archives:2001/33/Focus]

August 13 2001

Dr. Abdulkadir Mao Omar
Chairman of Benadiri Human Rights Organization (BHRO)
First of all, I want to thank you for publishing my article concerned the problem of Somali Benadir refugees in Yemen published on June 11th, 2001, that made me feel thankful for your care to our genuine case.
Here, I wan to explain my views of those rights ignored by the local UNHCR and to make careless the Human Rights. In Yemen live for about 70,000 refugees coming from different nations on neighboring countries in Africa, as Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, but the majority of those refugees are coming from Somalia, specially they belong the community of Somali Benadir.
This community has suffered precarious conditions of the Civil War happened in their homeland from 1991. Before the civil war this community was politically oppressed the entire period of 40 years when the Somali nation was an independent state.
The civil war has experienced the Benadir community ethnic discrimination, persecution, violation before they left for Yemen to save their life and many of them became the worst affected and homeless people victimized by the powerful and heavily armed clans.
Now they don’t know exactly to what will happen for them if they try to return to Somalia, their country of citizenship,. Therefore one can imagine that will be very dangerous for all the community members of Benadir family because of their membership of a minority ethnic clan.
They lived and inhabited long the coastal area of the Indian Ocean from Warshek (a village in Somalia) to Kishayo zone and there was the place where had been carried on many criminal actions by the heavily armed men which ultimately forced its inhabitants to move. The community still remembers the great menace on them, many of their relatives who had been killed, lost their properties, kidnapped their women and subjected to violation of their girls. For that reason they are afraid to happen them the same menace and torture or to live in an unhappy circumstance, whenever they try to return to their country. In addition there is no guaranty that their rights will be protected and respected as a minority group.
At the moment, it is very difficult to have an authority to rule of all the Somali territory, because there are still prevailing chaos and insecurity due to tribe mechanism, on the other hand the Benadir community don’t believe that their will be ready to protect their rights, even in the event of a national reconciliation because it is difficult to charge the attitudes of the big tribe toward the small tribe, which is to violate the rights of the weak, but the conditions suffering of Benadir refugees may lead in the long run to a forced return which is forbidden by an international Law.
At least 50,000 Somali Benadir refugees mainly from Somalia are currently staying in Yemen without any prospect to return, without protection, any security for their life where they belong. The target to be annihilated.
We know many countries in the world was signed the Geneva Conventions in 1951 and similar protocol was signed in 1967. However there had not been serious obligation to give practical effect for refugees.
The Benadir refugees in Yemen are very bad conditions lacking basic nutrition, health, education. Although they have badly fallen below a pleasing prescribe.
Everybody has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and of his family including food, clothes, house, medical care and necessary social service, the right to security in the event of crises as well as the civil war happened in his country, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. All these have to special care and assistance. It will be enjoy for social protection. Also, it is essential to have recourse at last resort to rebellion against the form of oppression, discrimination, hardship and any other forms of persecution and the right should be protected by the rule of the international law. In the dignity and worth of the human person in the equal rights of men and women, children and elders have determined to promote social progress.
Now in Yemen has funded a community board of “Benadiri Human rights Organization” to recognition of the inherent dignity of equal and inalienable rights of all Benadir family members.
In conclusion, it is very important that the UNHCR take very serious commitment to implementing the conventions in relation of refugees. I express my gratitude to your editorial.