Tens of thousands in YemenRefugees to be protected from deportation [Archives:2004/713/Local News]

February 19 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The government of Yemen recently approved a draft law regarding asylum to Yemen.
According to figures published by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Yemen has 57,000 refugees, of whom are Somalis.
The law pertains to deportation of refugees. Sabe News says registered refugees would be only expelled in case the government sees it as necessary for the national security.
And in case refugees are to be deported, they would be notified on the decision and possibly have the right choose the country they are sent to.
Amnesty International said in its 2003 report that Yemen was deporting people under pretext their residency permits were expired,
The refugees, according to that policy, had no right to challenge the compulsory deportation decision.
Yemen's Human Rights Minister Amat al-Aleem al-Souswa had said that Yemen was among the few countries in the region that have seriously pondered a national law on refugees, pointing out that a special committee set up by the council of ministers has been preparing the draft law.
The minister said in a statement to Saba News that Yemen was seeking to regulate the phenomenon of asylum by more commitment to international agreements on the issue of refugees.
She pointed out that the idea of passing a law regarding refugees was an old one and that there were many projects and some committee had been formed for that purpose. But they had not finish their work for various reasons, adding that it was high time for issuing this law.
The minister also said that the aggravation of problems resulting from the flow of refugees into Yemen urged the government to think about the importance legislation regulating them.
According to the new legislation, there would be some conditions in the light of which such persons could be given the status of refugees in addition to other relevant considerations.
The minister said ''Yemen currently hosts tens of thousands of refugees from the Horn of Africa for humanitarian reasons, and there are military refugees from Ethiopia and others escaping from the death penalty.”
There are other refugees for economic reasons and others related to wars and famines hitting their countries. All of them are in need of humanitarian and legal help.