UNHCR warns of more African exodus to Yemen [Archives:2007/1090/Front Page]

October 1 2007

Amel Al-Ariqi
SANA'A, Sept, 30 ) Yemen is taking part in the annual meeting of UN High Commissioner for Refugees' today ( Monday) morning in the Assembly Hall in Geneva of Switzerland. The first undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Moahi- Addin al-Dhabi is representing Yemen in the meeting.

The source said that al-Dhabi, who left Yemen on Saturday to attend the meeting, will review Yemen's stand toward refugees and support being given to them in accordance with Yemen's capacities.

Yemen is one of the few Arab States in the peninsula that has signed the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. The country has also acceded to almost all international conventions on human rights. However, the implementation of these agreements is erratic. Though a national law on refugees has been drafted, it has yet to be adopted, and refugee issues continue to be governed by reference to other statutes.

The UN refugees agency has repeatedly confirmed that the influx of new arrivals from Africa due to difficult economic lives, drought or intensive bloody conflicts in their countriesand rampant people-smuggling in the Gulf of Aden have put a serious strain on the limited resources of the Yemeni Government. At the end of 2006, Yemen was host to more than 96,000 refugees.

Recently, the agency stated that between the 1st and 26nd of September, 50 smuggling boats (nearly two a day) arrived on Yemeni shores from Somalia with 4,741 people, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians – an increase of 70 per cent over last year when 30 boats arrived with 2,961 people for the whole of the month.

“Deaths involving smuggling boats in the Gulf of Aden is continuing