World Refugee Day markedUNHCR welcomes President’s amnesty [Archives:2003/642/Community]

June 19 2003

The World Refugee Day was marked in Yemen by the United Nations and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) office in Sanaa by issuing a statement to Yemen Times in which it lists some facts about the status of refugees in Yemen and the government's role in relieving those refugees, who came to Yemen from neighboring countries.
In the statement, the UNHCR referred to the amnesty of President Saleh as a positive development. “On the 22nd of May 2003, the President of the Republic issued an Amnesty Law to pardon the last group of 16 Yemenis involved in the 1994 events and by that, opened the way for the return of all Yemeni nationals to their home country.” the statement said.
According to the statement, Yemen hosts some 60,000 refugees mainly from Somalia in addition to a large number of Arab nationals who left their countries due to refugee-like reasons and who enjoy the hospitality and equal treatment in Yemen.
“The Republic of Yemen commits itself to basic refugee protection principles including principles of non refoulement, admission and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees. In May 2002, the Republic of Yemen undertook the task of registering and issuing refugee identity cards. Since 45,000 refugees -mainly Somalis- have been registered and issued ID cards in close cooperation with UNHRC, the registration is expected to be completed before July 2003.” the statement said.
It is worth noting that Yemen has been cooperating closely with the UNHRC to train government officials at the Ministry of Interior and inform them about human rights, justice, refugee and migration laws. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Human Rights, UNHCR organizes on a monthly basis 3-day workshops for around 30 government officials for in-depth training on human rights, refugees, and migration laws.
“The refugee National Committee in the Republic of Yemen is working closely with UNHRC to finalize the draft of the Refugee National Law” the statement said.
About its activities in Yemen, UNHCR said that in addition to assisting refugees in urban areas, UNHCR also assists 10,000 Somali refugees residing at Kharaz camp where they are provided with food, shelter, health care, education and vocational training, etc.
The Republic of Yemen, which continues to suffer economically from influx of refugees, still abides by the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention, signed by Yemen in 1981.