Written By: Majid al-Kibsi
Article Date: Jan 21, 2012 - 7:28:11 PM
Smugglers operating along the Red Sea coast of Yemen killed three Ethiopian new arrivals on the way from Mocha to al-Dhabab area On 13 January.
The smugglers left the bodies on the outskirts of al-Dhubai village in Taiz Governorate. The Ethiopians were shot while trying to escape from the smugglers who were attempting to extort money from them.
“UNHCR expresses deep regret and concern over the death of these individuals and is following up this case directly with the authorities. It is important that those who commit crimes against refugees and migrants be brought to justice,” read a press release by the UNHCR.
The release added that the instability in Yemen is giving greater opportunity to operate for human traffickers and smugglers along Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Reports of abductions of migrants or refugees upon arrival to Yemen persist – mostly for ransom or extortion.
While the main targets seem to be Ethiopian new arrivals some Somali nationals have been also abducted. “Insecurity often prevents patrolling humanitarian teams from reaching the new arrivals before the smugglers,” read the release.
It also expressed worries of other issues. “Another worrying trend has been the prevalence of violent physical and sexual abuse of refugees and migrants at the hands of smugglers while at sea or in land.”
UNHCR has recorded more than 15 instances of sexual assaults and physical abuses perpetrated against refugees and migrants along the Red Sea coast in December 2011 alone.
UNHCR along with its partners is providing medical assistance and counseling to survivors.
Earlier, Mr. Naveed Hussain, in an exclusive interview with Yemen Observer, said that the security situation in some areas makes it more difficult for the UNHCR staff to have access to those who need the help.
On this point, Mr Hussain appealed to all parties to cooperate and differentiate between the humanitarian activities and political ones. Although needs and demands of the refugees and IDPs are not easy to meet, the UNHCR tries always to be the first and do the best to help as many as possible of human beings who need the help after coercive circumstances made them homeless all of a sudden. According to the statistics of the UNHCR, over 93,000 African has arrived to Yemen in 2011.
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