Almost 4,300 Somali refugees have returned home from Yemen, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Spokesperson Babar Baloch announced yesterday.
He said that the Somali refugees had returned as part of programme carried out in cooperation with humanitarian partners and authorities in Yemen and Somalia.
“Those who returned home this week include Somalis who had been born in Yemen to refugee parents, and others who were born in Somalia and who fled to Yemen hoping to escape conflict and insecurity,” Baloch said.
He added: “With Yemen being the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and civilians facing life-threatening conditions, the situation for refugees and asylum seekers and migrants has deteriorated significantly.”
About refugees in Yemen, he said: “Somali refugees comprise 90 per cent of Yemen’s refugee and asylum seeker population, or some 250,000 people.”
“Refugee movements from Somalia to Yemen have been taking place since the 1980s. They continued following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia, with many fleeing generalised violence and individualized fear of persecution, in addition to the consequences of drought and a lack of livelihood opportunities.”
He added: “As a long-standing refugee host nation and the only country in the Arabian Peninsula [which is a] signatory to the Refugee Convention and its Additional Protocol, Yemen currently hosts the world’s third largest Somali refugee population.”
“But with the conflict becoming prolonged, UNHCR, Yemeni national authorities and humanitarian partners face significant challenges in ensuring safety, humanitarian assistance and access to essential life-saving services for refugees and asylum-seekers in the country.”