Assisting Irregular Migrants and Asylum Seekers from the Horn of Africa

Posted: 
09/10/07

The IOM office in Sana'a is seeking funding to create and manage a
database that will register migrants and asylum seekers from the
Horn of Africa who have arrived in Yemen after crossing the Gulf of
Aden.

This database will be shared with United Nations (UN) agencies,
international NGOs and local authorities that are currently
providing much-needed humanitarian assistance to migrants and
asylum seekers. It will enable IOM and its partners to better
coordinate assistance and put in place prevention strategies in
countries of origin and along well-established migration
routes.

This nine-month programme will also offer the option of
voluntary return to migrants who wish to return home or to those
who are not eligible for asylum.

IOM will provide pre-departure counselling and medical screening
to the migrants wanting to return home as well as additional
assistance upon arrival.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR), some 26,000 migrants and asylum seekers entered Yemen by
sea in 2006. This year alone, 385 people have lost their lives at
sea and 118 are still missing.

Many migrants and asylum seekers, particularly from Ethiopia and
Somalia, risk their lives on small, overcrowded and un-seaworthy
boats. In some cases, they are forced overboard by unscrupulous
smugglers who wish to avoid detection as they near the Yemeni
coast.

In Somalia, IOM is also looking for funding to work with its UN
partners and local authorities to prevent thousands of undocumented
migrants and asylum seekers from risking their lives to reach Yemen
by sea.

According to a recent IOM/UNHCR/OCHA assessment mission in the
self-declared autonomous state of Puntland, thousands of Ethiopians
from poor rural areas and Somalis fleeing insecurity in South and
Central Somalia have already arrived in the commercial port of
Bossasso.

Interviews carried out by IOM in 2006 show that very few
migrants are aware of the risks involved in this perilous journey,
which also includes long treks in the scorching desert, thirst,
starvation and various forms of assault by shiftas, or local
bandits.

For more information, please contact:

Stefano Tamagnini

IOM Sana'a

Tel: +967 734 079 429

E-mail: "mailto:stamagninitdy@iom.int">stamagninitdy@iom.int