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13 April 2016

Irregular migrants from Ethiopia wait for a boat to cross into Yemen outside the town of Obock in February 2015. Photo: Reuters

Yemen’s Looming Migrant Crisis

Africans risk a perilous sea crossing and a trek through a war zone seeking jobs in Saudi Arabia, writes IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker from Obock, Djibouti, in a commentary for The Wall Street Journal.

They arrive daily by the hundreds now. Frustrated university graduates unable to find jobs at home; drought victims who’ve seen their livestock perish; victims fleeing violence spawned by religious or tribal conflict. Two months ago, it was perhaps only several dozen a night, every one of these men and, increasingly, women, arriving on foot, sometimes having walked for months to reach this seaport.

So eager are they to cross the Bab el Mandeb, a dangerous stretch of water separating them from the Arabian Peninsula, that they will embark on journeys that can seem almost biblical. Known as the “gateway to grief,” the strait’s treacherous waters have swallowed more than 3,700 African migrants since 2006. Across the 28-kilometer strait lies Yemen, a country ravaged by bitter conflict.

But to these job seekers—overwhelmingly Ethiopian, with a few Somalis, Sudanese and Eritreans—the conflict is no deterrent. If anything, it has become an important selling point for those arranging passage.

“Saudi Arabia is their destination. Many are returning to jobs they had there before,” says Ali Abdallah Al-Jefri, who directs the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Migrants Response Center here. Human smugglers tell the migrants that because of the raging violence in Yemen, “now is a good time to try to go back to Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Al-Jefri says. Instead, it’s the worst time.

Read on

IOM’s Humanitarian Policy for Action

IOM works to ensure that people affected by crises can access protection and assistance. In doing so, it follows Principles for Humanitarian Action (PHA), which underpin its Migration Crisis Operational Framework and aim to ensure that the Organization acts on the basis of robust principles and as part of the humanitarian response system.

Watch this animation to see how these principles are put into action.



For the latest Mediterranean Update data on arrivals and fatalities please visit: #MigrationEurope


"To those Europeans who fear migrants bring disease, take away their jobs and sense of security, they bring us their culture, their world, their colors and their knowledge."  – Mayor Domenico Lucano of Riace, Italy. More here

Migration in the News
  • UN News Centre reported IOM DG Swing’s three-day trip to Syria, where he asked the Syrian authorities for improved humanitarian access and visited IOM projects in Homs and rural Damascus.

  • Newsweek reported that with the return of migrants to Turkey, EU officials worry that the dangerous Libya-to-Italy sea crossing will once again become the preferred path to Europe for refugees and migrants.

  • AP reported that Bono, the frontman of the band U2, has called on members of the U.S. Congress to take swift action to deal with the global refugee crisis and violent extremism.

  • Tunisian Press Agency reported the launch of an awareness-raising campaign to combat human trafficking in Tunisia entitled “Not for Sale.”

Trending on the Internet

  • The Independent featured a restaurant in London run by women migrants and refugees, which offers them not only employment, but a creative outlet as well.

  • The Guardian reported that migrants attempting to reach the UK are paying smuggling gangs as much as GBP13,500 to arrange their journey, according to the UK’s National Crime Agency.

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