from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – THOUSANDS of migrants and refugees from the Horn of Africa are stranded in Yemen on their way to Saudi Arabia.
The International Office for Migration (IOM) disclosed those stranded were living in dire conditions as they lack food, water, shelter and health assistance.
Some are hiding in mountainous areas from security forces, in fear of arrest and subsequent violations.
“Migrants stranded in Yemen are facing increased detention and are being subjected to forced transfers across frontlines,” a spokesperson for the migration agency stated.
IOM is concerned that amid coronavirus (COVID-19 ) authorities are legalizing restrictions to enhance migrant encampment, detention and forced relocation agendas.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has prompted governments in the Horn of Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea to implement stringent border closures, increase movement restrictions and tighten security along known migratory routes.
This makes the journey extremely difficult to complete.
The IOM is advocating against discriminatory policies and human rights abuses including restriction to freedom of movement, detention and forced transfers and the establishment of quarantine centres for migrants and refugees in Yemen.
The COVID-19 outbreak adds to the challenges earlier presented to migrants and refugees by the current conflict that broke out in 2015.
Thousands of young migrants—travelling mainly from Ethiopia and Somalia through smuggling networks—transit through Yemen each year.
They hope to escape destitution and in search of economic opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
– CAJ News