UN helps ‘return’ over 2,000 Somalis from Yemen

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is supporting thousands of Somali nationals return from war-torn Yemen, the UN reported in a briefing yesterday.

The last boat carrying some 116 Somali refugees arrived at the Berbera port in Somalia on Sunday. According to the UNHCR, the Assisted Spontaneous Returns (ASR) programme was initiated in 2017 and has supported over 2,000 Somali refugees.

This year, 1,321 Somalis have been shipped across the Red Sea and have officially returned to Somalia. There are some 270,000 refugees in Yemen, of which 256,362 are Somali.

Some 45 per cent of the refugees are stationed at Yemen’s only refugee camp, Kharaz, in the south of the country. While others are based in the Basateen urban settlement in Aden.

UNHCR aids return of over 2,000 Somali refugees from Yemen

Yesterday (Monday, 6 August), a boat carrying 116 Somali refugees arrived in the port of Berbera in Somalia after sailing from Aden in Yemen on Sunday.

“UNHCR and partners face significant challenges in ensuring safe living environments, adequate protection, humanitarian assistance, and access to essential, life-saving services,” a briefing note by the UNHCR said. Refugees in Yemen are “vulnerable” to early marriage, child exploitation, detention and labour in the midst of war and conflict.

The UNHCR’s ASR programme is voluntary, though an information campaign is run for refugees to make informed decisions regarding their return. The UNHCR works in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Yemen authorities.