“This Wednesday is World Refugee Day and it is a reminder of the importance of addressing displacement across borders and at home,” said Naveed Hussain, UNHCR’s Representative in Yemen, while visiting a school in the Crater district in Aden on 17 June that has been used a collective centre for the displaced from Abyan.
Yemen is in the midst of a complex emergency and its humanitarian needs continue to grow at an alarming rate with record-high levels of displacement of its own citizens; there are over 170,000 registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abyan and a further 314,000 Yemenis displaced due to conflicts in the north. Despite this, Yemen continues to live up to its international obligations and hosts over 224,000 refugees, mainly from Somalia. As well, due to drought, conflict, political instability and human rights violations in the Horn of Africa, there has been an increasing influx of people fleeing across the Arabian and Red Sea into Yemen in search of safety, protection and economic opportunities. There were over 103,000 new arrivals in 2011 and 51,000 people have arrived along Yemen’s shores so far this year. UNHCR provides assistance and protection to some three quarter of a million refugees and internally displaced persons, working across the country in the areas of greatest need.
UNHCR has been responding to the IDP crisis in the south since it first began in May of last year, providing life-saving assistance to IDPs. UNHCR recently created alternative shelter space for over 600 IDPs that had been living in collective centres in schools, freeing up classroom space for some 6,000 students. The office has also been responding to the recent developments in Abyan, providing assistance to those who have returned already and is gauging the intent of the people from Abyan that have found refuge in Aden and other southern governorates. Most families are eager to return and have sent their young men to check on properties and assess the general situation. UNHCR has always considered return to a person’s place of origin as a preferred solution, provided conditions are conducive to return. UNHCR has been assessing areas of potential return, supports the needs and interests of the displaced and recognizes the IDP’s concerns over safety as well as the availability of livelihood opportunities.
“Addressing displacement is a key component of promoting stability in the country. No meaningful or lasting resolution to these conflicts can be achieved without addressing the plight of Yemen's internally displaced persons,” Mr. Hussain went on to say. “UNHCR continues to support the government’s efforts to assist refugees, for whom Yemen has always shown great hospitality, and for the Yemenis displaced from their homes due to conflict. Yemen also needs the continued support of its neighbours and the international community during this critical transitional period in order to ensure peace and stability in the country and the region.”
For further information, please contact UNHCR Yemen:
Teddy Leposky, Public Information/External Relations Officer, email@example.com
Dania Khan, Executive Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org