News / Africa

Horn of Africa Migrants Continue to Take Risks for a Better Life

An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.
x
An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.
An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
Desperation for a better life continues to be the driving force behind the increasing numbers of migrants traveling from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, reported that so far this year, 46,000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants made the treacherous journey across the Arabian or Red seas. The agency said they traveled in overcrowded, unsafe boats, and also in the hands of smugglers.

“Typically, migrants -- including asylum seekers and refugees -- are fleeing conflict, political instability, human rights violations, and drought.  They’re essentially desperate and they’re looking for safety, protection, and yes economic opportunities too,” explained Daniel MacIsaac, UNHCR spokesperson in Geneva.

The agency said it is concerned about the increase in the number of people making the dangerous trip, and that it is working with partners to record new arrivals and offer support.

MacIsaac also pointed out that trip across the waters, which takes several days, is one where the person is desperate enough to put himself in the hands of networks of smugglers and traffickers.

“It’s a bit out of your hands, out of your control when you make that decision. There are times when you’re approaching the sea coast of Yemen, and in order to avoid detection by authorities, there are reports of smugglers forcing these migrants into the waters offshore,” he said.

The danger does not end once the migrants reach land.

“Unfortunately, there are networks of traffickers waiting on shore, and that makes it difficult to access the people,” explained MacIsaac. He said the risk of exploitation and ransom is also high once they reach Yemen. 

The UNHCR spokesperson said there are now more Ethiopians crossing the waters than Somalis. The refugees are citing difficult situations at home. Previously, Somali refugees made up about 1/3 of those making the trip.

“Of the people who arrived in Yemen in the first half of 2013, about 38,000 or 84% were Ethiopian. There were about 7,500 or about 16% Somalis, and there were small numbers of other people from Eritrea, Djibouti, and Sudan as well,” explained MacIsaac.

He cautioned the decrease in the number of Somali refugees does not mean movement from Somalia has stopped. On a recent trip to the Horn of Africa, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed a continued outflow of refugees from Somalia.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid