News / Africa

UN: Somali Asylum Seekers Need International Protection

Displaced Somali women arrive at a food distribution center after moving to higher ground due flooding in areas around Jowhar, a town north of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Dec. 9, 2013.
Displaced Somali women arrive at a food distribution center after moving to higher ground due flooding in areas around Jowhar, a town north of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Dec. 9, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency is appealing to countries not to deport Somali asylum seekers to their country of origin.  The UNHCR says the situation in southern and central Somalia remains unsafe and Somalis fleeing those areas are in need of international protection. 

According to UNHCR, security in some parts of southern and central Somalia has improved.  But it says continued armed conflict and widespread human rights abuses is forcing many Somalis continue to flee the country.

Spokeswoman Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba says civilians are suffering greatly from the conflict between the government and al-Shabab militants.  She says southern and central Somalia remain very dangerous, and warns asylum seekers who are forcibly returned there risk persecution or serious harm. 

“Monthly fatalities fluctuated between 100 and 600 people.  In June last year, fierce fighting resulted in 314 casualties in Kismayo alone.  Civilians are at risk of being killed or wounded in crossfire between government forces and al-Shabab militants as well as by bomb attacks and as bystanders in targeted attacks," she told reporters.

Lejeune-Kaba said there is a perception the situation in Somalia has stabilized because it no longer makes headline news.  

She says since an internationally-backed government was established in 2012, many Somalis have returned from years abroad.  They are setting up businesses and working to revive the failed economy. 

“But unfortunately, on the ground, we went from a situation where there was open warfare between the government and al-Shabab forces to now, a situation where the al-Shabab tactic is sometimes to drop a bomb and to attack,: she explained.  "So, there are incidents more than there is open war like we used to have and that puts people in danger.  And, that is why we are continuing to see Somalis leaving.” 

The UNHCR reports more than 42,000 Somalis sought asylum in neighboring countries and elsewhere last year, but many are sent home.  

Lejeune-Kaba says Saudi Arabia recently deported a large number of Somali asylum seekers.  Those who are forcibly sent back are not safe, she noted, especially if they are returned to territory under the control of al-Shabab.  

Lejeune-Kaba adds that the militant group continues to commit gross violations of human rights. There are reports of peace activists, community leaders, clan elders and their families being killed, she says.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid