UN programme helps thousands of Somali refugees in Yemen to return home

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-01 05:26:22|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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GENEVA, May 31 (Xinhua) -- A total of almost 4,300 Somali refugees have returned home from Yemen since the roll-out in 2017 of an Assisted Spontaneous Return programme facilitated by the UN refugee agency UNHCR in cooperation with humanitarian partners and authorities in Yemen and Somalia.

The UNHCR said Friday here that in the latest departure, a boat carrying 125 Somali refugees departed Aden on Wednesday afternoon this week, arriving at the Port of Berbera in Somalia yesterday morning.

"Those who returned home this week include Somalis who had been born in Yemen to refugee parents, and others who were born in Somalia and who fled to Yemen hoping to escape conflict and insecurity," UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch told a press briefing here Friday.

"With Yemen being the world's largest humanitarian crisis and civilians facing life-threatening conditions, the situation for refugees and asylum seekers and migrants has deteriorated significantly," the spokesperson said.

UN figures showed that Somali refugees comprise 90 percent of Yemen's refugee and asylum seeker population, or some 250,000 people.

Refugee movements from Somalia to Yemen have been taking place since the 1980s. They continued following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia, with many fleeing generalized violence and individualized fear of persecution in addition to the consequences of drought and a lack of livelihood opportunities.

According to UNHCR, Yemen currently hosts the world's third largest Somali refugee population.