Foreign Policy Blogs

Somali Refugees: From Mogadishu to Sana'a

In 2006 the UNHCR reported that nearly 26,000 Somalis made the journey from Somalia to Yemen that year, and approximately 330 died while 300 were declared missing and reported dead. With the ongoing conflict in the East African nation of Somalia, the urge to leave for many grows as the conflict continues. The risk of travelling to Yemen since the beginning of 2007 has grown rapidly however, with this year alone 113 people have gone missing and 35 were confirmed dead in their sea voyage from Somalia on refugee boats on March 22nd 2007. Last week as well, another 365 arrived in Yemen, where smuggles forced 34 refugees overboard and who consequently drowned.

As the smuggling boats entered the Yemeni waters, coast guards began firing on them, causing one boat to capsize,” Sadat Mohammed, head of refugee affairs in the Somali community in Sana’a

Their fate was not merely from just falling overboard according to Mr. Mohammed. Twenty of the refugees who resisted were apparently stabbed in the process of escaping from the coast guard.

With one in ten refugees to Yemen coming on smugglers boats, and the fact that the majority do land in Yemen and do improve their standard of living, there will likely not be a reduction in refugees to Yemen from East Africa, as well as refugees to other countries coming from the region. With the large number of migrants in Yemen from Somalia and Ethiopia, there is a hope from local leaders in Yemen from East Africa that greater attention will be paid to the rights of those leaving the region and losing their lives in the process.



Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration