GENEVA – Yemen may move to deny entry to people from Ethiopia and Eritrea, after having recently detained 87 Ethiopians who reached the country after a perilous journey across the Gulf of Aden, the United Nations (UN) said today.
“Our office in Yemen is seeking clarification from the government following recent statements by the Interior Ministry that Eritreans and Ethiopians will be denied entry to the country,” said Ron Redmond, spokesman of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The refugee agency said that over the last two weeks, 87 Ethiopians including 10 women and two children had sought asylum but were detained.
“UNHCR has not had access to them, but we have received government assurances of access,” said Redmond.
In addition, the agency “understands that some 25 Ethiopians, including six women, were removed by authorities from a vehicle transporting new arrivals to the UNHCR reception centre of Ahwar.”
Yemen’s actions came amid a rise in the number of people smuggled across the Gulf of Aden. Most are Somalis, but Ethiopians and Eritreans make up a minority.
For the year up to October 17, some 37 333 people have arrived in Yemen, while 616 have been killed or reported missing.
In October alone, 3 737 people arrived while 95 are missing or feared dead.