Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Fate of Oromo Refugees in Yemen

About four hundred (400) Oromo refugees, who recently arrived in Yemen from east African countries of Djibouti, Somalia, Somaliland and Punt land by sea, are facing very harsh treatments in the hands of the armed forces of the Yemeni Government. HRLHA reporter has documented that the Oromo refugees in general, the women young girls in particular, have been subjected to discriminatory, unjust and illegal treatments including rape.

According to HRLHA reporter in Yemen, upon arrival in the border town of Makka in Yemen, a group of personnel who claimed to have been employees of the UNHCR and the Red Cross, supported by soldiers, separated the Oromo refugees from other non-Oromo refugees most of whom were Somalis, and placed them under some kind of apprehension. Then, the Oromo refugees were taken to a camp in a town called Mafraq, about 420 kilometers away from Sana’a, the Yemeni Capital. Apart from being held in isolation in a foreign land, the Oromo refugees have been denied all kinds of contacts with the outside world, including relatives and friends in neighboring Middle East countries; and have been asked to pay huge amounts of money (2000.00 Saudi Riyal) in order to be allowed to make any contacts they need. The Yemeni soldiers who have been accompanied by other armed groups who speak Somali and Tigire languages (Tigire from Ethiopia), separate the women from the male refugees, some of them from their spouses, in the night time and take them to unknown places; to bring them back in the morning after inflicting on them all kinds of sexual abuses.

According to HRLHA reporter, 75 of those refugees were transferred to a detention center known as Jawazata in Sana’a on May 28, 2009; while the rest (about 325) of them are still being held in a heavily guarded camp in Ta’z town, where they are suffering from shortage of food, water and other basic necessities. Among the 75 refugees who have been transferred to the Jawaza prison in Sana’a, the HRLHA reporter has managed to obtain the names of the following:

1. Tamam Mahammad Usman

2. Yusuf Mahaammad Ibrahim

3. Jafar Usman

4. Umar Ziyad

5. Mohammad Dawud

6. Biqila Darara

7. Umar Ziyad

8. Jafar Ammee

9. Gazalii Huseen Bultuma

10. Muhammad Ibrahim Amme

11. Adam Ibraahim

12. Abdataa Yaddessa

13. Samiyaa Ibrahim

14. Mariyaa Ibrahim

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa is highly concerned about the safety of Oromo refugees in Yemen in general and fate of those refugees being held in both the Sana’a and Ta’az detention camps in particular.

The Human rights League of the Horn of Africa / HRLHA believes that what has happened to these refugees is in violation of what were provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the Universal declaration of Human Rights Article 14/1, it was stated that, “Every one has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) urges other human rights agencies (local, regional and international) to join hands with it and condemn these illegal and inhuman acts of the armed forces of the Yemeni Government. HRLHA also requests governments of the West and other international organizations to interfere so that the safety and security of those refugees would be secured.

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA is a non-political organization which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the peoples of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. HRLHA is aimed at defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and organization. It is also aimed at raising the awareness of individuals about their own basic human rights and that of others. It has intended to work on the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.


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