More people from the Horn of Africa region, especially Ethiopia and Somalia, are crossing international borders as irregular migrants – lacking official documentation or approval – drawn by the promise of a better life in the Arabian Peninsula.
“A growing number of Ethiopians opt to undergo a perilous journey through the Gulf of Aden, hoping to get to the Middle East via Yemen,” Demissew Bizuwerk, a communication officer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ethiopia, told IRIN.
“A significant proportion of these migrants travel with little or no information about what they would be encountering, and they are, in one way or the other, misled, mistreated and often abused,” he said.
Between 1 January and 30 November 2012, a total of 99, 620 migrants arrived in Yemen, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). By comparison, 103,154 people arrived in 2011, 53,382 in 2010, and 77,802 in 2009. Of the 2012 arrivals, 78 percent were Ethiopian and just under 22 percent were Somali.
“Most Ethiopians enter Yemen illegally as irregular maritime migrants, on boats from Djibouti and Puntland, Somalia,” said an October report by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) titled ‘Desperate Choices: conditions, risks and protection failures affecting Ethiopian migrants in Yemen’.
The Obock area in northern Djibouti is a popular transit point for irregular migrants heading to Yemen, who travel there from points on the Ethiopian and Somali borders.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
DJIBOUTI-ETHIOPIA: Irregular migration continues unabated