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Sana’a. Airline official to deport Eritrean refugees stranded in airport

By Roberto Malini - Co-founder, EveryOne Group, Italy Rome/Sana'a - An airline official is arbitrarily trying to deport four Eritrean refugees who were stranded in the airport for a month. This is the first time Yemen has

By Roberto Malini – Co-founder, EveryOne Group, Italy

Rome/Sana’a – An airline official is arbitrarily trying to deport four Eritrean refugees who were stranded in the airport for a month. This is the first time Yemen has deported asylum seekers against their will.

EveryOne Group, Eritrean Concern, ICER and other Human Rights organizations are asking the UNHCR to condemn the action as strongly as possible and ask the Yemeni Government to stop the unjust deportation of fellow human beings to Eritrea. We are also asking the High Commissioner to exercise the necessary diplomatic pressure to ensure that similar events do not occur again in the future. The NGOs have also sent to the government of Yemen a condemnation of the action taken against the four Eritreans, pointing out that, if Yemen is not willing to accord the right of refugee status according to the 1951 UN Convention, to at least provide them the opportunity to travel to a nearby third country where they will be given  temporary refuge.

Below, the report we received, describing the dramatic event.

On Friday December 16th, 2011, four Eritrean asylum seekers were forced to board a Yemenia flight to Asmara by the Yemen authorities. The two Eritreans who escaped to Sudan went to Kenya, and from there via Sana’a to Istanbul. They tore up their documents in order to seek asylum in Istanbul, but were sent back to Sana’a and again to Istanbul back to Sana’a.  They had torn up their documents due to the bad situation and dictatorial regime in Eritrea. They had been at Sana’a International Airport for over a month.

The other two Etritreans – a man and a woman – arrived at Sana’a International Airport from Kenya last week.  They have stayed there in view of the fact that they have a fake visa to Chile. The UNHCR Sana’a office has been informed of the two Eritreans who came from Sudan, but, the agency has informed the Yemeni Government accordingly, but  has not been able to gain access from the government to see them.

The Eritrean Embassy in Sana’a has involved the Yemeni authorities, and a  member of the Yemeni  Airways staff, Abdelrahman, at  Sana’a Airport, has agreed with the embassy to deport them back to Eritrea.  He has become involved despite the fact that he is only an airliner employee.  It is not his duty, it is the responsibility of the Yemeni office of political security and immigration authorities. He has said that the first two Eritreans to arrive have been at the airport for a month and nobody had informed him. They have asked to see the embassy staff, but they refused to do that. The Yemeni political security and the UNHCR has called him to stop involuntarily this repatriation, but he said that the flight has already left, which is not true.  He has also been told that if Yemen will not accept them they could have a chance to be deported to other nearby countries.  However, he has refused to do that and he did it with cooperation of state security personnel at the airport.  He has no right to deport them back involuntarily, but, he could make them return to where they came from. They were threatened and forced on board.

Nobody knows their whereabouts and Yemen is responsible for their lives. Both the UNHCR Sana’a office and its partner,  the Yemen Government, are not treating the asylum seekers and refugees, who are now living in Sana’a, humanely.

Therefore, please contact and inform the relevant international organizations, Eritrean agencies, and NGOs.  Although this is the first time Yemen has deported asylum seekers unwillingly, we have to ensure this does not happen again in the future.

December 23, 2011

Review overview
  • aurora bruk December 25, 2011

    what’s ur problem? take ur satire elsewhere. we Eritreans are tired of oppression and humiliation, and you feel like this is the time to mock us? when our brothers are in fear of being deported, and getting right into the dictator’s mouth? i feel like you are one of those people, who try to undermine our struggle for freedom. praising the ‘king’ haileselasie and implying we bit his hand? what a shame! satire may be a powerful weapon, but only if used at an appropriate time. meretu if you have not yet noticed, we Eritreans are a people, forced to be homeless. wherever we are (even when we are in Eritrea) we have no citzenship whatsoever, thanks to eseyas and his dictatorship. this is an Eritrean website. try ur satirical skills on hadas eritrea.

  • December 28, 2011

    Mr. Cicero, Ethiopia will never try to invade Eritrea any more. On the contrary the poor Oromo, Ogaden and Afar will get their independence and the real Ethiopia which conclude the Amhara and Tigray region will the only and the old Ethiopian land. The others had been detained by the Minelik and other kings in Ethiopia from time to time. In fact, Ethiopia is really the Caner of the horn Africa since long time back. The reason for this is because of the Axumite Fanatic Orthodox Christian state. All of these people had been suffered for hundreds of years.
    Eritrea was invaded by Ethiopians for the last 39 years and had been suffered a lot until we kick them out once and for all. I hope the rest of the nations will get their freedom soon.