Eyewitness to Unspeakable Abuse

By Leonard Doyle

The fate of eighty thousand Ethiopians who risk their lives every year trying to get to Saudi Arabia and the promise of a better life has been put in focus by a vivid report on the BBC’s flagship news program. The disturbing report cites the extraordinary work of IOM staff who take care of the abused migrants. 

The BBC program has exposed some unspeakable abuses against migrants, including women who are preyed upon and sexually exploited as they pass through Yemen on foot. As we have previously reported in a piece about National Geographic writer Paul Salopek migrants are smuggled in boats across the Red Sea to Yemen from where they must trek 500km (310 miles) to reach the Saudi border. But that is not the end of their hardship. Many migrants have been forced to leave since April as part of a crackdown by the Kingdom on undocumented migrants.

Along with Ethiopians and other Africans some 200,000 Yemenis have left the Kingdom, some of whom are thought to have been in Saudi Arabia for two or three generations. IOM has provided basic assistance in terms of shelter, access to water (through well rehabilitation and water trucking), non-food relief items and hygiene kits.

Yemen asked for IOM medical and other facilities in the border town of Haradh to be made available to vulnerable Yemenis returning overland. The facilities are used mainly to help stranded migrants from the Horn of Africa.

In recent weeks many returning Yemenis have been seen on roads near Haradh trying to hitch rides on passing trucks to get back to their villages.

Full report: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-23321638