The International Organization for Migration (IOM) warned on Tuesday that at least 14,500 Ethiopian migrants have been stranded in Yemen due to the coronavirus pandemic’s restrictions, making them more vulnerable to episodes of violence and exclusion.
The routes through Yemen, an important transit country on the migration route in the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf, are blocked and migrants are forcibly transferred between the different provinces. Stranded migrants are spread across Aden, Marib, Lahj and Saada, the IOM pointed out.
In response to the pandemic, migrants in Yemen have suffered verbal and physical harassment, an increase in their arrests, restricted movement, and forced relocation to areas away from major urban centers or services. This adds to the abuses many of them are already suffering from smugglers and traffickers, including exploitation and torture.
“Yemen has been a very unsafe place for migrants for almost six years,” said Christa Rottensteiner, head of the IOM-Yemen mission. “COVID-19 has made this situation worse. Migrants are the scapegoats as carriers of the virus and as a result suffer exclusion and violence,” he added.