Yemen: Escape And Return, Both Are Difficult Choices


Al-Thawra Net

“There is no place to complete my study, to feel safe, to live a better life with my family. So I need another country to help me to do something that benefits humanity,” Rania Dida Ahmed, 24, who was studying to be a lawyer before she fled told the Chain Post Newspaper.

“I’m suffering every day, not only me, all the people here,” she said. “You can see it on our faces … in a desert, what kind of life is here. Everyone is sick.”

According to Chain Post,  the camp residents, who also include refugees from neighboring Eritrea who first fled to Yemen before being forced to cross back to Africa due to the new war, complain of lack of food and water, sanitation, and also rough treatment by Djibouti’s police.

Despite there being no let up in Yemen’s war, the number of refugees arriving in Djibouti has dropped from a peak of 800 a week late last year to around 40 a week over the last two months, Chain Post said.

Some have even taken the risk of returning home, with some 600 refugees leaving the camp in recent months to return to Yemen, the U.N. says.

Relatives of Ahmed chose to return, but she says she will stay, and that news sent from home is bleak.

“They say that they are happy that they are back in their country,” Ahmed said. “But they are surprised that they now found Da’ash (Islamic State) there. They say, ‘We miss our country, it is not like before.'”

UNHCR camp manager Salim Jaafar said they were not encouraging people to go back.

“We try to follow these movements, to see what the conditions of these voluntary returnees are,” Jaafar said. “Our message is not at all to encourage any among the Yemeni refugees to return home, it remains a decision for them alone.”

Hassan Dine is tormented by the choices left to him.