Yemen

Detains migrants or asylum seekers?

Yes

Has laws regulating migration-related detention?

Yes

Migration Detainees

6,000

2020

Reported Population (Single Day)

6,000

2020

Refugees

77,458

2022

Asylum Applications

13,225

2022

Overview

(May 2019) Although it has been devastated by famine and an ongoing civil war, Yemen serves as an important transit country for African migrants and refugees seeking to make it to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf state. But there is little available information about its immigration detention practices. One source of information has been the International Organization for Migration (IOM), whose Displacement Tracking Matrix has identified detention sites in the country. Detainees are predominantly Ethiopians or Somalians who have crossed the treacherous Gulf of Aden as part of their migration journeys, only to arrive in a country wracked by conflict and massive human suffering and deprivation.

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

Migrants and Asylum Seekers Face Violent Attacks, Then Detention, At Saudi Border. 

In a new report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) details the horrific killing of hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers at the Saudi-Yemen border. According to the report, Saudi border guards have used explosive weapons and shot at groups of people–largely Ethiopian migrants and asylum seekers–killing hundreds, amongst them women and children. Those who survive have […]

Read More…

25 January 2022 – Yemen

On 21 January, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition airstrike in Yemen struck a detention centre in the Sa’ad province under the control of rebel Houthi forces, killing at least 82 people and injuring 266 others. Médecins Sans Frontières reported that the al-Gumhourriyeh hospital in Sa’da had taken in around 200 wounded but that there were “many […]

Read More…

Image of the Destroyed Detention Centre in Sa'da Taken on 22 January 2022 (Ansarullah Media via AFP,

16 March 2021 – Yemen

Amidst an ongoing conflict that has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and widespread famine, migrants and refugees in Yemen–most of whom are from Ethiopia or Somalia–continue to face detention and physical threats in the country, in part because of rumors that they are spreading COVID-19 (see the 4 August 202 update on this […]

Read More…

M. MacGregor, “Yemen Detention Center Fire Highlights Dangers for Migrants,” InfoMigrants, 8 March 2021, https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/30723/yemen-detention-center-fire-highlights-dangers-for-migrants

04 August 2020 – Yemen

Although it has been devastated by ongoing civil war and famine, Yemen has continued to serve as an important migrant and refugee transit country–with many people often enduring torture, rape, and extortion, as well crossfire and airstrikes. In 2019, the IOM estimated that some 138,000 migrants departed from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in […]

Read More…

New York Times, “African Migrants in Yemen Scapegoated for Coronavirus Outbreak,” 28 June 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/world/middleeast/coronavirus-yemen-african-migrants.html
Last updated: May 2019

Migrants in Yemen Languish in Detention as Ramadan Begins

From: International Organization for Migration
Date: 7 May 2019

Aden - Some 3,000 migrants continue to be held in two temporary detention sites in Yemen's Aden and Abyan governorates. Among those detained are Ethiopian nationals, many practicing Muslims, who are embarking on thirty days of Ramadan fasting while detained.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been providing clean water and emergency food at the 22nd of May Stadium in Aden where nearly 2,500 migrants are detained. 

On 21 April, authorities in Yemen began detaining nearly 5,000 irregular migrants in two sports stadiums and a military camp in the Aden, Abyan and Lahj governorates. The detainees predominately are Ethiopians, who entered Yemen to seek livelihoods and opportunities on the Arabian Peninsula.   

On Friday (03/05), IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams confirmed that 2,473 migrants remain under detention in Aden’s 22nd May Stadium. Of those, the DTM determined 873 are children.  

Since last week’s headcount, more people have been brought to that site. An estimated 500 migrants are also being held in a second sports stadium in Abyan. 

At the stadium in Aden, IOM is combatting the spread of communicable disease by providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health services. Between 26 April and 5 May, IOM has conducted over 1,800 health consultations and rehabilitated 30 latrines. 

In recent days, more than 1,400 people detained at the military camp in Lahj reportedly were released.  IOM is making efforts to confirm the locations and wellbeing of all migrants released in Lahj, particularly because some had been suffering from acute watery diarrhea (AWD).  

At Lahj’s Ibn Khaldoon Hospital, IOM is treating more than 70 former detainees with AWD in its newly-opened diarrhea treatment centre. Tragically, since Wednesday (01/05), 14 migrants have perished from the illness

Twenty-three-year-old Abdi* comes from a farming family in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. As Ramadan commences, he wishes he could go home, or anywhere rather than stay in detention in the sports stadium in Aden. 

“I wanted to come to an Arabian country to make my life better than my parents’, but when I arrived here [in Yemen] they caught me and brought me to this place,” said Abdi, who left his home just over a month ago without telling his parents.  

Starting his journey with only 2,000 birr [USD 70], he eventually he arrived in Djibouti, where he called his parents explaining he needed funds, some 11,000 birr [USD 380], to continue his journey. His parents sold a cow. He said he knew he would perish in the desert without a smuggler to help him complete this “hard journey.” 

*Name changed to protect identity   

IOM remains extremely concerned for the people being held in inhumane conditions in Aden and Abyan. Alongside humanitarian partners, IOM is providing lifesaving services, while engaging with authorities to advocate for the release of those detained.  

Thousands of migrants are stranded in other locations throughout Yemen. From Sana'a starting this past Monday, IOM intends to move a total of 327 Ethiopian migrants to Addis Ababa, under IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return (VHR).  

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Yemen, Tel: +353833022648, +967730552233, +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int 

-----

Migrants Die While Detained in Inhumane Conditions in Yemen

United Nations Information Centre
2 May 2019 – Aden
 
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is alarmed by reports of migrants dying of preventable illnesses, being shot and suffering other inhumane treatment in makeshift detention centres in Yemen, now in its fifth year of conflict.

IOM is monitoring the conditions of some 5,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa held across three sites –-two sports stadiums and a military camp–in Yemen’s Aden, Lahj and Abyan governorates.

IOM learned yesterday (01/05) that at least eight migrants died from complications related to acute watery diarrhea (AWD) at the Ibn Khaldoon Hospital in Lahj governorate. Those migrants—predominantly Ethiopian—had been held at a military camp in Lahj where more than 1,400 people are detained. Authorities at the camp report they have detected at least 200 AWD cases. IOM is establishing a diarrhea treatment centre at Ibn Khaldoon Hospital, which is currently struggling to treat 53 AWD cases, including eight severe cases.

This morning, 14 migrants with signs of AWD were brought to Aden’s 22nd of May stadium where IOM is providing critical life saving assistance. IOM’s health team, who has carried out over 1,000 health consultations at the site since 26 April, acted fast to ensure the patients were evacuated to a nearby hospital.

In Geneva, Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies said, “I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these eight migrants, who were among the thousands of migrants being held in deplorable conditions across Yemen. We have decried this policy to the authorities, urging them to take a humane approach to irregular migration.”

IOM’s team in Aden became aware of the mass arrest and detention of thousands of migrants on 21 April and their detention in cramped buildings, not fit for human inhabitation. Abdiker noted these migrants, “at best, have only limited access to basic services or protection.”

On Tuesday (30/04), guards fired on migrants detained at the Aden sports stadium, two of whom suffered gunshot wounds, leaving a teenage boy likely paralyzed for life. That, Abdiker said, “demonstrates the inability of authorities to care for the expanding detained population as well as the immediate need to have a dedicated civilian authority humanely managing these sites. Our teams could see that without ensuring immediate access to sufficient food, clean water, safe sanitation and medical attention, a catastrophe was waiting to unfold.”

Abdiker added: “IOM stands ready to support Yemen and other regional partners to identify sustainable responses to irregular migration, which do not involve the shortsighted abuse of vulnerable migrants and fully respects international law.”

“I am greatly concerned that this dire situation will further deteriorate,” he concluded. “Our team on the ground has been making strides with local advocacy among the different levels of government. However, it is time to see these words turned into action that puts an end to this abuse before more innocent lives are lost.”

For more information please contact Olivia Headon in Aden. Tel: +967 730 552 233. Email: Oheadon@iom.int

 

DETENTION STATISTICS

Total Migration Detainees: Flow + Stock (year)
Not Available
2021
6,000
2020
Not Available
2019
Alternative Total Migration Detainees: Flow + Stock (year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Migration Detainee Entries: Flow (year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Alternative Migration Detainee Entries: Flow (year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Reported Population (Day)
Not Available
2021
6,000
2020
5,000
2019
Average Daily Population (year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Immigration Detainees as Percentage of Total Migrant population (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Not Available
2019

DETAINEE DATA

Countries of Origin (Year)
Ethiopia (Somalia) Syria
2021
Ethiopia (Somalia)
2020
Ethiopia (Somalia) Djibouti
2019
Number of Asylum Seekers Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Women Placed in Immigration Detention (year)
0
2021
0
2020
Total Number of Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
126
2013
Number of Unaccompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Accompanied Children Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Stateless Persons Placed in Immigration Detention (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Deaths in Immigration Custody (year)
44
2021
0
2020
Number of Suicide Attempts in Immigration Custody (year)
0
2021
0
2020

DETENTION CAPACITY

Total Immigration Detention Capacity
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Immigration Detention Capacity (Specialised Immigration Facilities Only)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Dedicated Immigration Detention Centres
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019

ALTERNATIVES TO DETENTION

Number of Detainees Referred to ATDs (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Official ATD Absconder Rate (Percentage)(Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of People in ATDs on Given Day
0
2021
0
2020

ADDITIONAL ENFORCEMENT DATA

Percentage of Detainees Released (year)
0
2021
0
2020
Percentage of Detainees Deported (year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Deportations/Forced Removals (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019
Number of Voluntary Returns & Deportations (Year)
2,028
2021
647
2020
0
2019
Percentage of Removals v. Total Removal Orders (Year)
2021
2020
2019
Number of People Refused Entry (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
Number of Apprehensions of Non-Citizens (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
0
2019

PRISON DATA

Criminal Prison Population (Year)
0
2021
0
2020
14,000
2013
Percentage of Foreign Prisoners (Year)
2021
2020
3.2
2013
Prison Population Rate (per 100,000 of National Population)
0
2021
0
2020
53
2013

POPULATION DATA

Population (Year)
34,400,000
2023
30,490,639
2021
29,800,000
2020
26,832,000
2015
International Migrants (Year)
387,113
2020
385,628
2019
344,100
2015
314,700
2013
International Migrants as Percentage of Population (Year)
1.3
2020
1.3
2015
1.3
2013
Estimated Undocumented Population (Year)
158,589
2020
Refugees (Year)
77,458
2022
89,467
2021
166,936
2020
268,503
2019
264,369
2018
270,919
2017
269,763
2016
263,047
2015
257,645
2014
Ratio of Refugees Per 1000 Inhabitants (Year)
2.93
2021
5.47
2020
9.82
2016
9.84
2014
9.89
2013
Asylum Applications (Year)
13,225
2022
12,593
2021
10,965
2020
2,470
2019
4,309
2016
6,266
2013
Number of People Granted Temporary Protection Status (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
Refugee Recognition Rate (Year)
Not Available
2021
Not Available
2020
0
2017
46.7
2014
47.8
2013
Stateless Persons (Year)
0
2022
0
2021
Not Available
2020
0
2016
0
2014

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA & POLLS

Gross Domestic Product per Capita (in USD)
690.8
2021
0
2020
632.9
2018
1,408
2014
Remittances to the Country
0
2021
0
2020
4
2016
3,455
2014
Remittances From the Country
0
2021
0
2020
333
2016
Unemployment Rate
14
2021
13
2020
2014
Unemployment Rate Amongst Migrants
2021
2020
Net Official Development Assistance (ODA) (in Millions USD)
0
2021
0
2020
4.39
2019
1,164.2
2014
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
183 (Low)
2021
179 (Low)
2020
160 (Low)
2015
Integration Index Score
2021
2020
World Bank Rule of Law Index
2 (-1.8)
2021
3 (-1.8)
2020
3 (-1.77)
2019
Domestic Opinion Polls on Immigration
2021
2020
Pew Global Attitudes Poll on Immigration
2021
2020

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Does the Country Detain People for Migration, Asylum, or Citizenship Reasons?
Yes
2023
Yes
2021
Yes
2020
Does the Country Have Specific Laws that Provide for Migration-Related Detention?
Yes
2023
Yes
1991

GOVERNANCE SYSTEM

Legal Tradition(s)
Muslim law
2017
Common law
2017
Civil law
2017
Customary law
2017
Centralised or Decentralised Immigration Authority
Decentralized immigration authority
2021
Decentralized immigration authority
2020

LEGAL & REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

Do Migration Detainees Have Constitutional Guarantees?
Yes (The Constitution of the Republic of Yemen Article 48) 1991 2014
1991
Detention-Related Legislation
Prison Authority Organization Act, Republican decree no. 48 (1981)
1981
Republic Decision No. 221 of the year Executive Prison Regulations of Law No. 48 of the year 1991 (1999) 1999
1999
Republican Decree, By Law No. 12 for 1994, Concerning Crimes and Penalties (1994) 1994
1994
Law on the Entry and Residence of Aliens (1991) 1994
1991
Additional Legislation
Law No. 13 of 2012 concerning the Right of Access to Information. (2012)
2012

GROUNDS FOR MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

Immigration-Status-Related Grounds
Detention to effect removal
1991
Detention for unauthorised entry or stay
1991
Non-Immigration-Status-Related Grounds in Immigration Legislation
Detention on public order, threats or security grounds
1991
Detention on health-related grounds
1991
Criminal Penalties for Immigration-Related Violations
Yes (Yes)
1991
Grounds for Criminal Immigration-Related Incarceration / Maximum Length of Incarceration
Unauthorized entry (180)
1991
Unauthorised stay (180)
1991
Unauthorized exit (180)
1991
Has the Country Decriminalised Immigration-Related Violations?
No
2021
No
2020
Children & Other Vulnerable Groups
Accompanied minors (Provided) Yes
2021
Women (Provided) Yes
2020
Victims of trafficking (Not mentioned) Yes
2020
Re-Entry Ban
Yes
1991

LENGTH OF MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION

MIGRATION-RELATED DETENTION INSTITUTIONS

Custodial Authorities

PROCEDURAL STANDARDS & SAFEGUARDS

Access to Detainees
Lawyer: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
Family Members: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
NGOs: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
International Monitors: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
Consular Representatives: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2021
Lawyer: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
Family Members: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
NGOs: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
International Monitors: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
Consular Representatives: Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2020

DETENTION MONITORS

> National human rights monitoring bodies

National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)
No
2021
No
2020

> National Preventive Mechanisms (Optional Protocol to UN Convetion against Torture)

National Preventive Mechanism (NPM-OPCAT)
No
2020

> Non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

> Governmental monitoring bodies

Do parliamentary organs have capacity to receive complaints?
No
2021
No
2020

> International detention monitoring

TRANSPARENCY

Transparency Ranking on Migration-Related Detention
Little or No Transparency
2021
Little or No Transparency
2020
Is There a Publicly Accessible Official List of Currently Operating Detention Centres?
No
2021
No
2020
Does the Country Provide Annual Statistics of the Numbers of People Placed in Migration-Related Detention?
No
2021
No
2020
Is Detention Data Disaggregated?
No
2021
No
2020
Does the Country Have Access to Information Legislation?
Yes
2021
Yes
2020

READMISSION/RETURN/EXTRADITION AGREEMENTS

COVID-19

HEALTH CARE

Provision of Healthcare in Detention Centres
Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2021
Limited or Some Detention Centres Only
2020
Medical Screening upon Arrival at Detention Centres (within 48 hours)
Unknown
2021
Unknown
2020
Psychological Evaluation upon Arrival at Detention Centres
Unknown
2021
Unknown
2020
Doctor on Duty at Detention Centres (at least once per week)
Unknown
2021
Unknown
2020
Qualified Nurse Present at Detention Centres (on daily basis)
Unknown
2021
Unknown
2020
Regular Psychologist Visits at Detention Centres (at least once per week)
Unknown
2021
Unknown
2020

COVID-19 DATA

INTERNATIONAL TREATIES

International Treaties Ratified
Ratification Year
Observation Date
CRPD, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
2009
2009
CAT, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
1991
1991
CRC, Convention on the Rights of the Child
1991
1991
ICCPR, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
1987
1987
ICESCR, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
1987
1987
VCCR, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
1986
1986
CEDAW, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
1984
1984
CRSR, Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1980
1980
PCRSR, Protocol to the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
1980
1980
ICERD, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
1972
1972
Ratio of relevant international treaties ratified
Ratio: 10/19
Individual Complaints Procedures
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2009
2009
Ratio of Complaints Procedures Accepted
Observation Date
1/7
2017
Relevant Recommendations Issued by Treaty Bodies
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
Committee on the Rights of the Child § 76. "The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive legal framework in line with international standards for refugees and asylum seekers , and develop an efficient and well - founded cooperation mechanism with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to identify and provide assistance to children in need of protection, especially unaccompanied refugee and asylum - seeking children. The Committee also urges the State party to: (a) Establish a mechanism to provide protective measures for unaccompanied children, including the appointment of guardians to, inter alia, assist children with the relevant processes and procedures; (b) Ensure that unaccompanied children, refugees and asylum-seeking children are not detained because of illegal entry/stay and have effectively the right to seek asylum and to stay in the State party until the end of asylum procedures; (c) Ensure the provision of adequate medical treatment, mental health care and psychosocial support to refugee, asylum-seek ing and internally displaced childr en who fall victim to sexual violence; (d) Ensure that all children born on its territory are properly registered at birth, without dis crimination and regardless of the status of their parents , and that they fully enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights; (e) Ratify the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons , 1954, and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness , 1961." 2014
2014
Committee against Torture "The Committee recommends that the State party: ... (g) Ensure that the expulsion, refoulement or extradition of a person to another State is in compliance with article 3 of the Convention" 2004
2004
Committee against Torture "The Committee calls upon the State party to establish an effective national system to monitor and inspect all places of detention and to follow up on the outcome on such systematic monitoring. It should also ensure that forensic doctors trained in detecting signs of torture are present during these visits. The Committee requests the State party to clarify whether the Political Security Department, the National Security authority and the Department of Anti-Terrorism under the Ministry of the Interior are under the control of the civil authorities, and whether the Prosecutor-General has access to the said detention centres, military prisons and private detention facilities. The State party should formally prohibit all detention facilities that do not come under State authority... Under no circumstances should the State party expel, return or extradite a person to a State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture or ill-treatment. The State party should ensure that it complies fully with article 3 of the Convention and that individuals under the State party’s jurisdiction receive appropriate consideration by its competent authorities and guaranteed fair treatment at all stages of proceedings, including an opportunity for effective, independent and impartial review of decisions on expulsion, return or extradition." 2010
2010
Human Rights Committee "The State party should take concrete measures to ensure the adequacy of the refugee determination process and asylum procedures for migrants of all nationalities. Asylum seekers and refugees should not be held in penal conditions." 2012
2012
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women "50. The Committee calls upon the State party to continue to strengthen its cooperation with UNHCR and adopt the draft refugee law, in compliance with the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol. The Committee also calls upon the State party to grant full access to UNHCR to detention centres for refugees, not to deport refugees without previous UNHCR verification of their status and to ensure refugees their right to security, especially for women and children due to their exposure to violence, including sexual violence." 2008
2008
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination The Committee recommends that the State party establish a legal framework to govern the application process of asylum. The Committee further recommends that the State party adopt specific measures aimed at promoting the coordination of the process of issuing refugee certificates with UNHCR in order to ensure that their certificates are recognized and that the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers are protected. The Committee further recommends that the State party strengthen its efforts in the provision of humanitarian assistance to IDPs and ensuring their immediate return to their communities. 2011
2011
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women §44. In line with its general recommendation No. 32 and general recommendation No. 30, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Provide internally displaced women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence, including child marriage and trafficking in persons, with free and immediate access to medical services, legal assistance and a safe environment, as well as to female health-care providers and services, such as reproductive health care and counselling; (b) Address the specific risks and particular needs of migrant women, who are subject to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, ensuring their access to basic services without fear of detention on the basis of irregular migration status; (c) End the arbitrary detention and forced movement of migrants; (d) Ensure border police and immigration officials are adequately trained, supervised and monitored for gender-sensitivity and non-discriminatory practices when dealing with women migrants, with the support of relevant agencies. 2021
2021

NON-TREATY-BASED INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Relevant Recommendations by UN Special Procedures
Recommendation Year
Observation Date
None
Relevant Recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No Continue efforts for the promotion and protection of the rights of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as persons with disabilities (Iran); 2009 1st
No 2014 2nd

REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS MECHANISMS

Regional Legal Instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
Observation Date
AC, Arab Charter on Human Rights

DETENTION COSTS

OUTSOURCING

FOREIGN SOURCES OF FUNDING FOR DETENTION OPERATIONS

Foreign Financial Support for Detention Operations
Yes
2020
Description of Foreign Assistance
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran provide funding to detention centers and to the groups that run them.
2020