Ethiopian Refugees Blocked by Saudis in Yemen, Calls It
December 17 -- When hundreds of refugees from Ethiopia tried
to get to Saudi Arabia through Yemen and got stuck in the desert, the
International Organization for Migration got involved in returning
them to Ethiopia.
Inner City Press asked two IOM officials to justify their involvement
in what to some seems refoulement, the return of refugees to the very
situation they were fleeing. IOM's Permanent Observer at the UN
Michelle Klein Solomon replied
that IOM only gets involved in “voluntary” repatriation.
these Ethiopians wanted to get out of their country, which is accused
of human rights violations, and only consented to repatriation due
to Saudi Arabia blocking their entry, and Yemen providing no
sanctuary at all. How can this be called voluntary?
based spokesperson Niurka Pineiro acknowledged that sometimes
the least bad of two alternatives, or “the only choice.”
UN's Ban and IOM's Permanent Observer, returns from
Yemen not shown
representatives claimed that the Organization advocates for human
rights, only behind the scenes, never naming or shaming countries.
But what leverage does it have?
humanitarians expressed to Inner City Press skepticism about IOM,
saying that in search of funding the Organization gets involved in
work that has little to do with its mandate, and tries to please its
main funders. While this may also be true of the UN and its agencies,
they at least are subject to more scrutiny. The IOM is a black hole
that we intend to explore more. Watch this site.
* * *
Looks Away from Mercenaries & Funder, Withholds MOU
13 -- As not only Puntland but
Federal Government in Mogadishu move to use mercenaries, the UN is
denial even as its Security Council's sanctions regime is being
Inner City Press asked
Spokesman Martin Nesirky:
there is a former US official, Pierre Prosper, who has
said that Puntland, the portion of Somalia, has hired a private
military contractor, Saracen, to do anti-piracy work — that it’s
being all funded by a Muslim nation that he wouldn’t name. So what
I wonder is whether, given Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga or anyone in the
UN, given both the prohibitions against mercenaries and also the 1992
sanctions on Somalia, what does the UN say to Puntland pretty openly,
or at least as acknowledged by a former US official, hiring a
mercenary firm to patrol the coast of Somalia, and what’s the UN
going to do in light of this report?
thanks for the question, Matthew, and let’s see
what we can find out. I don’t have anything at the moment.
later, the UN Spokesperson's Office has not provided any information.
But on December 10, Inner City Press asked the UN's Humanitarian
Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden about mercenaries. Despite
reports that the TFG is moving forward, Bowden said that there's been
a step back. Video here,
from Minute 13:55.
asked if the UN knows the identify of the country funding the
mercenaries. Bowden did not answer, but said that the funder should
contact the UN Somalia Monitoring Group, or they might be in
violation of the sanctions. But the country has indicated it will not
identify itself, ostensibly to not suffer attacks. Is there a
loophole in the sanctions regime for this?
UN's Bowden on Dec. 10, mercenaries and MOU not shown
the UN World
Food Program's confidential Memorandum of Understanding with the OIC,
Inner City Press asked what it says about paying to deliver service.
Gbeho, Head of the Somalia Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs replied that she “hopes” it has
prohibitions, adding that the UN “in principle does not pay to
deliver... perhaps it has happened, but it is the policy not to pay.”
nor Bowden have seen the WFP agreement. What does it mean, then, to
be a UN Humanitarian “Coordinator” or OCHA Head of Country
office? What is WFP doing? Watch this site.