OPEN LETTER: Urgent Call for immediate humanitarian assistance for Eritrean refugees in Al Hudaydah Prison
20 September 2017 OPEN LETTER Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Palais des Nations Avenue de las Paix 8-14 1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland Your Excellency, RE: Urgent Call
20 September 2017
Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed
Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen
Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen
Palais des Nations
Avenue de las Paix 8-14
1211 Geneva 10
RE: Urgent Call for immediate humanitarian assistance for Eritrean refugees in Al Hudaydah Prison
I am writing on behalf of Eritrea Focus, an umbrella organisation for individuals and groups campaigning for the human rights of Eritreans. We were involved in the formation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Eritrea in 2015, with the aim of drawing attention to the suffering of the Eritrean people, including tens of thousands of refugees.
This letter is to draw your attention to the urgent situation of Eritrean refugees in Al Hudaydah Prison. These refugees have been there for almost 2 years and are in a very desperate physical and mental condition.
A number of these refugees are under the age of 18 and have not yet been registered as such by the UNHCR. We have been reliably informed of an outbreak of Cholera in the prison along with an infectious skin condition that is contagious and it is affecting almost all of the refugees.
Furthermore, some of the Eritrean refugees are suffering from malnutrition, with many emaciated as you can see from the pictures below sent to us from the prison itself. No one has taken any responsibility for the plight of these unfortunate refugees. They have no access to medical care and as a result they have become susceptible to various types of diseases adding to their misery.
We believe that the situation of the Eritrean refugees warrants your immediate attention. As the mandate holder for peace and stability and Special Envoy in charge of Yemen, we plead and urge you to take the following steps as a matter of priority:
- Ensure coordinated efforts are made alongside UNHCR and the Red Cross to access of the Eritrean Refugees in Al Hudaydah Prison;
- Ensure the registration of all the refugees in Al Hudaydah Prison in accordance with the UNHCR guidelines;
- Ensure all refugees in the prison are given emergency medical assistance;
- Ensure all Eritrean refugees are provided with basic humanitarian assistance, including food and water;
- Ensure that these refugees are released from the prison in Al Hudaydah as a matter of priority. They should be relocated to a safe place through family reunion schemes or other such like.
These refugees have fled their homeland for fear of their safety and are not able to return to Eritrea. They have a legitimate fear of torture and persecution. As you know, the UN Human Rights Council determined that crimes committed in Eritrea since 1991 amount to ‘crimes against humanity’.
In conclusion, we in Eritrea Focus urge Your Excellency to intervene on behalf of the Eritrean refugees in Yemen and to seek reasonable arrangements for their rehabilitation. We remain hopeful that you will do everything in your power to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.