African refugees keep suffering in southern Yemen: IOM

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says many refugees arriving in Yemen from Africa continue to suffer from rampant abuse in the southern areas controlled by the Saudi-backed government.

The IOM, which is affiliated to the United Nations, said in a report issued Tuesday that many refugees face torture, sexual abuse and death although some lucky ones find “irregular work” in the southern Yemeni province of Aden, where elements loyal to the Saudi-backed government that was ousted from the capital Sana’a in 2014 still hold sway.

“Both en route and once in Yemen, many migrants suffer at the hands of cruel smugglers and other criminals, including physical and sexual abuse, torture for ransom, arbitrary detention for long periods of time, forced labor for no pay and even death,” said the IOM.

The report said some 7,000 refugees arrived in Yemen each month in 2017, nearly totaling 100,000 people for the entire year.

Yemen, the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, has been battered by what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis, which has come as a result of a devastating campaign launched by Saudi Arabia since March 2015.