UN refugee agency welcomes new policy to protect half a million displaced Yemenis

Children in Al-Mazrak IDP camp in Haradh, northern Yemen. Photo: OCHA

23 July 2013 – Yemen’s new national policy to protect half a million people displaced by conflict represents “a major step forward,” the United Nations refugee agency said today.

“The Government approved the policy in late June, and it aimed to protect the more than half a million Yemenis who had been forced to flee their homes in recent years and to help solve the problem of displacement within the Gulf State. UNHCR saw this as a major step forward,” the spokesperson for the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Adrian Edwards, said at a news briefing in Geneva.

The national policy seeks to protect and assist not only people who were displaced by conflict and violence but also by natural disasters – all events that can destroy communities and leave families and individuals struggling to survive.

Mr. Edwards said UNHCR had worked with the Government to develop the national policy for internally displaced persons (IDPs) through a series of meetings that brought together Government officials, IDPs, returnees, host communities, international agencies and donors.

The new policy establishes a Supreme Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa, and it features three strategic goals: preventing and coping with arbitrary displacement, supporting not only IDPs but also the communities that host them and other communities affected by displacement, and creating the conditions for durable solutions – such as employment, local integration and returning home.

UNHCR has previously worked with the Yemeni Government and its partners to provide support to more than 200,000 refugees, tens of thousands of asylum-seekers and hundreds of thousands of displaced people.


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