Yemen: UN Refugee Agency jailed a Somali Refugee after Protest against discrimination of African Refugees

Sana’a—The United Nations Refugee Agency jailed a Somali Refugee who participated in protests against the discrimination of the African refugees living in Sana’a, Yemen’s Capital.

UNHCR’s Gwendoline Mensah asked the local Houthi authorities to arrest Abdulkader Ahmed Hassan, a community leader and activist for the rights of hundreds of refugees last March.

Dozens of women and children living in Sana’a peacefully demonstrated in front of the UNHCR’s Administration and Accommodation Compound at Algerian Street for several months, demanding improvement for their difficult conditions and an end to all forms of discrimination at the UN-Sponsored medical and community centers.

UNHCR Geneva was going ahead on the investigation of Yemen officers, but people live in fear and will not share information with IGO – Inspector General’s Office. Something that its Ethiopian and Yemeni officers know it though some people want to collaborate with the investigation of seven officers who enriched themselves and grew more and more powerful.

“We have repeatedly asked the leader of this group, a Somali man, to share additional information to allow the IGO to investigate claims he has made against members of our workforce but he has repeatedly declined to do so, and refuses to engage in any form of constructive dialogue with UNHCR,” UNHCR said referring Abdulkader Ahmed Hassan in their statement.

When I asked the reason behind his refusal to engage with a dialogue with the UN at the time, Mr. Hassan replied, “Their approach towards refugees activists was stick and carrot and officials at UNHCR would default to their local officials on the ground. I wanted to have some communications with people who were more sympathetic about the refugees’ plight.”

Hassan’s family has received death threats from the UN officials who told him if he did not stop his activists against the local officials his wife and children would pay the price.

Refugees say Hassan’s arrest is an attempt to silence and bully those who dare expose the chronic corruption, in terms of resettlement and financial aid.

However, the UN staff and their partners are mistreating refugees while humiliating whistle-blowers by jailing, blocking their resettlement cases, and when it is possible hiring professional killers who brutally execute them as well as starving and threatening their families in Sana’a.

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