Global perspective Human stories

World News in Brief: Dozens dead in Yemen shipwreck, Pakistan expulsions ‘must stop’, FAO aids Sudan farmers

A young migrant looks out to see after arriving in Yemen from Djibouti.
© UNOCHA/Giles Clarke
A young migrant looks out to see after arriving in Yemen from Djibouti.

World News in Brief: Dozens dead in Yemen shipwreck, Pakistan expulsions ‘must stop’, FAO aids Sudan farmers

UN Affairs

The UN migration agency IOM on Wednesday appealed for safe migration pathways in the wake of a recent shipwreck off the coast of Yemen.

More than 64 people are missing and feared dead after the vessel they were travelling in capsized on Sunday.

Approximately 90 migrants, including 60 women, were on board the vessel, which was heading to Yemen from the coast of Djibouti.

Twenty-six survivors were rescued by the Yemeni Coast Guard.

Global cooperation needed

 IOM is collaborating with partners and relevant authorities to gather more information about the incident, noting that the sinking was blamed on overloaded capacity and engine failure exacerbated by strong seasonal winds.   

“This tragedy highlights the pressing need for global cooperation in establishing safer migration pathways,” said Matt Huber, Acting Chief of Mission of IOM Yemen.

It also serves as a stark reminder of the e challenges faced by migrants who undertake perilous journeys in search of safety and better livelihood opportunities, the agency added.

Address root causes

IOM said Yemen is “strategically positioned on the Arabian Peninsula”, making it a crucial transit country for migrants from the Horn of Africa, primarily Ethiopians, travelling to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf nations in search of work.   

Data from the agency reveals that 867 deaths were recorded on the crossing between the Horn of Africa and Yemen in 2022. The majority, 795, occurred on the route between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

“We urge our partners to collaborate closely with IOM to enhance support for migrants in Yemen, address the root causes behind their decision to embark on these dangerous journeys, and collectively work towards safer and more humane support for migrants,” said Mr. Huber.

Pakistan’s expulsions of Afghans must stop amid abuse allegations: Türk

Pakistan must suspend expulsions of Afghan nationals and ensure protection for all those who may face persecution and torture when returned to Afghanistan, UN human rights chief Volker Türk said on Wednesday.

Pakistan ordered undocumented foreigners, including Afghans residing in the country, to leave by 1 November. Mr. Türk expressed alarm over reports that expulsions have been accompanied by ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests and detention, destruction of property and extortion.

“These new developments are at variance with Pakistan’s decades-long tradition of hosting, generously, Afghan refugees in vast numbers,” Mr. Türk said.

The UN rights chief called for investigations of abuse allegations by law enforcement officers and to apply the principle of non-refoulement to protect Afghans who may be in danger back in their country. At particular risk are Afghan women and girls, former government officials and security personnel, ethnic and religious minorities, human rights defenders, civil society activists and media workers. 

Mr. Türk also stressed that Afghanistan’s de facto authorities have to “ensure that such individuals are not targeted in Afghanistan after their arrival.”

Sudan: With hunger on the rise FAO helps farmers grow food, save livestock

In war-torn Sudan, one million farming households received precious seeds allowing them to grow food for up to 19 million people this year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Wednesday.

FAO said that it provided nearly 10,000 tonnes of seeds for the critical planting season from June to September, enabling farmers to cultivate crops amid the ongoing conflict at a time of skyrocketing seed prices.

More than 20 million people in the country face crisis levels of acute food insecurity. Animal disease outbreaks are also on the rise and could lead to “significant” livestock losses, FAO said. The UN agency has been supporting animal health through vaccination and treatment and will be providing pastoral households with milking goats that are “crucial” to preventing malnutrition in young children.

To urgently scale up its support, FAO said that it still needs almost 80 per cent of the funding required under the revised Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for this year, or some $75.4 million.