Yemen announced a plan to end its policy of granting prima facie refugee status to Somali nationals. If the change is approved by the Council of Ministers, arriving Somalis would be required to make individual requests for refugee status. The Yemen Observer reported that “[a]ccording to Essam al-Mahbashi, member of the National Committee for Refugee Affairs (NACRA), not all Somalis are fleeing conflict as many of them come from safe regions such as the port of Bosasso in the Puntland region of northern Somalia in search of better economic opportunities. Al-Mahbashi said that the emergence of extremist groups in Somalia like al-Shabab al-Mujahideen is one of the reasons why Yemen wants to cancel the prima facie refugee status policy.” “Patrick Duplat of NGO Refugees International (RI) told IRIN that RI encouraged countries, including Yemen, to offer Somalis the broadest protection mechanisms possible given the current situation in their homeland. However, he said Yemen’s new policy would be in line with newly issued UNHCR guidelines on Somalis that allow for such screening but call for those Somalis not granted refugee status to be afforded ‘complementary forms of international protection.’”
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