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127 Somalis evacuated from Yemen by International Organisation for Migration

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)

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Somali Refugees, VOA

Geneva, November 12, 2016: The International Organisation for Migration have evacuated 127 Somalis fleeing the conflict in Yemen, including women and children, the IOM said on Friday.

The Somalis arrived in Berbera, Somaliland, from Sanaa, Yemen on a boat organised by IOM with financial support from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), IOM stated.

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The successful operation was the first under $10 million KSrelief-funded project and paves the way for a further 2,500 Somali nationals stranded in Yemen to be evacuated over the next seven months, IOM said.

The Somalis will be evacuated by air to Mogadishu and by sea to Berbera under the project implemented by IOM and by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

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Over 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led Arab coalition in March 2015 began bombing Shia Houthi rebels who overthrew president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and allied with parts of the Yemeni army have engaged in fighting with forces across the country that are nominally loyal to the exiled president.

International efforts to find a political solution to the war are at an impasse. (IANS)

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Saudi Arabia, Cuba on List of World’s Worst Fighters of Human Trafficking

The top U.S. diplomat said traffickers are currently victimizing nearly 25 million people worldwide

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on the release of the 2019 Trafficking in Person (TIP) Report at the US State Department in Washington, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) VOA

Saudi Arabia and Cuba are now on a list of countries the United States considers derelict in their responsibilities to combat human trafficking, raising the risk of sanctions against those countries.

In its annual report on human trafficking, the State Department accused ally Saudi Arabia of widespread violations involving foreign laborers and denounced Cuba for allegedly engaging in trafficking through its program that exports doctors abroad.

“If you don’t stand up to trafficking, America will stand up to you,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Wednesday in Washington, shortly after the report’s release. The annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) assesses what countries are doing to combat what Pompeo describes as “one of the most heinous crimes on Earth.”

The top U.S. diplomat said traffickers are currently victimizing nearly 25 million people worldwide. The State Department designated Saudi Arabia and Cuba as Tier 3 countries, the report’s lowest possible ranking. China, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela have also been designated as such.

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FILE – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro. VOA

The U.S. said the Saudi kingdom has done little to help victims, choosing to, instead, jail, fine or deport them after accusing them of immigration violations or prostitution.Cuba, a long-time U.S. adversary, has threatened or coerced physicians to participate in its overseas medical program, the report said.

Some 8,300 Cuban medical workers who had been stationed in Brazil departed the country after President Jair Bolsonaro complained earlier this year the Cuban government keeps most of the wages paid to the workers, whom he described as “slave labor.

Tier 3 countries are subject to U.S. actions, including partial or total elimination of support from the International Monetary Fund or other international support organizations.

The U.S. president, however, can waive sanctions against Tier 3 countries with the hope it will encourage them act more aggressively against traffickers. Pompeo said the U.S. took actions last year against 22 Tier 3 countries.

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The annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) assesses what countries are doing to combat what Pompeo describes as “one of the most heinous crimes on Earth.” Flickr

The State Department report, which assesses 187 countries, concluded many world governments have enacted laws to hold traffickers accountable since the 2000 adoption of the United Nation’s Palermo Protocol. The pact requires countries to codify human trafficking as a crime both within and between countries.

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But the report calls on countries to do more to ensure protections for victims within their borders. Greater protections requires “political courage” to investigate “official power structures,” for example, and to “ending impunity for crimes that have long been seen as accepted local and cultural practices.”

“Acknowledging human trafficking within the borders of a country is not easy,” the report declared. “Governments should be willing to admit its existence and rise to their responsibility to address it.” (VOA)