Deteriorating security in Yemen since August 2009 has negatively affected efforts by UNHCR and recipient governments to resettle refugees. Some third country governments were reluctant to send missions to Yemen to process resettlement cases, UNHCR external relations officer in Sanaa Andrew Knight told IRIN. He said only 74 persons had left Yemen for resettlement in other countries between August and December 2009, and feared this heralded “just the beginning of the slowdown.” Thousands of refugees needed to be resettled in third countries, he said. In recent months Yemen has seen a flare-up in fighting with Houthi-led Shia rebels in the north, political unrest in the south and a growing threat from al-Qaeda militants in the east. A UNHCR Yemen Factsheet dated December 2009 said 375 refugees, mainly from Somalia and Iraq, had been resettled in third countries since the beginning of 2009. UNHCR had aimed to submit 650 cases for resettlement in 2009, Knight said. (IRIN)

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