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Dangerous Crossings; new campaign hopes to inform migrants on dangers of their journey

UNHCR launched a major information campaign in the Horn of Africa region to raise awareness of the dangers of crossing to and through Yemen. The main feature of the campaign is the music video Dangerous Crossings, and video testimonies by victims of the smuggling trade. The music video features prominent artists who are credible to target audiences: Yeshi Demalash, Dawit Nega and Tadele Roba from Ethiopia, Maryam Mursal and Armaanta from Somalia and Hany Adel from Egypt. The video testimonies are powerful firsthand accounts by refugees and migrants from the region.
“This campaign is very important to the fight against the adversities of irregular migration especially in the Horn of Africa. It is part of a sustained effort to inform people in the region about the dangers involved in taking the route to Yemen in the hopes of being able to continue from there to a destination of choice; be it in Europe, Saudi Arabia or other gulf states,” said Matthew Crentsil, Deputy Representative of UNHCR.
The method of the awareness raising, combining the appeal of music performed by popular artists with statements by ordinary people who have survived terrible ordeals on the journey is thought to be more effective than others. The campaign engages young people, their families and communities, stimulates discussion, and challenges the smuggler’s tales about Yemen as a safe destination.
“It is quite distressing to know that every week, more than five thousand people, refugees and migrants, cross the red sea or Gulf of Eden to Yemen. The smugglers are organized in criminal gangs and cooperate across borders. At every stage of the journey people are expected to pay large sums of money and the fees go far beyond what had already been agreed on.
To reach people tools such as social media, radio, TV print media, billboards and posters are being used. Yemen has been ravaged by a vicious war since 2015 and is today the largest humanitarian crisis in the world with epidemics and famine added to the horrors of war. But, startlingly every year, tens of thousands of people continue to cross the sea from the horn of Africa to the war torn country, risking their lives at the hands of smugglers. In 2016, 117,000 people went on that journey and approximately he same number last year.


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