United Nations to Israel: Halt forced relocation of Africans

United Nations to Israel: Halt forced relocation of Africans

The U.N. refugee agency is appealing to the government of Israel not to forcibly send thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese refugees or asylum seekers to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Along the way they suffered abuse, torture and extortion before risking their lives once again by crossing the Mediterranean to Italy", UNHCR said in a statement, explaining that its staff interviewed the migrants in Rome. "The fact that fewer than 1% of Sudanese and Eritrean asylum applicants in Israel have received refugee status casts serious doubts on the validity of Israel's asylum process as it now stands".

Israel should abandon plans to forcibly send tens of thousands of migrants back to Africa, the United Nations refugee agency urged on Tuesday, suggesting that some could be resettled in Europe or in other countries. Most said they had been flown from Israel to a third country in Africa with their grant money, but were met with little further support beyond their accommodation on the first night there.

The statement adds that the plans may eventually target families and those with pending asylum claims, or that asylum seekers might be taken to the airport in handcuffs, are particularly alarming.

Tens of thousands of Africans entered Israel before it erected a fence along its border with Egypt. As of April 2017, according to Israel's Population and Immigration Authority (PIBA), there are 39,274 illegal migrants living in Israel, not including the estimated 10,000 children born to them in country - comprising altogether more than 0.5% of Israel's population. The vast majority come from Eritrea and Sudan and many point out that they have fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship.

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If he liked, he could stay indefinitely in the camp.

Israel however, tacitly recognizes that the Sudanese and Eritreans can not be returned to their unsafe homelands, so it has apparently signed deals with Rwanda and Uganda.

The agency extended an offer to help Israel in finding other possible ways to handle the situation, saying that it "stands ready to work with Israel to find alternative solutions for the protection needs of asylum seekers, in line with worldwide standards".

"This includes resettlement out of Israel", UNHCR announced.

Uganda has publicly denied any such deal. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Oryem Okello dubbed it false news.

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