Israel wants to get rid of refugees from Africa
Possible deportation of 35,000 refugees from Eritrea and Sudan is “inhumane and a violation of international law”! (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticizes Israel’s plans to send back 35,000 refugees from Eritrea and Sudan as “inhumane and a violation of international law”. “The deportations would be against the Geneva Refugee Convention. The states who signed this treaty are obliged to protect refugees from serious human rights violations. The Eritreans and Darfuris, who are now threatened with deportation, are on the run from crimes against humanity and genocide. They need protection – not new uncertainty,” explained Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the year, Israel announced plans to demand about 35,000 African refugees to leave the country. Around 27,500 of them are Eritreans, and 7,800 are Darfuris from Sudan. They arrived in Israel since 2006. If they don’t leave within three months, they might be facing unlimited imprisonment in Israel. The refugees are supposed to either return to their home country or to travel to Rwanda or Uganda, and every refugee is to be given 3,500 USD for the supposedly “voluntary” return. Children, elderly people, and people who were tortured by traffickers are not included in the program.
“Not only does the controversial program leave the African countries alone with the responsibility for the refugees, it will also encourage trafficking instead of fighting it effectively,” criticized Delius. “We know that there are many cases in which Eritreans who were deported from Israel used their deportation allowance to hire traffickers to bring them to Europe.” Many of these Eritrean refugees also ended up in torture chambers of Libyan warlords or traffickers – or were caught and murdered by the “Islamic State”.
Israel had negotiated with the governments of Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda’s government agreed to provide shelter for 10,000 refugees and will receive 5,000 USD for every refugee. Over the past three years, refugees who voluntarily left Israel experienced that neither Rwanda nor Uganda is able or willing to provide long-term protection,” warned Delius.
In Israel, too, numerous human rights organizations criticized the deal with the governments of Rwanda and Uganda. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) criticized the program well, reminding Israel of its obligation under the Geneva Refugee Convention.
Header Photo: arsaldhillo via Flickr