Israel’s deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers is cruel, Amnesty International said in a report calling for an end to the practice.
As the study published in “The Conversational” says, African migrants are being sent to Uganda, which Israel has an agreement with, something that collapsed in Rwanda.
It was claimed that immigration officials routinely offered an ultimatum to asylum-seekers to go back home, to leave voluntarily for Uganda, or to face indefinite detention in Israel.
As a lot of threats encompassed, one was allegedly told: “If you don’t leave, you will leave Israel in a coffin”.
This scared many, who resorted to calling upon International Human Rights bodies to intervene.
Charmain Mohamed, Amnesty International’s head of refugee and migrant rights, said, “Israel is one of the most prosperous countries in the region but it is going out of its way to shirk its responsibility to provide refuge to people fleeing war and persecution and who are already on its territory.”
According to the UN refugee agency, over 27,000 Eritrean and 7,700 Sudanese were and are still seeking asylum in Israel.
The new 45-page report: called Forceful and Unlawful, says it has interviewed 30 of them about their experience, although none are named.
One, who spoke while at Israel’s Saharonim Prison was quoted saying, “Every day, all the time, the prison guards and the Interior Ministry officers tell me that it would be better for me to go to Rwanda. They say: ‘If you don’t leave for Rwanda, you will leave Israel in a coffin’, but I have friends in Rwanda who tell me not to come, that the situation there is very difficult. I prefer to die in Eritrea so that my mother can visit my grave than to go to Rwanda or Uganda. I have nothing there.”
The report also throws doubt on Israel’s claim that the Eritreans and Sudanese are economic migrants. Rather, it states most were fleeing persecution or serious human rights violations.
And it says that many of those who did agree to go to Rwanda or Uganda were left with questionable legal status in the new country, despite Israeli assurances that they will have assured legal status there.
Today it’s me, but tomorrow it will be you!