Uganda Misses Out As Israel Scraps Plan To Deport Africans

Uganda Misses Out As Israel Scraps Plan To Deport Africans

Kerry Wise
April 28, 2018

"While the Israeli government's declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to "third countries" is welcome, there is still deep cause for concern".

Netanyahu announced a plan in January to deport and/or jail the asylum seekers, many of whom have been in Israel for years.

In a written response to the country's Supreme Court, the government said forced removal of the migrants "is no longer on the agenda". "Israel's immigration officials will continue to refer infiltrators to the "voluntary departure" office, allowing them to relocate to a third country, but without conditioning the renewal of their legal status of their willingness to leave to a third country".

The asylum seekers will have to renew their visas every 60 days as they did before the deportation plan.

Some 35,000 African migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, are in Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Interior Minister Arye Deri agreed Tuesday that preparations for the reopening of detention centers for asylum seekers will begin immediately.

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The government's U-turn was welcomed by those targeted for expulsion.

" I'm speechless. I was so scared every day".

Israel has reached its final decision on the plans to deport Africans.

More than 4,000 migrants have already left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary program.

After leaving a United Nations -backed relocation plan a few weeks ago, Israel shifted efforts towards finalizing an arrangement to send the migrants against their will to Uganda. This was after efforts to find other countries to admit them failed.

A number of migrant rights groups petitioned the Supreme Court to block any such policy. "And also it's a time that there should be a humanitarian solution for the asylum seekers".