07, Feb 2018 | CJP Team
Israel has begun issuing notices to 20,000 male African migrants, requiring them to leave the country within two months or face imprisonment, Reuters reported. Israel’s government is giving the migrants $3,500 and plane ticket to what it says is a safe destination in a country in sub-Saharan Africa, though the destination has not been identified. According to rights organisations, it could be Uganda or Rwanda; the latter has said it would only take in those who have voluntarily left Israel. Israel had first announced this deportation plan, which applied to 37,000 migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, in early January 2018. Israel’s government has said the migrants are seeking work, not asylum, but Reuters noted that the plan is being opposed by some rabbis as well as some Nazi Holocaust survivors, along ordinary people who believe that Israel should be more considerate of migrants. Israel has thus far reviewed 6,800 requests, but has only issued refugee status to 11 migrants. There are 8,000 requests pending. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has called on Israel to rethink its deportation plan, saying that migrants who were relocated by Israel have been forced through travel through “conflict zones” and have experienced abuse and torture, eventually “risking their lives” once more by attempting to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe.