Halt forced relocation of Africans — UN to Israel

African migrants protest outside Israel's Supreme Court in Jerusalem

In light of this, UNHCR is "seriously concerned" over Israel's plans to relocate illegal Eritreans and Sudanese migrants to countries in Africa.

However, the letter signatories said reports indicated that migrants forced to leave were not finding safe havens elsewhere.

The letter noted that in other Western countries between 56 and 84 percent of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers are granted refugee status whilst in Israel that is less than 1 percent Haaretz reported.

While 200 Sudanese from Darfur were granted humanitarian status in Israel along with an announcement that 300 more will follow, Israel has not received any Eritreans or Sudanese since May 2016, the United Nations refugee agency said.

He warned that the plans might ultimately target families and individuals whose applications for asylum have not been decided, or that asylum seekers might be taken to the airport handcuffed.

Tens of thousands of Africans entered Israel before it erected a fence along its border with Egypt. The vast majority come from Eritrea and Sudan and many point out that they have fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship. "At a time when UNHCR and partners in the global community are engaged in emergency evacuations from Libya, forced relocation to countries that do not offer effective protection and the onward movement of these people to Libya and Europe is particularly worrisome".

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Israel has not clearly said where the migrants will go, but tacitly recognises it is too risky to return the Sudanese and Eritreans home. Israel has not received any Eritreans or Sudanese since May 2016.

However since 2009, when Israel took over refugee status determination from UNHCR, only 10 Eritreans and one Sudanese have been recognised as refugees. He says the UNHCR is ready to help Israel find alternate solutions, such as legal resettlement to another country to ensure the protection of the asylum seekers.

Organizations represented on the petition sent to the Government on Monday included the heads of J Street, the New Israel Fund, JSpaceCanada, HIAS, T'ruah, the National Council of Jewish Women, ARZA alongside a number of other groups advocating for asylum seekers as well as rabbis from across the board.

However, the Ugandan government has denied reaching a deal with Israel to host thousands of African asylum seekers who are forcibly thrown out of Isreal.

Uganda's state minister for global relations, Henry Okello Oryem, also told the AP there is no such agreement with Israel to accept African migrants from there.

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