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מרכז לקהילה האפריקאית בירושלים

The Consequences of Deportation

3 Eritreans who were deported from Israel were captured and killed by Islamic radicals in Libya. Should recent Israeli Ministry of Interior regulations be put to blame?

The Israeli Ministry of Interior has recently applied new regulations regarding deportation of African asylum seekers. The new reulations enable the deportation to a third country of any asylum seeker who is not in a process of refugee status determination. This regulation pertains to African emigrants, primarily Sudanese and Eritrean, who cannot be deported since they live in Israel under group protection while there is a general acknowledgement of the dangers that await them in their countries of origin.

The new regulation enables deportation by opening the possibility of deporting to countries other than the country of origin. The Israeli government will not reveal the two countries which are now open to receive asylum seekers from Israel, though it is well known that several hundred individuals have reached Uganda and Rwanda through this deportation proccess. Any deals between these to two countries and the Israeli government are hidden from the public and so it is unknown whether safety is guaranteed for those who are deported.

Earlier this week, Haaretz newspaper revealed that three Eritreans were killed by Isis in Libya after being deported from Israel to Uganda or Rwanda, where no refugee status is granted and no safety is guaranteed. The three have probably tried to reach Europe through Libya where they were captured by Islamic radicals, along with a group of Ethiopian Christians.

Earlier this week, we have also heard the terrible news of ships carrying hundreds of African emigrants sinking in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving Libya for Europe. Around 700 died this week on the coasts of Italy while just last week 400 died in similar circumstances. In both cases, the emigrant boat passengers were mostly refugees fleeing from Sudan, Eritrea or other catastrophe stricken countries in Africa.

Recent incidents of African emigrants either drowning or being captured and killed while on their way to Europe, teach us that the deportation of asylum seekers to Africa is not only immoral but also criminal. Deportation simply cannot be allowed where safety is not guaranteed and where refugees do not receive proper protection. The consequences, it is quite clear, can be deadly.

The African community in Israel is both outraged and terrified by the recent developments. Thus many individuals in the community have set out to speak up and boldly protest against deportation. Others stand by while anxiously waiting for Israel to finally comply with its moral imperative.

*Photo taken from Haaretz newspaper.

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