Israel tables broad plan to evict African migrants
13 January, 2018
Israel tabled last week a plan aimed at evicting thousands of Africans who have entered the country illegally, news wires reported. Under the plan, illegals would have three months to leave the country or risk indefinite imprisonment. Those, who decide to leave, would get $3,500 in cash and a free air ticket to return home or go to “third countries”. Some 27,000 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese live in Israel, but authorities there have only granted refugee status to 11 since 2009.
The decision follows months of speculation over the future of both the migrants and the Holot detention facility in the Negev desert, which the government says it intends to close. The UN refugee agency, however, last Tuesday urged Israel to stop plans to send tens of thousands back to Africa, suggesting some could be resettled in Europe or other countries. “We are again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa,” William Spindler of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a Geneva briefing.