Israel to deport migrants to Uganda
The Israeli minister of the interior, Gideon Sa’ar, has today announced a plan to deport 55,000 African migrants to Uganda. In his statement he also said that serious steps will be taken against those who refuse to leave.
Sa’ar said that the plan would lead to the departure of thousands of migrants over the next year. “I expect the infiltrators leave at a rate of 2,000 to 3,000 per year,” he said. “I am certain that it will reach much greater numbers after the plan involving the third country gains momentum. I remind you that there are 55,000.”
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Uganda offered to host the African migrants coming from Israel, but the conditions of the agreement are still unknown. The Israeli government is going to pay for the migrants’ flights to Uganda and it has set a precedent by giving each of a group of 14 Eritreans repatriated in July $1,500 for their resettlement.
Sa’ar explained his plan to the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, saying: “In the first stage we will focus on raising awareness and information among the migrant population while also helping to make all the exit arrangements.”
Most of the 55,000 migrants are refugees and asylum seekers coming from Sudan and Eritrea. They walked through Egypt and passed the Israeli border, before the authorities had sealed it with walls and electronic fences. Already in 2012 Israel deported around 4,000 illegal immigrants while another 2000 are held in location centres.
The decision of Sa’ar comes after the violent protests held in Tel Aviv last May, when demonstrators smashed African shops and properties shouting “blacks out!”.
Many human rights groups have condemned the actions of the Gideon Sa’ar, claiming that, as refugees, the African migrants living on Israeli soil are protected by international law which makes Israel responsible for their living conditions.
Hareetz reports that while Sa’ar is deporting migrants, he is also importing hundreds of foreign workers and, according to the newspaper, is violating many universal human values of solidarity.