UN urges Israel to scrap African migrant relocation plan

2018-01-09 18:33
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - The United Nations on Tuesday called on Israel to scrap a new programme forcing thousands of African migrants out of the country, condemning it as incoherent and unsafe.

The programme is targeting an estimated 38 000 people, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan.

Israel has offered them $3 500 and a plane ticket if they leave by March, warning they may face arrest after the deadline.

The plan was widely criticised when first unveiled last year, but the UN refugee agency sounded a fresh alarm after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement last week that the programme had begun.

"UNHCR is again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa", the agency said in a statement.

UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told reporters in Geneva that the programme was not "coherent" and "has been implemented not in a very transparent manner."

Israel has not clearly said where the migrants will go, but tacitly recognises it is too dangerous to return the Sudanese and Eritreans home.

As a result, according to activists in Israel, it has signed deals with Rwanda and Uganda, which agree to accept departing migrants on condition they consent to the arrangement.

Uganda has publicly denied any such deal. Rwanda has also dismissed its involvement, according to the UN.

Spindler said the fact that the purported host countries were denying their role made it impossible for the UN to follow up.

UNHCR said it had spoken to 80 people who were flown with the $3 500 to Rwanda before heading north, travelling to Rome through conflict zones in South Sudan, Sudan and Libya.

"Along the way they suffered abuse, torture and extortion before risking their lives once again by crossing the Mediterranean to Italy", UNHCR said in a statement, explaining that its staff interviewed the migrants in Rome.

Spindler called on Israel to find alternative solutions to the problem, stressing that the UN was ready to help with formal resettlement through official channels.

Read more on:    un  |  sudan  |  israel  |  eritrea  |  africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.