Refugees: Israel agrees with UNHCR on resettlement of Africans

Instead of demigrating thousands of Africans as planned, Israel now wants to relocate them. The UN facility did not confirm that Germany should also accept refugees.

Refugees: Israel agrees with UNHCR on resettlement of Africans

Israel has changed its controversial plans to deport thousands of African immigrants. The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that UN refugee agency UNHCR agreed to resettle at least 16,250 people in Western countries. The remaining Africans should be given a protection status and integrated in Israel. The agreement was to be implemented within five years, it continued.

According to Israeli data, host countries include Germany, Italy and Canada. The German press agency, however, reported, citing UN circles, that UNHCR had not adopted a corresponding agreement with Germany. Germany was not involved in agreement between Israel and UNHCR, it was said. The refugee works will now endeavour to find places abroad for migrants.

In a communication, UNHCR confirmed that over next five years, toger with Israel, some 16,000 Sudanese and Eritrean refugees should be relocated to or countries. In this regard, information is based on sponsorships, Ressettlement programmes, family mergers, as well as work and training visas for foreigners. Which countries migrants are taking up must still be defined.

Previously, Federal Ministry had also informed him that no specific request was made to include refugees living in Israel as part of resettlement programme. Germany, however, was "always comprehensive and will continue to do so in future, even by inclusion of such refugees", according to ministry.

Criticism of Holocaust survivors and pilots

At beginning of January, Israeli Government had adopted a plan whereby thousands of Africans illegally entered Israel should voluntarily leave country by end of March. Israel offered m around 2,800 euros. Those who refused should be arrested. The main concerns were Eritrean and Sudanese, whose home countries are blamed for massive human rights violations. In addition, re were reports that Israel would try to deport refugees to African third countries.

Since 2007, immigrants from African countries have been coming into country across border between Israel and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. According to Ministry of Interior, currently around 42,000 African immigrants live in Israel. The Government considers m to be "invaders", and asylum applications have so far been approved only in extremely rare cases.

Many concerned had entered hunger strike after plans were promulgated. The UNHCR had expressed concerns. Israel had legal obligations regarding protection of refugees, it was said at that time. Holocaust survivors, Jewish clergymen and pilots also criticized and called on government to refrain from plans. Several times, thousands of Israelis had also demonstrated against expulsion of refugees.

Updated Date: 03 April 2018, 12:02

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