The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, urged Israel on Tuesday to stop forcibly relocating African refugees because of the different kinds of abuse they suffer on their way back to Europe.
“UNHCR is again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa. This is after some 80 cases were identified in which people relocated by Israel risked their lives by taking dangerous onward journeys to Europe via Libya… Feeling they had no other choice, they travelled many hundreds of kilometers through conflict zones in South Sudan, Sudan and Libya after being relocated by Israel. Along the way they suffered abuse, torture and extortion before risking their lives once again by crossing the Mediterranean to Italy,” the UNHCR said in a statement.
In early January, Israeli authorities adopted regulations forcing thousands of predominately Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers, who applied for refugee status in Israel but received no response, to leave the country within 90 days or face imprisonment.
According to media reports, those who are to leave by the end of March will receive $3,500 as well as a flight ticket.
“The UNHCR is seriously concerned over Israel’s plans announced on January 1st to forcibly relocate Eritreans and Sudanese to countries in Africa or have them face indefinite detention,” the UN agency said.
Israeli authorities estimate that about 27,000 Eritreans, 7,500 Sudanese and about 2,500 people from other African states are currently residing in Israel, with many of them not having the relevant permission.