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Israel to send 16000 African migrants to Western countries, including Canada

03 April 2018

Some 16,250 African migrants, many seeking asylum, will instead be resettled in Western nations, including Canada, Italy and Germany, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to the agreement, about 16,250 of about 37,000 African migrants, a lot of them from Eritrea and Sudan, would be relocated to Western nations while others would be allowed to stay in Israel.

Reports say the plan for forced expulsions was abandoned and the deal with the United Nations agreed because Rwanda and Uganda objected to the deportation of asylum seekers against their will.

The new accord would at the same time allow thousands more of the mainly Sudanese and Eritrean migrants to remain in Israel at least temporarily.

The refugee agency had urged Israel to reconsider its original plan, saying migrants who have relocated to sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years were unsafe and ended up on the perilous migrant trail to Europe, some suffering abuse, torture and even dying on the way. The "unprecedented understandings" will see the remaining migrants integrated into Israeli society, granted legal status, and provided with vocational training and work opportunities.

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The Supreme Court froze the deportations in mid-March in response to a petition.

Netanyahu said in his remarks on Monday that he had to abandon the earlier plan because the option of sending them to a third country "no longer exists".

The largest community of African migrants, about 15,000, lives in south Tel Aviv, in a poor neighborhood where shops are dotted with signs in Tigrinya and other African languages and abandoned warehouses have been converted into churches for the largely Christian Eritreans.

At immigration hearings, migrants were told they could choose to go to Rwanda or Uganda.

Germany and Italy, however, said they were unaware of any such resettlement deal for African migrants from Israel, although the German interior ministry said Berlin always respected its humanitarian commitments.

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The migrants' presence in Israel has become a political issue, with Netanyahu referring to them as "not refugees but illegal infiltrators".

According to interior ministry figures, there are now some 42,000 African migrants in Israel, half of them children, women or men with families who are not facing immediate deportation.

The post Netanyahu suspends Israel-UN deal on African migrants appeared first on The Independent Uganda:. The government erected a barrier along the border with Egypt that stopped the migration.

The facility was closed last month as part of the previous plan. Others who had submitted asylum requests before January 1 were released pending a decision.

Israel and the United Nations have reached an agreement regarding the deportation of African asylum seekers and refugees, Israel's Hadashot news reported on Monday.

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The optics of black asylum seekers accusing the country of racism has turned into a public relations liability for Israel, and groups of Israeli doctors, academics, poets, Holocaust survivors, rabbis, and pilots have all appealed to halt the plan.

Israel to send 16000 African migrants to Western countries, including Canada