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The Israeli Immigration Authority has removed the group protection from the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who are staying in Israel

Two months prior to striking elections in Congo, that might escalate to a civil war, while clashes and war crimes remain present and the Ebola Virus disease keeps outbreaking, Israel’s Immigration Authority has furtively uploaded a notice to their website, claiming that: “ There is no hindrance to expel the citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo back to their country” and that those must leave Israel within 90 days. Shockingly, no direct notice was given to the Congolese community. Many of its members arrived to Israel at the begging of the 2000s to escape the dreadful war that up to the present time crushes the country. Moreover, many of the community members fled personal persecution. This is just another failure of the Immigration Authority, that has been abstaining from determining 208 refugee requests of Congolese citizens for over a decade, and now demands them to return to a dangerous country that is under an unstable situation.

It is important to stress that according to updated reports from the British Immigration Authority, even today, opposers to the regime are highly subjected to persecution in Congo, especially considering the upcoming elections; additionally, rape is being systematically used as a war tool in conflict zone, and girls and women are in danger of forced recruitment. Nowadays, while the international community praises Dr. Denis Mukwege, the Congolese Doctor that assisted 50,000 sexual abuse victims and was declared the 2018 Nobel peace prize winner; the Israeli Immigration Authority wants to expel couple of hundreds of asylum seekers from Congo, who have been living in Israel for many years. After it rushed to expel the citizens of the Ivory Coast and South Sudan prior to the stabilization of the situation at those countries- Israel requests, once again, to commit an illegal and hasty deportation, to a country where the political situation is highly explosive and might escalate to a civil war. Previously, the hurried deportation took human life. Israel must not repeat its past mistakes.

We demand the Immigration Authority to do the thing it has been abstaining from during the past 20 years: to consider and review all the individual asylum requests made by Congolese citizens, that currently stand open. Furthemore, Israel has to learn from its mistakes, postpone any action for now in order to examine if the December 2018 elections will actually happen as planned and what would be the reaction to the results, and anticipate the stabilization of the situation in Congo.

The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is in constant touch with the Congolese community in Israel, and we will soon update about the upcoming steps.